I was in a conversation with a young man that I have known for most of his life and we started talking about age. Growing old is an odd fact of life. We age and we know we age, but we never feel like we have gotten old. In fact, the young man I was talking with is 55 years of age, a few years older than my eldest son; but to me he is a young man and probably always will be. Not surprising really, considering that even knowing my own age I don’t really feel old….except in my knees.
I remember, many years ago, asking my grandmother when she turned 70 if she felt 70. “No,” she replied. “Inside you always feel 18.” I thought at the time that it was a funny thing to say; but now that I am all of that and a little more, I know what she meant. Your inside person feels eternally young, even when your outside person is obviously old. And I don’t like that word….’old’. I still don’t belong to AARP. They started sending me stuff when I was 50 and I was annoyed. I wasn’t old and I wasn’t going to accept the idea of getting old. Silly, perhaps, but we fight that whole aging thing. At least, I do.
Yes, I am old. I have had to finally admit that it is true. I am older than many people who are called old. Working at Walmart, I had the opportunity to see a great many people on a daily basis and it always shocked and saddened me to see people many years younger than myself who looked older than I did. How could that happen? Well…people age at different rates; sometimes from an unhealthy lifestyle and sometimes from genetics. Both my grandmothers lived into their nineties and my mother’s mother never really looked or seemed old until the last two years of her life.
In the beginning, when God created man, He never intended that man would die, but sin came in and we all know the rest of that story. What many of us never fully realize is, that our inside person doesn’t die. We go on….either to be with God….or to live forever without God. Our outside person ages, deteriorates, gets feeble or weak, but our inside person stays the same. I hate that….my outside person starting to go downhill! The things that I am now experiencing as a person who is getting old are annoying….frustrating….surprising. Growing old brings changes we never think about when we are young. You look in the mirror and think…”who is that person?” We have a mental image of ourselves that doesn’t match what we see in our reflections.
Today, in my conversation with my daughter, she related a part of a conversation she had with one of her brothers. He pointed out to her that they are both reaching an age where they could become grandparents. I have been thinking along those lines myself. My eldest grandchild is 21 years of age. My daughter said thinking about that made her suddenly relate more to her parents; helped her to begin to see things from a different perspective than just that of a mom. That’s what happens when you reach a certain age. Life changes. You are no longer a young mother. You are a middle aged matron with grandchildren!
Growing old isn’t fun. We know we are going to grow old; from the time we are young we know that; but to actually experience it is whole another ballgame. Growing old…okay; but being old….uh, no! There is a huge difference between the two. It’s okay to be getting there, but to discover grey doesn’t just happen on our head? Yikes! To realize we can’t do some of the things we used to do without think about it? Oh dear! To have bodily functions change…suddenly it’s not growing old, but being old and that totally takes us by surprise. The hands hurt and maybe aren’t as strong as they once were; the knees hurt, the feet hurt! What? I ran around in sandals and flipflops and now I have to wear orthotics! No way! The mind stumbles even as our feet stumble and we want to….’sit this one out!’
Yeah, we are old and nothing prepared us for the changes that suddenly confront us on a daily basis. But if we accept the inevitable…well try anyway; we can learn to enjoy the life we have as we grow old. I have the most awesome grandkids and I have be able to watch them growing up from a slightly removed point of view. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world. And watching the adults my children have become; seeing them becoming their best self ….yeah, that’s awesome too. So, I guess I can do this….be old; watching my children and grandchildren growing up, growing older, knowing I am getting older as well. So….okay; it is a good time of life and I want to enjoy every moment of it.