Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Wednesday's Words for May 6, 2009

Growing older is an adventure.

There are both good things and not-so-good things to be experienced in this adventure. The negatives, of course, are likely obvious.

As you get older, you discover that the things you could accomplish with alacrity when you were, say, in your early to mid-twenties are either impossible now, or take a great deal of medicating—before and after. You can’t do as much physical labor or do it as quickly as you could back then. You tire more quickly, but sleep less soundly. Dancing till dawn is out of the question. So is just staying up until dawn. I don’t know about you, but most nights I want my bed by ten-thirty.

As you get older, you ache in places you either never knew you had, or had completely forgotten about. Joints don’t work as well and your center of balance isn’t what it used to be. One wrong move and you pull a muscle that hurts for days, if not weeks. My typical wrong move usually ends up with me on the ground, looking and feeling like a klutz. Thank God I come with padding. Otherwise the results could be very painful.

As I’ve gotten older, my tolerance for some things has diminished. Among those things are noise, crowds and bull pucky. I’ve often noted in these essays that I should have a t-shirt that reads “does not play well with others”; the older I get the more convinced I become that this motto should be blazoned not only on all of my clothes, but it should be stenciled on the side of my car, as well.

The sense of time slipping through your fingers isn’t something you experience when you’re young and vital. For me, at my age, it’s become background music.

There comes a point where you realize that there are likely things you will never accomplish. Maybe, as a result of this epiphany, you make your own “bucket list”. Or maybe you consider that some of those accomplishments you’re mourning were never really meant for you in the first place.

The good things about getting older may not seem like much at first glance. Peace is easier to achieve, perhaps because you’ve come to the point where you realize that it’s precious, and there isn’t really that much worthy of disturbing it.

Happiness is easier to achieve, too. After several decades of life you tend to be more comfortable in your skin and you understand that real contentment can be found in the small things.

Being older you’re more likely to look less outside yourself and more inside yourself for these elusive states of being.

You appreciate all aspects of life more as you get older—at least I do. I try not to miss too many beautiful sunsets, pretty flowers, or babies’ smiles. I take time to listen to people, and if I see a chance to give someone a hug, I do that, too.

It doesn’t seem all that long ago that my beloved and I began to date. His grandfather passed away in those first few months, and we were teenagers, attending the funeral, hands clasped tightly because, being young, the event was like an anathema to us. Now, we’re on the front lines, so to speak. And while we hopefully have decades left, we’ve learned that we can be comfortable, and comforted, by that most somber of human rituals.

When you’re young, you want to live forever. As you get older, you feel like you have. But more, you understand the cycles and the rhythms of life better. You appreciate each day, and consider each new candle on the birthday cake to be a singular achievement.

I’ve heard some people say that youth is squandered on the young, and that cliché holds merit. But I think the wisdom earned from years that have passed and a life that has been lived, if handed to the young, would truly be a waste.

Feed the flames of your passion…with a novel by Morgan Ashbury

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