When I was a young girl I never thought that I would ever grow old. Oh, certainly I saw my grandparents and parents getting older, but I dismissed the thought of me ever getting older. Of course I realized that people do age, but being young, I just never worried about it.
Once when I was looking through the family scrapbook I saw a picture of my grandmother when she was probably in her mid-thirties. She was a doll! It was hard to reconcile that picture with the grandmother I knew with wrinkles, gray hair and stooped shoulders. Again, it never occurred to me that some day my looks would leave me and that I too would look old. But here I am, looking soon to be 69 years old; I too have wrinkles and laugh lines. But really, how bad is that? If those wrinkles and laugh lines mark me as a woman who laughs a lot, that’s fine with me.
I used to run up and down the stairs without a thought of slipping and falling or breaking a leg. These days I remember my dad telling me to always put my foot squarely on each step and to not be in a hurry. That way, he said, I’d have less of a chance to trip and fall. So to this very day, I am extremely careful walking up and down stairs.
Getting older is exactly what you make it; you can moan and groan about what you cannot do anymore, or never look in a mirror again. Every so often I try to do something I used to do when I was younger; I try and then realize pretty quickly that I really can’t do it. Besides, who cares?
My granddaughters love to jump on trampolines; I used to love doing that too. I have a knee replacement that had to be re-done, and while it works well for me now, my days of jumping on trampolines are long gone. But that really isn’t a big issue; as we age we find other things to do that brings us joy. My granddaughters don’t understand that a bad knee means that I can’t join them jumping joyfully on their trampoline. However, instead of that, I taught them a version of Harry Potter’s quiditch sport, which involves riding brooms.
I would straddle a broom and run around after the girls, who would be screaming and laughing at the same time. Whoever got swished with the broom had to stop running and then jump on the broom and chase one of the girls and me. Not only is it fun, but it wears us all out so we can calm down and giggle.
There’s nothing bad about growing older. We have learned much and we have done much; we have gotten wiser and even a bit smarter. We find we need less makeup and more laughter, less worry and more joy, and we give and recieve more love. We can enjoy our old friends and keep our hearts open to new friends. We have learned along the way that it doesn’t matter what people think of us; what matters is that we live happily and gratefully.