Five Ways I've Grown Better in My Old Age
Age is experience and wisdom.
I never thought I would live to be 30, because that was old, over the hill, and finished with living. I never stopped to think about the experience gained in maturity, nor did I believe my thinking would ever change. I was wrong.
By the time I was approaching 30, the age no longer looked so over the hill to me. It never bothered me when that birthday came. Forty came very swiftly as did 50, and then 60. I fought getting older so hard, buying all types of creams to take away wrinkles and puffy eyes, and vitamins to grow my hair into a bountiful mane. I walked and dieted constantly to make sure I was still in shape, but ultimately, my body decided it was ready to stop all the dieting and working out, and just relax.
My mind followed the path of my body but not right away. For several years I still kept trying to hold on to youth, wearing my junior-sized jeans and T-shirt tops. I married a man ten years younger than me, then divorced him. The list goes on, until one day I noticed it had been four months since I had been out on a date, and then a year. It didn't bother me, and that was the strange part of it. I began thinking of all the ways I had changed since getting older, and would like to share some of them with you.
I don't want to be a sheep.
When I was young, I wanted to look, act, and think just like my peers. If anything about my appearance was not exactly the way it should be, I was devastated. This pattern continued through my forties, and then one day something changed. Instead of wanting to be exactly the way everybody else was, I wanted to be myself. I wanted to play with exactly who that was, what she thought of herself, and what she wanted to do moving forward.
Instead of buying my clothes and wearing the same outfit as hundreds of other women, I worked on putting clothes together that stood out and looked nice. I practiced learning how to dress in a way that others liked, and yet was comfortable for me. No more pants that I had to lie down to zip, or bras that bound me with underwires. I got a dress model and practiced creating my own outfits, some not so great at first, but as time went on I learned a great deal about how to make clothing without a pattern.
I grew my hair because I like hair, like brushing it and figuring out ways to put it up on my head. I had begun living my life the way I wanted to, not the way society felt I should, and not the way others believed I should either. I took a lot of flack for it, but in the end, it didn't bother me. I was happy with the person I had grown to become, and I tucked the sheep costume neatly away in the attic.
Beauty is skin deep and so are wrinkles.
I began getting puffiness under my eyes when I was in my late thirties. I must have tried every product on the market, but nothing seemed to work, and I felt I looked ten years older because of the puffiness. I then began getting deep wrinkles on my cheeks from years of sun worshiping. At first it was one cheek, but eventually both succumbed. The last straw was the jowls. I had these two saggy places along my jawline and next to my chin. I looked like a boxer dog with my chin sagging down!
Hard as I tried, time continued to march on, and every year I spotted another sign of aging. One morning I got up and took a long look at my face in the mirror. Yes, I had age spots, sags and bags, and an uneven skin tone. But what I noticed most was the twinkle in my eyes. For whatever reason, the flaws in front of me were no longer a big deal. I was happy with myself, and it no longer mattered to me what others thought or if I was considered pretty or not. I had earned every wrinkle, every sag, and the story of my life was written on my face.
The Random and Beautiful Thoughts
I have a lot of time now to think about things I never have before. I realized that about 95% of my relationships with men were based on how I looked, and I based my decisions on their looks, but in the end, looks aren't important. It's what is inside a person, who they are, and how they treat other people that is important.
I realized that the best feeling in the world is being who you are, who you are comfortable being, and if the right person comes along, you will both be happy because you are both genuine, and still want to be with each other in spite of physical flaws.
Before I die, I want to clean the house one more time!
Now wouldn't that be a sad comment. But, it sums up what is important in life and what isn't. A clean home is important, but keeping everything neat as a pin, as though company is coming any moment, is an exercise in stupidity. As long as your home is clean and not totally cluttered, it is fine, and there are so many other things that need your attention.
Other people need your attention, even if it's simply the woman cashiering at Walmart who looks tired, and appreciates your noticing and talking to her in a friendly way. A random, genuine compliment to someone can make their day, or a smile for no reason. Perhaps calling someone who hasn't heard from you for a while and talking to them. Anything, each day, that helps another through this life.
Guess what I'm doing now?
You no longer have to take care of your husband because you are single, and you no longer have to make yourself and your home picture perfect, so now what are you going to do with your time? So much! There are books you always wanted to read and didn't have time. Now you can read whenever you like. If you happen to be crafty, as I am, there are so many things you can create. Start in February and make your Christmas gifts for next year. Get a new cookbook and learn how to make something new and exciting you have never made before. Journal and learn more about your heart and soul. I wrote my first novel at 65, so it is never too late.
As I sit and ponder the things that have changed inside me as my body declines and my life changes, I came up with one thought. I like my life so much better now than I did when I was younger. I know who I am, what I like and don't like, what I'll tolerate and what I won't. I am not rude, but have no problem stating my opinion, and I don't care if it offends you because you don't agree. I don't sleep, but the hours I'm awake are spent doing the things I love, and I can always sleep later.