There are a lot of labels that seem to come with aging…
I am not “cranky”.. I am angry …sometimes enraged.
I am not “cute” when you see me being affectionate with a partner …..I am a passionate, vital woman expressing herself with enough wisdom and experience to still ignite flames…
I am not “too sensitive” ….I am expressing a lifetime of experience of observing pain and suffering and how we humans can inflict that on each other, to other beings on this earth, to this very earth itself…and to ourselves..
I am not “over the hill”….I am still climbing that hill and learning and living..
I am not someone who is no longer a productive member of society…I have much still to offer, and indeed, the time now to offer it more than ever….
I am not simply waiting to die……I am embracing each moment of life more and more passionately….
I am retired from my job, I am not retired from life…
I am not feeble minded or slow – I am still present and thoughtful and aware…..and bring years of experience to the table…..if you take the time to listen and to hear me…..
I don’t “look good for my age”….I look good.
I am not “outdated”…I bring rich history to the conversation…..
I am not in denial of age related changes….I know that I may move more slowly, take more time to do things, sometimes forget names, get lonely for so many people and beings lost and more to come, get lonely to be really seen and heard. These and more are part of aging, as is facing mortality with much more reality. Estate planning, making whatever final arrangements that I want done, letting go of things more and more as I see how much they clutter my life and my mind, having some of my senses decline (now wearing a hearing aid in one of my ears)…..these all come with the aging experience and process. I can laugh at some of the changes, but I will not laugh at myself or allow that from others at the cost of my soul…..
These changes are only part of what is happening to me….they do not define who I am. They are not the totality of me. They do not give anyone permission to categorize and then discard me….including myself. Perhaps that is the most tragic of all, to have internalized these diminishing labels and apply them to myself as a way of pushing myself to the periphery of life…
I am still a very complex human being, a woman, a member of this tribe here on this earth. I have much fire within, and much that I can share and offer, to those who are interested and those who have the courage to look into my eyes- the aging eyes that reflect what will be their truth in time- and see…..and hear…..and be together with me during this time…. our oh so brief and precious time on this earth.
Will you look into my eyes with their crow’s feet and laugh lines? Will you take my hand with its wrinkles, thinner skin, and now more prominent veins? Will you have the courage to see me, knowing that if you are lucky enough to live longer, you will one day be where I am now? Will you acknowledge that I am still so very much present and here? Because I am….still here….still alive…. I am not dead yet.