As I sat here in my frumpily bathrobe trying to decide what to blog about I got to thinking about how much we change through out our lives. My skin, for example, is as leathery and “full of character” as a pair of alligator shoes I bought back in the 1960s. God, those high heels had the power to turn on my sexy side and I felt great when ever I wore them! I don’t even remember the last time I wanted to look sexy and it amuses me that my favorite footwear, now, is a colorful pair of chunky Crocs. Today their little crocodile logo smiling up at me seems to say, Hey, old lady, you’re wearing rubber and that’s about as fashionable as wearing a paper sack. There were a couple of decades in my life when I cared about such things but that gave way to caring more about comfort and I’ve never looked back---and apparently not in a mirror either. I need a make-over.
Outward appearances aside, the internal changes we experience in our lifetime are much harder to critique. Taken as a whole, I am happy with the emotional, intellectual and spiritual grown and progression I’ve experienced from my toddler days to these toddling old-person days. I’ve had many ‘aha moments’---moments of comprehension, inspiration and realization of what life is all about. And as most of us do as we age, I’ve made a mental catalog of all the opportunities I’ve grabbed hold of and those I’ve let slip through my hands. I also know the points in my life when I could have done better, made better choices and I comfort myself by knowing that if I had known better at the time, I would have done better. Wouldn’t we all?
Where is all of this reflection leading to? Damned if I know. I guess I’m trying to decide if I’ve gotten to the point May Sarton was at when she wrote the following in her memoir titled, At Seventy. “I love being old,” she wrote, “Because I am more myself than I’ve ever been. There is less conflict. I am happier, more balanced and more powerful.” If I take widowhood out of the equation and the temporary (I hope) sadness that comes with it I would agree with what May is saying here and I would chime in, "me too!" Old age comes with a lot of intrinsic advantages if you’re open to embracing them. In the same book she also wrote: “In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing---the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.” I guess I would reshape the idea by saying the more pain and lows we’ve experienced in life the more opportunities we have to evolve into an empathic, thought-provoking and wise person as we age. Of course, it could go the other way, too, and we could let life beat us down and become bitter, resentful and crotchety. Somewhere along the line we all have to make a decision on how we process our pasts and use them to drive the rest of our lives. What’s your choice? Do you want to be a thistle or a rose? ©
“We have to dare to be ourselves,
however frightening or strange that self may prove to be.”