THE OTHER day my son asked me how I felt about being old.
What?! Old?! Me?! I was taken aback. I do not think of myself as old. My 14-year old son thought I was joking, but I was perfectly serious. I told him that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder on it.
Old age, I decided, is a gift.
I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Perhaps except my body. I sometimes despair over my body — the wrinkles, the flab, the gray hairs, the scars… Oftentimes I am still surprised by that stranger that lives in my mirror. 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 think I have become kinder to myself, and less critical. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra slice of cake or for not making my bed. I am entitled to overeat, to be messy, to be lazy, to be noisy, to be me.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But then again, we usually forget what we gloss over. That’s what photo albums and diaries are for. I know I will eventually remember the important things. As I get older, it is easier to be positive. I care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I feel I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
So, to answer my son’s question: I like being old.
I like the person I have become. This life won’t last forever. While I am still here I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.
Strange enough, I am beginning to understand the freedom that comes with aging. Yes, am free!
And that’s all she wrote,