Thursday, September 30, 2010
READERS DISCRETION ADVISED—TOPIC: Aging
CONTENT: All kinds of yucky stuff.
CHARACTERS: All of us
I shall not be held responsible for the many sleepless nights that will follow you after you finish reading this.
I shall not be held responsible…………………………………
OK, I’m kind of pulling yourlegs here. Although I will state this with all honesty, that those of you that are weak of heart just move your cursor to the top right hand of the screen in front of you. Click on the little red and white X to make your quick exit because in fact we are going to talk about getting old, over the hill, into the autumn of your life , your rudder’s dragging or the tides of time are running out on you. And, if in fact, you feel you can’t handle it then I have only one thing to say. SUCK IT UP PRINCESS IT’S GOING TO GET
ALL IN THE END…… US
……and it does and it has. It’s come for me, my friends and my family. I was having a conversation with a couple of old friends from Facebook about aging. I made a comment that I was indeed getting old. A long time friend commented that I was only 51 and that he was 5 years older than I. He kind of left it hanging in mid sentence, I thought. Was he really saying he doesn’t consider himself to be old and where I was younger than him then how could I be old? Yes, I do believe that is what he meant. My thought on that is why are our views of aging are so different. Just what is it that makes our perceptions so different? I mean old is just plain old, isn’t it?
I mean if it looks like a duck and walks like a duck then, it must be a duck….right? I mean a wrinkle is a wrinkle. It is what it is! What were once cute little crows feet around the eyes at 40 are now craters at 51. The laugh lines which would denote a person of pleasant personality are now ironically giving the illusion of a frown that frames the mouth.
The worst of all has to be gravity. We’ve all heard the old “She’s all goin south!” Or “I’m getting so old I’m tripping over my own body parts!” Where I live if you think gravity is bad, you should see what an outgoing tide can do to you.(That’s a joke) The tide does indeed have its’ own pull, same as the moon. In actuality the moon has a push. If it actually had a pull it would have the opposite affect on us and we’d probably all be wearing smiles like Jack Nicholson as the Joker in Batman and wearing concrete blocks on our feet to keep us anchored to terra firma. Which leads me into wondering about water. Ever notice how buoyant certain body parts are in under water? Ahhhh now here is a concept I can entertain! We float in water. Water holds everything up! In a perfect world if we could live under water than nothing would ever sag! I wonder if the expression “Hope Floats” was built on that concept!
Then there are the vocal changes. We can’t even remember when that started. When we have to bend over to pick something up, a sound escapes that starts somewhere in our midriffs and works it way up through the diaphragm, hits the top of the throat and escapes as a high pitched wheeze and ends with a long held grunt until they run out of air and it sounds like their last breath every time. Then there is the getting up out of a chair, grunts followed by sighs of relief that we made it to standing position. What’s more frightening are the creaks and cracks. How does that happen?
That all these things are signs of aging and alarming enough on their own there are things more frightening and disturbing than falling and not being able to get back up. We realize that everyone and everything as we’ve known it is aging as well, our parents, our children, our bothers and sisters and cousins and even our friends. Our own parents have somehow lost the spark they once had, they no longer try to tell us how to raise our children anymore nor tell us how if we can’t pay cash then we have no business buying it. No more lectures of “When I was raising you I never did it that way! Who in the hell ever taught you that?” and “You’re too young to be that tired well, when I was your age I worked 5 jobs AND raised 6 kids and ran a household on a tight budget and still had money left over!” When living all of that, you think that you will never hear the end of it. Well, rest assured the day does come you don’t hear it anymore and you may find yourself wishing you could…just one more time.
When we look at our friends we see the subtle changes from the softening of their features, to the light graying of their hair. The carriage that once carried them tall and strong is now turning soft and rested. You see their children growing tall and living their lives more independently, which in turn, makes you look at your own children by comparison. That is when it really hits home. And you do have that moment of sobering reality that your children are no longer ‘kids’. That they no longer need you the way they’ve needed you for every single day for the last 20 years. How is it that they don’t need you anymore but, you feel you still need them, maybe more than ever before? Where is the balance? Maybe it is what nature intended?
We have the memories of our children’s lives. From the very moment of birth to the very young adults they’ve become today. We have their whole lives imbedded in our lives. They in turn, are still learning of us. They are in the process of creating their memories yet. They are still getting to know us as real people and not just their parents anymore. To say that it is a reversal of each others relation to the other would be true but, there is more going on here, something much more complex and deeper that we can only try to grasp at understanding it. Yet we know that somewhere in this reversal process that nature is once again doing a balancing act.
Where over the years from birth to the horrible teen years there have been many moments of annoyance, of frustration, of heartbreak, of laughter, of joy, of love. Suddenly it is us that annoy them now. It is us that frustrate them to no end. And it is us that will cause them heartbreak when the time comes for us to leave them. And their memories? They’ll remember the laughter, the joy, and the warm memories of being loved, unconditionally. It will be these memories that sooth their broken hearts and will ease their grief. And when the clouds begin to clear for them once again and they walk through their lives they will realize that they are following a trail of footsteps that will take them down the very same walk their parents made long before they were born. In the end…they will become us. The aging process will start once again. And eventually they become the children to their very own children, the same in turn, as we did them.
In conclusion I believe that the aging process is much more than wrinkles, bat wings and sagging knees. It’s about being old enough to have left some kind of legacy behind. To leave our imprint on every shadow that passed our way in our lifetime. And for that shadow, our shadow, to imprint itself, immortally into the future shadows yet to come. That brings us to another question. Does some part of us live on forever? Does that in essence make us immortal, even to a small degree? I think the answer to that is in another whole subject……another time maybe.
Remember. We are all connected in some way, shape or form. Our shadows pass through each other skimming along the edges of our lives, along for the ride. Once we have looked each other in the eyes….we are never the same but….we are forever connected. Like the waves that ride along the swells of the tides, they crash on shore exploding in a spray of a powerful frenzied life force. You feel that life force. This is the very essence of Mother Nature in all her glory. And when the tide retreats, the waves are pulled back with her, unresisting. Her shadow crosses ours, and we are never the same.
Until the next high tide.......
Thank you to my husband Eric who contributed all the 'old' expressions that pertaine to age. What would I know about any of that? lol
AND a special thanks to Greg Lenihan, a very dear life long friend who was my inspiration for this piece. "See what you started?" lol Thanks Greg.