Now What???

Ongoing surprises that come with aging (Writing prompt for Crow’s Feet)

Photo by Andrew Umansky on Unsplash

Aging is such a roller coaster ride, yes? And it brings all kinds of gifts and surprises. Some fun, some funny. Some not so much. 

I look down at a body that I don’t really recognize. Things aren’t where I remember them being. Things don’t look like they do in my memory. Who took my body and left me with this version? 

I make sounds that I surprise myself with. I creak and groan sometimes when I get up out of a chair or bed. I hear crackles in my knee when it moves. At the gym once, I heard these crackles and thought something was wrong with the machine that I was on. Not the machine, it turns out. 

I don’t always recognize the face in the mirror. Where did those lines come from? I still feel like a younger version of myself, but that is not what is reflected there, not what I see, and not what others see. It seems as if the inside of me does not age at the same pace as the outside does. 

I am surprised by how quickly it feels like I got here. And how quickly time seems to have gone by.

I am surprised with how intimately I need to know where each restroom is located on any path or hike that I may try to take. (Is this what they really mean by golden years? The amount of focus on peeing? )

I still get surprised that I qualify for senior discounts. And that I am now a senior in everyone’s definition. For a while, 50 was something to play with in terms of not being 60 yet. Then 60 was here, but it still wasn’t 65. And now I approach 70. A senior in everyone’s book. 

I notice that I can be invisible to others sometimes. It seems that because I am older, assumptions are made about who I am and what my interests now are. Assumptions that I have forgotten my youth and who I was then, even though those parts of me are within me still. 

I see how much more emotional I can be. I have always been sensitive and emotional, and have been criticized for this at times in the past. And now, I am delightfully amazed to find that these qualities are actually precious parts of myself. Sacred gifts. Gifts that help me know myself, and help me relate to and understand others on a much deeper level. 

I am in awe more, as time continues to march on, of how much beauty there is around me. How I can delight in a moment in nature and simply gaze at a tree, or watch an animal, feeling totally present with each. How I can still feel the gorgeous sensuality of life. How I can feel more at peace in those moments than I could ever have imagined. 

I am pleased to discover that I don’t worry so much anymore about what others think. My opinion has now moved to the top of the list. How delightful. Finally.

I now know that I can be choosy and picky about who I spend my time with. I don’t have to try and like everyone. Nor do I have to work to get everyone to like me. And it’s all ok.

 Time is precious. I get to spend it with those that I want, those that feel nourishing, those that speak enough of my language so that I don’t get exhausted trying to translate myself for them. It’s ok. 

I have learned to cherish brief encounters with random others and the depth of the connections that can be felt, even in those brief moments. And I can appreciate those moments and also let them go, not trying to hang on to make them something more than they are. They are enough. 

And now, I am surprised to hear, more and more often, friends talk about how they have lived good lives. 

We have come to that point in our lives where we look back and remember, evaluate, and appreciate what we have had. There is more gratitude. More wonder. More bittersweetness and poignancy as we see that the time remaining is much shorter than the time we have already had. 

Gratitude is a major theme. Slowing down seems to be the pace. There is a desire to let go of of things that were more important to us in our youth, but we find we may no longer need. We’re getting ready to travel, and to travel light. 

And that, perhaps, is the biggest surprise of them all. How real it becomes that there will be an end to my life, and how I want to truly cherish each moment. And to live each moment as authentically and genuinely as I can. To finally claim and honor who I have been all along, but tried to change . To come full circle back home to me. Before I go. 

2 thoughts on “Now What???

  1. I find this piece to be very relatable for me, Jo. How beautiful! I will keep it readily accessible for frequent re-reading. Thank you my dear! Namaste. 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

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