I know what I’m capable of, and what my limitations are. It’s one of the perks of getting older. In many ways, this knowledge is comforting.
I remember the astonishment my friends had on their faces, when we were all teenagers, when I would tell them that I was looking forward to the days when I would be as old as my grandparents. Who, in the world, wants the gray hair, the wrinkly skin, and the aches and pains of chromic health problems? All I could think at the time, and even to this day, is how sad it is that people are so one dimensional.
Of course, I don’t like the looks and bodily pains that come with growing older. I can’t think of one single person who would like it. Even those who are attention mongers may make the most of their aches and pains to get the spotlight but they still don’t like the sensation going through their bodies. However, this is not what I’m talking about when I use the term ‘older’.
What is Meant by ‘Older’?
Everyone has their own idea of what it means to grow old or be older. It’s a relative term, based on life experiences and learned beliefs.
It is also an objective occurrence. People do get older. There isn’t any way around it. Something I find peculiar is the people who just couldn’t wait until they were old enough to drive, old enough to drink, old enough for whatever else that you have to wait for are the very people who, when they reach their 40s, wish that they were young again. And I find it curious that they think being 40 is so much older.
Yet, believe it or not, the notion of growing old or being older is a subjective one too. Just look at the remark I made in this last paragraph. My perception of life tells me that 40 isn’t old at all. Yet, for someone else, it’s definitely on the downside of their existence.
Going back to how ‘older’ is relative. . .
When I was born, my mother was 28. Back then she was considered a ‘older mother’. I had cousins who were 15 years older than me. Mind you, these are first cousins I’m talking about, not second cousins. However, my aunts and uncles were very close in age to my parents. Of course, I’m talking here about children who grew up with both parents in the home, at least at first. (You must understand that I was born when the social rules were strict, almost like living during the reign of Queen Victoria.)
In today’s world, this term of being older seems to have narrowed. Or am I mistaken?
My niece was born when my sister-in-law was 36, her first born. No one thinks of my sister-in-law as a ‘older mother’. After all, women are bearing children when they’re in their 40s now. There seem to be a paradox here. People think being 40 is being old, yet bearing children in your 40′s isn’t considered old.
Perception of Being Older
This is where I am so comfortable with my age. All those things that made me worry and prepare when I was younger, don’t have the magnitude they used to have. Although I can say that my life has always been full and that I’ve rather enjoyed striving for all that I’ve accomplished thus far, when I look at the years behind me, I now see the time I missed just living.
There weren’t all that many times that I can remember in which I was just savoring the moment. Instead, I was fretting, worrying, planning, calculating what I wanted to happen next. If I had realized then what I’m sure of now, what was going to happen next would have been left on its own accord to let it be what it wanted to be. After all, that’s what was going to happen anyway.
Now that I’m ‘Older’
Now that I am ‘older’, I no longer worry about all the things I misplace. I’ll look for them for a while, then stop looking with the thought that whatever it is will turn up eventually. I no long worry about the times I put my foot in my mouth. I’ll apologize if it’s warranted and go on with the thought that if the person isn’t accepting my apology, then it really didn’t matter what I said anyway.
All the stuff I used to want to have is now just that, stuff. My towels don’t match. My bedding doesn’t match. My kitchen still has the dishwasher that was originally put in when the house was new in the 1970s. As long as I have what I need and just a smidgen of what I want, I’m happy.
Something that surprises me about being older is that I’m not as hung up on how I look. Of course, I want to be clean and not wearing rags. However, I rarely wear makeup anymore. I don’t usually stand in from of the mirror for more than 2 minutes to fix my hair. I’d love to lose some weight, but I don’t hate myself because I haven’t. All of this is superficial.
Stuff at the End
I am enjoying my ‘older’ years. I like the wisdom I am finding that seemed so elusive when I was younger. I’m more aware of those moments in life that kept on slipping by before.
(However, I still loath the aches and pains. )
PS. I’m 58 until September.
Do you dread the thought of growing older? Why?
If you’re where I am, are you taking advantage of what you now have?
Please share your thoughts here.
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