I have aged. I didn’t start out thinking “I can’t wait until I’m retirement age.” It was more like “I doubt I’ll live that long.” It was the 70s, that time when we all thought that IF we did grow old we’d be the old hippies sitting in rockers smoking pot. I haven’t smoked pot in decades, I don’t do drugs, I don’t even drink any more. But still I age.
I can’t say “nobody told me it would be like this.” They did, I just didn’t listen. Now when I talk to the “younguns” and I can feel their internal eye rolls I wonder if the people that tried to explain life to me realized the same thing or if they just told me because that’s our right as elders.
When I was at family camp earlier this year I dressed as I did in the seventies, complete with a gauzy, long skirt and braids in my hair. I looked at pictures and realized I really am much the same only with lots of lines of experience on my face.
That’s what I have today, a face of experiences. Years of thinking I probably should have listened but then it’s a right of passage not to, isn’t it? Just like it’s my son’s right not to listen to me. I do ask him to pretend to listen even when he wants to roll his eyes. That’s just respect.
My face of experience has lines from surprises, lines from disappointments, lines from lots and lots of laughter, lines from tears, lines from talking for hours with friends and lines from listening quietly.
I listen to people who want to defy age with some cream or pill and I wonder why. Would I give up any of my travels, my joys or pains in order to have a less experienced face? Sometimes I wish my body weren’t so creaky with its aches and pains but for the most part I am what I have become because of an exhilarating life.
My next birthday I’ll turn 60. Yeow. I have a lot of places to go still. I have lots of people to meet, pictures to take and experiences to have. How I live my has changed as years go by but the fact that I live my life fully has not.
It’s kind of exciting to wonder what will come next. I guess I’ll keep my face of experience.