Age is opportunity no less,
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away,
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Morituri Salutamus
My father-in-law turned 60 years old yesterday. We surprised him by gathering a small group of family and friends at Kirkbrae Country Club where he and my mother-in-law have dinner every Friday night. It was a lot of fun and I'll post some pictures soon.
Sitting at the table last night with a group of people age 19 to 81 really got my mind churning. There was lots of wisdom whirring around the table. There was lots of advice being sought and dispensed. There were lots of people just being people. Age disappeared. Age didn't seem to matter. Age was being celebrated and all were celebrated no matter their age.
The other day a man asked me what I thought was the best time of life. "Why," I answered without a thought, "now." - David Grayson
I believe in living in the moment. If you can not find happiness, something positive, in the present moment, you will surely age before your time.
I am not saying this is easy or that I achieve this all the time, but it is something to strive for, something to always attempt to put into practice. Eventually it becomes automatic, I am finding.
When grace is joined with wrinkles, it is adorable. There is an unspeakable dawn in happy old age.
- Victor Hugo
My grandmothers are very different, but equally amazing women. Looking into their faces, it is impossible not to grin, too see their victories, their lives in the lines. They're simply adorable in every way. Adorable: to give homage or worship to someone or something.
My maternal grandmother is the one who has most shown me that "unspeakable dawn in happy old age" with her many travels, endless curiosity, and incurable laughter. She has had her share of medical and other issues, but she keeps going and she makes the most of every day. I still have trouble believing she is so near to 80.
My grandmother-in-law has also shown me the dawn. For her 80th birthday, she took her 2 sons and their spouses on a two week trip to Paris and Rome. Soon she'll be 81 and shows no signs of stopping.
The other day Mr. B&B and I were driving. We stopped to let an elderly couple cross the street. They were walking arm in arm, close together. We looked at each other and smiled. "Yes, Love, we will stroll the sidewalks when we are adorable old people, too." said my husband. "Amen." said my heart.
"Miranda: Whatever happened to aging gracefully? Carrie: It got old.”
- Sex and the City
Our culture's obsession with youth boggles my mind. Tens of billions of dollars per year are spent on cosmetic surgery in the United States alone. A Google search for "anti-aging products" yields 7,460,000 results. Women starve themselves to the point of looking pre-pubescent, even skeletal. It is dangerous.
Give me wrinkles and gray hair and experiences I'll never forget. Give me growth, creativity, and fan the flames of the spirit of my five year old self burning bright inside me. Give me a life well lived. Let me savor every moment while it lasts.