Echo Press Editorial: The freedom that comes with aging
An Alexandria reader sent the newspaper an e-mail entitled “Aging and Friendship.”
If you’re getting up there in years, you’ll identify with it. If you’re not that “wise” yet, you will, hopefully, reach an age someday when these words will carry a deeper meaning. It was apparently written by someone who was asked what it was like to grow old. Here it is:
“I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
“Whose business is it if I choose to read, or play on the computer, until 4 a.m., or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s, 60s and 70s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
“I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
“I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, eventually, I remember the important things.
“Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
“I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
“As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
“So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).”