There’s no title for this post. I can’t. I can’t even. It’s the whole aging thing. It’s everywhere and I can’t.
I can’t get away from it.
I am not saying this dramatically, this is a fact.
Recently, I read Frank Bruni’s New York Times article, Gray Hair and Silver Linings and sent out this in my December 2014 newsletter with a link to the article.
“. . . here it is – you get older and you keep aging and it doesn’t stop!
Having turned 40 less than 20 months ago I find myself reading about being 50.
Is this ok? Why not be ultra prepared, right?
Seems like it’s in the zeitgeist to think about getting older and on the other hand I find we (Americans, women, me?!) are also so obsessed with making sure we are not obsessed!
Just by writing about it I am showing my cards.
I think about it. There. I said it.”
About two weeks later, I read Anne Karpf’s article also in the New York Times.
I’m drawn to reading pieces that can reframe how I think about aging and I usually find a good quote that I will want to remember. When I’m in a lousy mood, wondering about choices I’ve made and anxious about what’s next I’d like to remember the quotes. They usually let me move on to realize the present is pretty freakin’ awesome.
But everywhere you look there’s something about aging. Or it’s about preventing aging. Or maybe it’s about time.
That’s it. Everything is about time. Not in the “well, it’s about time you showed up!” kinda way.
My 3 year old recently got this concept. Or maybe he didn’t but he did ask me a question that made me think he was starting to get the concept of time.
Over the past month or two over breakfast, he’s been asking, “What are we doing this day?”
Then he will ask about the “day after this one.” He means, tomorrow but he doesn’t quite get there is a word just for the day after this day.
I’ll tell him, “The day after this one is called tomorrow and yes, that is when we are going to XYZ.”
So, early today (as in this day – this last day of our 2 week winter break) he was asking about school and will it be every day again. Yes, dear. You are going to school everyday. And then he asked, “Is it always going to change and will it always be like this?”
It struck me that he was thinking about the concept of time and as a really, really new person – only 3 and half years here in this world! – that he was coming to only just understand it now.
I am not exactly sure how I answered but I think it was something like this:
Yes, it will always be like this. The days are always changing.
If that had been followed by more questioning, I would probably have continued on to say:
The 7 days a week thing, that is kinda what you are stuck with. It’s what you are doing. It is happening.
So it is a combo of TIME and AGING that I am seeing in lights everywhere. Perhaps it is my own doing. Something I’m putting out there to the universe and those around me.
So I always flip to the page with an article on aging and my children ask about it.
Today, my older child asked:
What’s past, present, and future? She’s old enough that she can figure it out herself and she said,
“The future is gonna happen. The past already happened and the present is happening right now.”
And so it is.
The take away quote from The Liberation of Growing Old is the last line of the article, a quote from the British psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott.
“May I be alive when I die.”
Too depressing? I don’t think so. I think whenever you feel like you’re “getting old” (in quotes because the existentialist in me always thinks, “What does that even mean?”), just say that to yourself and yeah! Hopefully you’ll feel energetic, full of hope and excitement when you die. That should be what keeps us living, right?
So back to the “getting old” and to my what could be considered trite comment in parenthesis (a minute ago it was existentialist and now just like that it’s trite) I want to say – – you are only as old as you feel.
Someone else said that once. Someone probably pretty well-known, too.