Some things get better.
December 1, 2013 § 6 Comments
Not knees. Not hands. Not eyes–and forget skin.
Sadly, nothing connected to the mortal envelope of the body improves past about age twenty.
But what’s inside can, and usually does.
The stereotype of the old guy shaking a fist at the kids running across his lawn started for a reason but for most, the years add up to something more than frustrated indignation.
The sum total of a life is often wisdom.
The self that obscured the view of anything else when we were young has become smaller—we now see past it. That burdensome self is lighter too. We travel less encumbered.
As we age we wake up from the fever dream of acquisition, take a look around and say, where the heck did all this stuff come from? We realize that what we own owns us–and begin to give things away.
An occasional pair of socks and replacement underwear will do us just fine. Christmas and birthdays become an excuse to get friends and family together.
Some join the Tea Party. Most become more tolerant. Having made mistakes ourselves we know it can happen, and we realize that happiness looks different to different people.
Every Sunday afternoon I open the doors on this all-volunteer effort and the kids pour in.
We are reliable—a trait we would have considered boring when we were young, but which now makes us comfortable.
We have become collaborators, not competitors. We cheer others on. We celebrate successes that are not our own. Your gain is our gain, not my loss.
And when it becomes clear that our return to dust is an inevitable part of the bargain we shrug and go on. How can we complain?
We’ve tasted waffles with real maple syrup, been kissed, seen rainbows, held babies, almost done a cartwheel (maybe you’ve done one for real), stood in the spotlight, sat in a seat six miles up in the air—the list is as long as life itself.
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not in a hurry to go, but we are grateful, not demanding.
And strangely, as the remaining time dwindles, we are more likely to slow down and allow ourselves to be stunned by the goodness of all that is–and have few regrets about all that isn’t.