Photo by krosseel on Morgue File.
What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
Aging is a part of life. From the moment your born, (conceived really), you are doing it. I do not mean to sound morbid, but it has been said—with truth I think, from the moment you are born, you begin to die. I am not trying to delve into the macabre today, but it is a sober truth: the moment life begins, so too does death.
Now, being aware of death’s reality and obsessed with it, in some sort of Poe-esque way, are two different things. Aging is a part of that process. Aging is, in some cases a subtle, in other cases not so much!, reminder of our mortality. A few months ago I wrote a post concerning this that I titled the Long Yawn of Mortality. You can read that post HERE.
We speak of some people who age well, or who age gracefully. I saw an internet article a few weeks ago that discussed celebrities who defied aging. Of course, the article did not mention how much of this defying was a result of nature and genetics and how much was due to Botox and plastic surgery!
Speaking of which, it is amazing to what lengths, and what price, people will go in an attempt to capture the infamous and ever elusive fountain of youth. No longer are pilgrims seeking it as a pool somewhere in Florida; now, they are seeking it in bottles, cosmetics and beneath the scalpel. In some cases, I will mention no names here to protect the guilty!, the before and after effects are startling. The person looks like a completely different person. In most cases, I would point out, this is not a good thing. Instead of youthful, they look like a muddled appearance of their former selves.
I often wonder if there is not someone around such people to offer an exclamatory shout of wisdom: What on earth are you thinking?!
Well, I suppose if it can be said some age gracefully, for the mass of humanity, it can be said we age daily. Creaks, grunts, groans and pops of joints are common part and parcel of the process. Aches take place in places we never knew existed when we were young, much less knew could ache!
On some mornings, not only do we have to force ourselves out of bed due to weariness and a lack of enthusiasm for the new day—something we experienced quite often when we were younger; but now, we have to literally force ourselves out of bed . . . by rolling and dancing on the mattress, trying to sustain enough momentum to propel us from our resting place!
But, aging is not all bad. Some say, it is better than the alternative! As a Christ-follower, I do not think this is the case. That is not to say we are to long for death; but, it means we are to realize this life is not the end. For believers there is a greater hope in store.
I sometimes tease my wife that I, (nearing the line in the sand age of 40), am still in my prime! You see, she was very active when she was younger. She played sports. She was a talented softball player, receiving a scholarship to play in college. She also played volleyball, basketball, and she was a cheerleader. Oh, she also did gymnastics when she was younger. Now, of course, in those years she was in amazing shape.
But, as many athletes learn, as they age, all that physical exertion and activity takes its toil on the body. That toil becomes more evident and pronounced as one gets older. There develop aches and pains in joints that were used for such sweaty pursuits! Case in point, her right shoulder, when she rotates it (you know in the motion you use throwing a softball!) pops like something is about to break!
I have told her that she pushed herself too hard when young. I, on the other hand, paced myself; so that, I have more in the reserve, more in the tank! In short, she has worn herself out (tongue in cheek here of course!), while I am still in my prime!
Well, whether you are one of the ones who age gracefully, ungracefully (I suppose) or just daily, it is, as they say, part of the process. It goes with the adage, today is the first day of the rest of your life. I guess it is quite an optimistic outlook! And, there is truth to it. You cannot relive what has passed. You cannot live what is not yet here. As I said in a previous post, NOW is the only time we have to live.
So, as we age let us do so, whether physically or not, in a graceful way. It is on our shoulders to lead the way for those who come behind us. Aging brings many positives: maturity (for some!), experiences, perspective and a deeper appreciation for things like love, family, health, life, and that one thing everyone chases, but can never seem to catch: time.
“Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging.” (Maya Angelou)
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” (Robert Frost)
The last quotation I will leave with you is one that is, well rather sad and self-prophetical. It comes from one that I do not suppose is often quoted in relation to aging and wisdom concerning it. But, in this instance, she said it eloquently and profoundly.
“I want to grow old without facelifts… I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I’ve made. Sometimes I think it would be easier to avoid old age, to die young, but then you’d never complete your life, would you? You’d never wholly know you.” (Marilyn Monroe)
Okay, I said one last quotation, but that is rather somber isn’t it. So, let me leave you with another, one from your’s truly that speaks of life, learning and aging:
Life, like any journey, begins with the first step and ends with the last; but it is the steps in between that determine the greatness of the journey. Thus, tread carefully and wisely . . . and, when in doubt, stay still! (Moi)