The other day, a young person asked me: What did it feel like to be old?
I was very surprised by the question, since he did not consider me old. When he saw my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question. And after reflection, I concluded that getting old is a gift.
Sometimes I am surprised at the person who lives in my mirror. But I don’t worry about those things for long. I wouldn’t trade everything I have for a few less gray hairs and a flat stomach. I don’t scold myself for not making the bed, or for eating a few extra “little things.” I am within my rights to be a little messy, to be extravagant, and to spend hours staring at my flowers.
I have seen some dear friends leave this world, before they had enjoyed the freedom that comes with growing old.
Who cares if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 in the morning and then sleep until who knows what time?
I will dance with me to the rhythm of the 50’s and 60’s. And if later I want to cry for some lost love…I will!
I’ll walk down the beach in a swimsuit that stretches over my plump body and dive into the waves letting myself go, despite the pitying looks of the bikini-wearers. They’ll get old too, if they’re lucky…
It is true that through the years my heart has ached for the loss of a loved one, for the pain of a child, or for seeing a pet die. But it is suffering that gives us strength and makes us grow. An unbroken heart is sterile and will never know the happiness of being imperfect. I am proud to have lived long enough for my hair to turn gray and to retain the smile of my youth, before the deep furrows appeared on my face.
Now, to answer the question honestly, I can say: I like being old, because old age makes me wiser, freer!
I know I’m not going to live forever, but while I’m here, I’m going to live by my own laws, those of my heart. I’m not going to regret what wasn’t, nor worry about what will be. The time that remains, I will simply love life as I did until today, the rest I leave to God.