"You're Aging Well"
Aging. It’s a scary topic in many cultures, including ours. It is something to be avoided. We tend to portray “old people” almost mockingly – with silly “Granny voices”, using an imaginary cane as each slow step is accentuated with shaking hands. We laugh at the image. Youth is revered, adored and worshipped. As we age, many of us do whatever we can to cling to the notion of our youthful selves. Some even undergo surgeries to try and reclaim their physiques, so cruelly distorted by time. But what of the old adage that “with age comes wisdom”? Do we even say that anymore?
I was blessed to have been raised in the same house as my Grandparents for many years. If not living with them, we were always 10 or so minutes away. I loved to hear their stories of the “good old days” back in Canada. I loved to learn from them, hear them speaking in their strong French-Canadian accents, answering back in French whenever I could. As I grew older, I knew I could always talk to them about whatever I was going through – ask for their advice. I knew that my Grandparents had so much life-knowledge. They had lived through numerous wars, the Great Depression, and other extraordinary hardships. They knew about love and kindness. Relationships. Tragedy and triumph. They also let me know that they too were still learning every day. They were not omnipotent. But they had a certain wisdom that only comes with age.
My children once asked me if I would ever color my graying beard. “Absolutely not”, I replied. “I earned every single gray!” And I meant it. I find myself enjoying getting older, appreciating knowing which battles are worth fighting and which are simply a waste of my precious time on this earth. I can laugh away insults - whether perceived or real – and genuinely hope that the offender finds a better way. Now none of this is to say that youth itself should not be thoroughly enjoyed for its very youthfulness and vitality. It should absolutely be taken in and loved as should every season in life. But we, as a culture, need to also remember that there is much to be learned from our elders. They have seen a lot. They have thought a lot. Some are wiser than others. (To be candid, some are still the same rude people they were in their youths). On the whole though, there is a wisdom gained from living. An awareness patchworked together from the many years we’ve been lucky enough to be alive. Let us not be afraid to live, learn and yes, grow wiser.