My mother used to say: It's hell getting old. Mostly she'd grin when she uttered that thought. But more often than not towards the end, she really meant it.
I couldn't stand it when she said those words. She had such a big influence on my life, and I didn't want that sentiment to influence my own thoughts on the inevitable march of the years.
I understand her point of view. The joint pains, the rolling forward of the shoulders and the rounding back. The need for reader-cheaters and the frustration of not finding them when you need them. Having to ask people to repeat themselves because hearing just isn't has sharp. The color fading from hair. The immune system that takes 3 times as long as it used to once upon a time.
I had a birthday last week. A nice quiet birthday, because truth be told, birthdays just don't feel like a big deal to me. OK, I do have a problem saying "April 28" without saying "April28-my-brithday" like it's one word. But hat's just habit. I don't really measure my life in years. I'm more prone to use for the context of my life things like this: moments of joy, epiphanies, big losses that break open my heart and mind, wintry scenes, encounters with wildlife. Those are my punctuation marks. But years? Meh.
Still, I reflected not too long ago on how I was feeling about aging . . . and much to my surprise, my mother's words were not as salient as my own experiences, my own patina.
Here's how those thoughts spilled out . . . do they resonate with your experience?
. . .
Edges smoothed and sanded
No longer wired by expectations
Able to sleep through disappointments,
knowing the bend follows a bend,
that something will lift that which connects the heart,
-- and that what hurts also breaks open like the egg
released from a shell
a flow, a newness, and end.
It doesn't matter, and it all matters.
Time suspended in its deluge forward
A hint gleams like pyrite, like hope
whether real or simply desired,
enough to flutter something inside,
enough to make it through a night,
or an afternoon,
or a morning,
or a shower.
Few words required
Less interpretation needed
The softness and quiet of simply being
in a spot, a place, a thought, a breeze,
a sunset, or a sunrise
Distastes left aside
to be as they may
The impulse to change, mold, perfect
too tired and threadbare
to observe or entertain
In fact, it's the imperfections
that stand in relief to the perfection
in every way
. . .
The boy in the cafe
fidgets, entertains the
baby in the highchair
"Was I good baby?"
eats breakfast with
who sits like a cotton fluff in a highchair
. . .
Once more, the cottonwood trees
are going to crack open
their seed and blow away
and make a big mess out of everything,
Cheers my friends. It's all good.