Hair aplenty in places you do not want it, and thinning hair in places where you do want it, like on top of your head. Eyesight that plays tricks on you, but still sharp enough to see the liver spots and crepe paper skin that have taken over your hands. And let’s not even get into the disgusting digestive issues that require dietary change and send you searching for high-fiber options over the more tasty food you’d prefer.
As the saying goes, aging ain’t for sissies. Although the alternative makes it a good thing. And although everyone’s pretty well aware that aging involves physical changes like gray hair, new aches and pains daily, and well deserved wrinkles, there’s so much more to aging than meets the eye – things you aren’t privy to understand until you reach senior status yourself. For example…
- Inside, we’re the same. Under that elderly exterior remains the spirit of the carefree 20-year-old we once were – to the point that it can, at times, be a shock to look in the mirror and wonder where that older person came from! A friend of mine said to me, “I’ll see some old person, and, then realize I went to high school with him.” A shocker, for certain.
- We’re more self-assured. Although it may seem counterintuitive, the older we get, the more confident we become in who we are. No longer is it a top priority to follow the latest trends and fashions; we can unashamedly be who we are – or who we always wish we were. Sometimes that is a good thing, and sometimes that is not so good. Saying what you feel, instead of what is appropriate for the situation sometimes gets you into trouble.
- We focus on what’s really important. Young parents juggling a career and family can feel as though time is flying by at such a hectic pace, it’s nearly impossible to slow time down enough to simply enjoy those small but oh-so-precious moments. Realizing the brevity of life as we live more of it gives us the perspective to savor what’s most important to us. And, if you are blessed with grandchildren, what better reason to enjoy each and every moment as you watch them in amazement at every single milestone and accomplishment. There is no replacement for exploring acorns or the mystery of a prism with a little one who has your undivided attention.
- We’re wiser. Some life lessons simply can’t be taught, but must be experienced. Think back on how much you thought you knew in your 20s. We were ready to take on the world! But how far we still had to go then – and, how far we still have to go even now. And, age certainly does not restrict us from continuous learning. In fact, it is so rewarding to continue to experience life and its complications and ecstasies.
So I say, welcome the more tentative gait, the gray hairs and wrinkles; they’re a small price to pay for the incredible benefits that greet us as we age. Embrace the plethora of opportunities that await us in our older years – the chance to love without abandon, to create with passion, to use what we’ve learned to make the world around us a better place.
As Sophia Loren so beautifully expressed it: “There is a fountain of youth: It is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.”