Too Soon Old.........Too Late Smart?
Or is it a day late and a dollar short?
Either way, like comedian Bill Engvall, I've always been about 15 degrees off "cool". I wondered for years why I was always just behind the curve. I missed the fun part of the 1960s by just a few years, and came of age in the middle of the most boring decade on record. I never got into fads until they were already on their way out. I didn't even buy stock when I had the money to gamble with. And how is it that I didn't really start learning how to live until the gray hair and wrinkles showed up?
I suppose I didn't have an auspicious beginning. I was the baby of the family, and it took me a long, long time to feel like a grownup. Nobody took me seriously, not even when I was in my thirties. So what did I do when I felt the first pangs of aging but slam on the brakes and go backwards! By this time I was the mother of teenagers; almost overnight, I went from being at the bottom of the heap to over the hill. And nobody, least of all my adolescent daughters, had the decency to notify me in advance that this was going to happen.
Suddenly, instead of being content with my geekiness, I was terrified of it........deep in my heart of hearts, I'd always wanted to be the "cool" mom on the block, the one who knew all the new music groups and wore the current styles (which looked an awful lot like the fashions I'd worn as a teenager in the 1970s). Trouble was, I looked silly in the clothes, couldn't stand the noise they called music, and I'd developed this nagging sense of what was proper---and what was not. I was shocked to see my kids' friends running around town in pajamas. I noticed that I disliked hearing so much profanity in the public discourse, even though I've been known to swear in several different languages when stepping in cold cat barf at 3 AM. And where on earth did drivers get the idea that it was OK to cut you off in traffic and then flip YOU the bird?!
Now, of course, I'm no longer irritated by any of this........in fact, I'm just amused, for as I grow older, I find myself getting upset over fewer and fewer things. It's not worth it. I've had trouble with high blood pressure since my 20s, and only now that I've learned how to pick my battles is it finally coming under control. It gets better: I've learned that not every emotion needs to be expressed, that not every thought deserves to be shared. I realize too that it's OK for other people not to be at the same evolutionary point, and that being patient with them is the only way to repay those whose patience I'm sure I exhausted!
I know that laughter is truly the best medicine for almost anything that ails us. And I ache for anyone who spends so much as an hour of his or her life in regrets over the road not taken; since the moment at hand is the only thing we really own, it's generally better to live in a spirit of gratitude for today's blessings. That's not always easy for someone whose entire first half-century of life was chock full of "coulda-woulda-shouldas"......but I'm learning.
And I'm discovering---to my utter delight!---how liberating age can be. No more concerns about being "cool"; I'm so far past even CARING about it that I've become my own kind of cool. I can go into a costume shop and engage my sister in an impromptu swordfight without thinking a thing of it. I can sing in front of people, my faulty soprano wandering in and out of the melody, and enjoy myself without embarrassment. I can say "NO" to an unreasonable request (like working seven days straight!) and not feel the need to apologize or make up excuses. I can dress in whatever fits and pleases me; I can refuse to eat or drink what is not good for me; I can stand up for what I think is right without fearing what someone else will think of me.
Aging does not diminish us. I wish I'd known that when I was younger and so fearful of becoming irrelevant. Now I understand what Robert Browning meant when he wrote:
"Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was made."
Live long, and prosper!Last edit by Joe V on Jan 8, '16
About VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN Guide
Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 26,648; Likes: 43,164
RN and blogger extraordinaire; from OR , US
Specialty: 20 year(s) of experience in LTC, assisted living, geriatrics, psychJul 20, '09marla, you and i are on the same page re mid life revelations.
but i chuckle at the notion of how i will feel when i'm 80 (God willing).
while it is truly liberating to feel as we do, at this time in our lives, somehow i am sensing this 'euphoria' will be short-lived...
and am seeing myself as a crusty, old lady, still flicking the bird, followed by a saucy "bite me".
i mean, while i acknowledge there is lots more room for growth and maturity, i sense such growth will be more internal.
and, will be a journey of mass contradictions:
becoming more tolerant yet feeling more irritable, impatient;
finding life more ludicrous, yet appreciating its circumspection;
and being in awe of life's continuum yet embracing every moment here on earth.
i think i will return to your blog in 30 yrs...
and we'll talk then.:redpinkhe
leslieJul 20, '09That ought to be quite a conversation.........we'll both have lived and grown for another thirty years, and we'll both be going "GADS! I thought I had it all figured out at fifty, and I didn't know squat!!"