Friday, February 17, 2012

Aging (Somewhat) Gracefully

Getting old isn't so bad, actually.

When I was young, of course, I swore it would never happen to me; just as I knew that driving fast or cheating on tests meant punishment for everyone else but me. Somehow I've gotten a tiny bit wiser as time has passed, but I'm smart enough to know that's not altogether MY doing. There have been some extraordinary people dropped into my life.

I remember my grandfather, a country preacher. He wasn't a big man, only five foot, nine inches tall and barely ninety pounds soaking wet, but that man could throw a bale of hay over a truck and work the equivalent of a day before most people got out of bed. At Christmas, he rejoiced in bringing in a box of oranges to share, a throwback to the days when oranges were all his own family had as a Christmas treat. He'd dress as the sweetest, skinniest Santa you've ever thought to see and buck dance for all the kids.

His wife, my grandmother, was a precious treasure in the community. She had eleven kids and thirty-three grandkids. I don't guess she ever had a 'sick-day' in her life. One of my favorite stories occurred when the family had to rebuild their home because the highway was coming through. The boys took that old house apart piece by piece and put it back together forty feet or so from its original place. It took about a month, and my grandmother cooked three meals a day on a pot-belly stove under a tree until that new house was finished. Later on, in her seventies and eighties, she always made time to go visit the 'old folks' in the nursing home, most of whom were younger than she!

There's my mother who has aged so gracefully. I wasn't scared of turning forty and I'm not scared of fifty, because I watched her do it first, and she's shown me that Life truly does get better with time.

All the parts don't work the same; but I can't deny that there are some parts that work better. I know now not to speed - well, most of the time.

Breathing in and out means a great deal more to me than it once did. Simple things bring pleasure: looking at my kids, the sky, my husband. Small moments can bring a sigh.

Getting old doesn't seem to be so bad, after all.

What are your thoughts on it?
rc/ 2012

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