As a child, I spent time with older people that I loved and admired. They were confident, independent, and free to choose what they wanted to do. To me, being old seemed magical, the start of a satisfying way of life. Over the years, I paid attention to milestone birthdays – 21,40,50 and expected to feel different every time. But I didn’t until I turned 70 . That day, something shifted and I awoke feeling different. I’d arrived. I think that slipping my feet into a pair of black patent leather high heeled shoes did the trick. Those were the shoes that had blistered my feet too often and caused them to ache. They were a symbol of discomfort, restriction and conformity. I slipped them off and gave them away. After all, aging was empowering.
I crawled into bed that night with a good book and a glass of red wine to celebrate. Celebrate what? I wasn’t sure. Suddenly, family and good friends became even more precious : more valuable, and I decided to make the most of what remained of my time on this earth. Music and books enriched my life but I soon learned that aging g is not for wimps. Of course I suffered from the odd ache as well as moments of memory failure. I had a bit less stamina too.
I now wear some of my inner feelings on the outside and am far more comfortable with myself. i admit to my vulnerability as I no longer have to pretend. I am one of the fortunate ones who owns an apartment and a car, and I still drive. I am surrounded by family and friends who care about me and love me.
I’ve joined the ranks of the ‘wrinklies’ who are products of a high standard of education and health care. I feel that I have earned all my wrinkles and laugh lines as well as the graying streaks in my hair. I’m showing the young ones that aging can be a time of pleasure, opportunity, satisfaction and new horizons. Youngsters need to hear something other than the gloom and doom of pessimistic old people. Old age sure beats the alternative.