Friday, July 7, 2017

The Gift of Aging

This morning I seem to be focused on my aging.  I don’t know why that should be on my mind, but it is, and I can’t seem to dismiss it at the moment, so I’m just going to write about it.  Perhaps I am aware of my age because I just finished painting a bedroom here at home—moving all the furniture out, installing crown moulding, climbing up and down the ladder what seemed like a thousand times, stretching my arms beyond their capacity to put two coats of paint on the ceiling, painting the walls and the trim, cleaning the windows and re-hanging the curtains, scrubbing the floor on my hands and knees (using a knee pad, of course) and then putting all the furniture back in place.  It took twelve days (3-5 hours a day) to complete the project and I was aware of my age each and every day—aching arms, arthritic hands, stiff and sore legs, and all the rest! 

Is that really the reason I am so conscious of my age this morning?  Probably not, even though “the proof is in the pudding” when I tackle some project—I have aged and I am aging.  I’m not bothered by this fact except when I paint a room, or use a shovel or hoe in the flowerbeds, and the only “bother” is the realization that, “I ain’t what I use to be!”  At the same time, I know I am “more” than I have ever been before!  Robert Frost wrote a line that has always fascinated me, “The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”  I know more about the “morning” now that I am living in the “afternoon.”  

Sometimes I think Mark Twain was right when he said, “Life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages.”  But, alas, it just doesn’t work that way, which is why Morrie says, in Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie, “Embrace aging…It’s very simple. As you grow, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you’d always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It’s growth. It’s more than the negative that you’re going to die, it’s also the positive that you understand you’re going to die, and that you live a better life because of it.”  

Am I living a better life because I’ve aged?  Do I know something more now about the morning because I’m living in the afternoon?  I hope so, I believe so, and for that reason, I celebrate the gift of my own aging.



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