By Rosie Moore
A friend of mine sent me this many years ago. Every once in a while, I like to read the contents and also remember his friendliness.
Some time ago I was asked by a young person how I felt about being old. I was a little shocked, for I don’t think of myself as being old (although I am). It was an interesting question, and after much thinking, I believe this would have been my answer.
Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. “Not my body, though.” I sometimes despair over my body, the wrinkles, the spot, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. Often I’m shocked by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my father/mother). However, I don’t agonize over those things for long.
I would never trade my friends, my wonderful life, and my family, for less grey hair or a flatter belly. I’ve become kinder to myself and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making up my bed. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy or to be extravagant (buy something I don’t really need).
I have seen so many friends and relatives leave this world so soon, before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. And whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 a.m. and sleep until noon.
I will sing and dance by myself to those wonderful tunes of the ‘40s and ‘50s and if at the same time I wish to weep over a lost loved one, I will. I will walk on the beach in a swimsuit that is stretched over a bulging body and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to; despite the pitying glances from the jet set (they too will get old).
I know at times I am forgetful, but there again, some things in life are just as well forgotten, however, I will eventually remember the important things. Sure, over the years my heart has been broken, how can your heart not be broken when you lose a loved one, or when you see a child that is suffering, or even when somebody’s beloved pet dies? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have white hair, and to have my youthful laughs be etched into deep grooves in my face. So many have never laughed, and many have passed away before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive about things, and you can care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself any more. I’ve earned the right to be wrong sometimes.
So, to answer the question, I like being old, it has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time thinking of what could have been, or worrying about what will be.
I SHALL EAT CAKE AND ICE CREAM EVERY DAY (if I feel like it.)
May our friendship never come apart, especially when it’s straight from the heart. May you always have a rainbow of smile on your face and in your heart forever and ever.
My friend has been gone for many years now but his words linger on.
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