I am thinking these days of all the various aspects of aging. There are parts that we cannot help, that are part and parcel of changes that aging brings. Changes in our bodies, in our memories, in our senses. There are losses – of parts of ourselves, of friends, of family, of partners. And more losses as time goes by. Losses of singers and movie stars and people that we grew up with. Losses of what and who we have known the world to be. And the changes go by so quickly. So very quickly.
And yet, there is something that I notice can be attached to these changes that I need to really look at and tease apart. They are somehow attached to each other automatically and yet need to be questioned…
I am retired from the career where I spent such a huge amount of my time and life. I am not, however, retired from life.
I am older and my body is not what it was. My body is not, however, ready to call it a day in any way. I still want to move, to be active, to be passionate, to be so very alive. I still love to walk, even though I need to map out my hikes in terms of where the restrooms are all located..! (I now know at least one reason as to why they are referred to as the “golden years”!)
I forget names and sometimes why I walked into a room, or perhaps the thing that I was just going to say. My friends and I laugh about this. I do not forget, however, who I am and what I believe and stand for, and what I value and believe in. I do not forget how I got to where I am and all the lessons along the way – some of which I can share in hopes of helping someone else along the way. If they will listen.
I feel losses more deeply, I think, and appreciate each moment more, even if more of those moments may hold sadness. Sadness, although uncomfortable, is also a gift. The gift that reminds us of our humanity and capacity to feel, to understand, to resonate deeply within ourselves and then also with others. And I also feel those moments of gratitude and happiness more deeply as well, having more of a sense that these moments are numbered and that I have less of the road ahead of me than that which I have already traveled.
I cannot defy aging and the changes that come along with it. I can, however, defy the messages that get attached that may not be true and that serve to quiet and deaden us before our time. I am still alive. I am still here.