I've always been fond of the saying "growing old gracefully". Many seem to do this well with grace, embracing the natural life-death-life cycle. Others rail against it, in that they are fearful, full of dread and complaints about getting old. Many folks I have known over the years, have an agelessness about their personality who are truly young at heart, love life with optimism and humour, that always inspires. They set an example of how to age gracefully. Our elders have an essential and vital role to play within families, and in a society that seems to have forgotten the important lessons they have to teach us. Instead, we are youth obsessed and in denial about getting old, and keep death at arms length.
My parents and my brother were young at heart, and rather ageless, though I was acutely aware they were aging and how the toll disease took on their bodies. Aging nor getting old is not for sissies as Betty Davis once said. But it is still very possible to remain young at heart. Remembering what it was like to be a teenager helps a lot. Too many adults I believe tend to forget what it was like to have a sense of childlike joy and wonder. I believe we can continue to have this if we bother to look and allow ourselves to let go of rigid ideas of what we should be acting like when we reach a certain age, and be let this dictate and define us. My chronological age does not define who I am. I don't think I can ever say that I really feel my age. Sometimes I feel very young, on other occasions I feel like an ancient crone who's been living for an eternity, under some big mossy toadstool. Something like that.
My old friends, my body and bones usually have particular way of reminding me that life is short and time is passing rapidly, and that I need to live life as fully as I can, with my body, soul, and mind, with a love of humanity, humility and a sense of humour.
Our attitude toward life and living contributes so much to the aging process, and I believe determines our behaviour whether it be positive or negative.
As a Youth Care Worker, being around young people helped me to remember my youth. As well, my mother was an older mum when I was born, this day, June 4th in 1953, she was 42 years old with a very youthful spirit, which remained with her all through her life. I never really saw her as old, because she taught me that we are so much more than our chronological age and it does not define who I am. unless I let it.
Since I turned fourty years old I've always made it a point to mark each decade milestone with some kind of memorable learning experience. At fourty I went riding horses for two years, when I turned fifty, I learned to belly dance and now I'm sixty, I can say it's been a year since I graduated from Mount Allison University with my Bachelor of Fine Art, and the old CPP it gonna be rollin' in next month! Life is very sweet and good at sixty!
And so today is my birthday and like Sally O'Malley, I'm hear to say, I'M SIXTY! SIXTY YEARS OLD. THE BIG SIX 0! I like to KICK, Stretch AND KICK!