Friday, March 17, 2017

Older on St. Patrick's Day

A conversation with a dear friend yesterday left me reflecting on the many concepts of aging; getting older if you will. She was telling me about hearing a news report about an "elderly" woman's home being broken into and she was severely beaten. At the end of the story the reporter mentioned the fact that the woman was 70 years old. My friend, who is turning 70 this year was taken aback. "Elderly!  Seventy is not elderly," she thought. I am turning 69 next month. My eldest daughter, Amy, turns 46 today and I definitely don't feel all that much older than she is, (Happy Birthday, Amy!) and I'm sure that Amy doesn't feel "middle aged," whatever that means.
Amy, Olivia, Me

I will agree to getting old and being old. In fact, I want to keep getting older for as long as I can. But aged, or elderly are descriptions that I will vehemently disagree with. I think it's maybe a state of mind or maybe it's a "Boomer" generation thing. I have a friend who is 80 and after five minutes speaking with her I defy anyone to describe her as elderly. She is the most forward thinking and open minded person I know of; more so than many young people I know. So elderly she is definitely not.

Sure, my friends and I all have days where our bodies remind us that we are getting older, but we are not going to let that stop us from staying current on social and cultural issues. I am experiencing life in a much less superficial way than when I was a younger woman. I am finding deeper meaning in my travels, movies, theater performances, new books, etc. For example, instead of just sight seeing and appreciating the landscapes, I am asking "why and how." Why does a certain group of people behave the way they do. How did the mountain come to be. I am finding beauty in the differences of people of other cultures rather than the similarities to myself.

I am of the Dylan Thomas school of aging. "Do not go gentle into that good night," where he implores his dying father to reclaim some of the "fire of his youth." It's that burning fire, energy, desire to learn and have new experiences in life that prevent us from becoming elderly. So I'll keep getting older. I'm OK with old. I just refuse to become elderly.

On a lighter note, Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Our "little one," DeeDee, is getting bigger each day!