My friend, Mary, is 62. You would never know it! Aside from the fact that she looks amazing, she has the most wonderful, youthful, vibrant attitude. She's been through losses and joys. She has told me that one of the ways that aging has changed her is that she worries less about what people think. Mary speaks her mind, always kindly, but she's not going to be giving herself an ulcer holding things in!
There is such a serenity in getting older. The challenges of life have weathered you, but not beaten you. Wisdom birthed of experience sets in. You realize that most times, things are neither as good as anticipated nor are they as bad as feared. My mother approached aging so graciously, stating that she earned every wrinkle and every laugh line. What is more beautiful than a face etched by years of belly laughs and smiles. At my wedding my daughter, Sonja, commented that the pastor's wife, Brenda, is so pretty. Sonja said, "She has the prettiest eyes that wrinkle a little when she smiles". Brenda has the most beautiful eyes and lines that bespeak of many smiles given out like greeting cards to loved ones and she is one of the most stunning women for it!
When I was just getting to know the man who is now my husband, he had just celebrated (well, HE really wasn't celebrating....at the time he was lamenting!) his 50th birthday. His nephew mentioned this to me and after that, whenever I saw him, I would tease him about being 50. "FIFTY! Wow! How does it feel to be a half. century. old?!" or "FIFTY. YEARS. OLD! Man! You must feel old!" At the time, it never even occured to me that he would be sensitive about that birthday, but after we started dating he confessed that turning 50 was a difficult birthday for him; but that my ragging him about it constantly just ragged that sensitivity to it right out of him! Really, it was my pleasure!
I know, I know, considering the alternative, aging is wonderful. But beyond that, the acknowledgement that "at least I'm still above ground", there's the wonder of growing older and what it brings out in us. I read an article this morning that quoted a UC Berkley professor, Dr. Guy Micco as lauding aging as a time of "greater acceptance of imperfections, not only in others, but in ourselves. Old age can be an opportunity for a calmer, kinder life."
Years ago, I cleaned house for a sweet older woman who had lost her husband a few years earlier. We were talking about praying, and in my youthful arrogant zeal, I went on and on about going to God about everyTHING that we need (well, really "want"). I spent waaaayyyy too much time "preaching" about how if we need a car, just ask God. If we need furniture, just ask God. I'll never forget her ever so kind response, "I've found that the longer I live, I hardly ask God for anything, but just thank Him so much for what He's given me". If that wisdom and serenity is a glimpse of what I can hope for as I continue to age, I can only say, "Bring it on!"