I had a great response to yesterday’s blog about aging. Lots of views. Lots of visitors. And a good number of comments. Really interesting comments. We had good conversations. But me thinks there are those among you who may think I’ve caved.
Succumbed. Given up. Given in to getting older. Accepted it. Admitted defeat.
Moi? Are you kidding? Nothing could be further from the truth. Nothing.
Yes, I’m getting older. I’ll cop to that. How can I not? It’s true. It’s a fact. Happens to the best of us. But that doesn’t mean I have to take it laying down. None of us do. So I decided a Part Two was in order. A sequel, if you will. Because there’s something you should know about me. I don’t give up easily.
Let’s begin at the beginning. When it comes to aging it is my belief that regardless of what’s going on in your body, getting old is all in your head. My mother was proof of that. She had incredible joie de vivre. She loved life. She never allowed the number of years she’d been on this planet to define her. She was defined by her spirit, her zest for living. In her mind she was ageless.
Her attitude is best described by this Satchel Paige quote: “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” As far as she was concerned, age is only a number.
As a result, no one ever believed how old she was. Which is why she loved to tell everyone. She would have shouted it from the rooftops. She loved to see the shocked expressions on their faces. The disbelief. Don’t believe me? You tell me if she looked 82 years old in this photo. Well, that’s exactly how old she was when it was taken. No face lift. No botox. No word of a lie.
And this was not a healthy woman. Far from it. Far, far from it. But you would never have known. Even when she had to go on dialysis, in the last year of her life, she continued to have her hair done every week. She continued to put on a full face of make-up every day. She continued to care about her appearance; and about the clothes she wore. She continued to smile and laugh and tell jokes. She continued to want to go out and have fun. She even wanted to travel.
She never got old. Sure, she had aches. And pains. And all kinds of medical problems. Serious ones at that. But she never got old. She fought it every step of the way. Even when she took those steps with the help of a cane; and a walker, she called her Cadillac.
Talk about the perfect role model.
What she taught me, among so many other things, is that, yes, aging is inevitable. But ‘getting old’ is a matter of personal choice. It’s not a given. If you believe you’re old, you’re old. If you believe you’re over the hill, you are. If you believe, once you hit a certain number, your best years are behind you, then they will be. If you believe, once you hit a certain number, you have nothing left to look forward to, then you won’t. If you let your aching muscles or sore joints stop you from getting dressed and going out, you’ll age even faster. And you’ll be miserable. And lonely. And you’ll lose the battle by default.
You’ll also miss the benefits that come with getting older. Yes, there are benefits. Not the least of which is becoming comfortable enough in your own skin to do what you want, without being constrained by the opinions of others. Which is where I now happily find myself. And I’ve got to tell you, it’s a great place to be. I love it here. I really, really do. It is positively liberating. I highly recommend it. You should try it sometime.