I found this beautiful passage on growing old and it’s a brilliant take on a topic very few gay men and women in my experience want to talk about: aging.
Let’s face it: we will ALL grow old. The end of the cycle of life really is aging and death. What matters isn’t that we do but the attitude we have as we are doing it.
OLD AGE IS A GIFT
The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old.
I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my
reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that
it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.
Old Age, I’ve decided, is a gift.
I am now, probably for the first time in my life,
the person I have always wanted to be.
Oh, not my body … the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the
sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person
that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don’t
agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my amazing friends,
my wonderful life, my loving family for
less gray hair or a flatter belly.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself,
and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.
I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making
my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need,
but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a
treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave
this world too soon; before they understood the
great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the
computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70’s,
and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love … I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body,
and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to,
despite the pitying glances from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten.
And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken.
How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one,
or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet
gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us
strength and understanding and compassion.
A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and
will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have
my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs
be forever etched into deep grooves on my face.
So many have never laughed, and so many have
died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive.
You care less about what other people think.
I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned
the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question,
I like being old — it has set me free.
I like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here,
I will not waste time lamenting what could have been,
or worrying about what will be.
And I shall eat dessert every single day
(if I feel like it).
(Contributed by Gabrielle, New Mexico)
As this year starts, I choose to grow older with humility, knowing that there is still a lot to look forward to.
I choose to count each new grey hair with joy and be happy that I have yet survived another day.
I choose to celebrate each new year with style!
Happy New Year People!!