Growing Older…Gracefully

Yes- I was born in the 70’s. Mothers just dressed their girls like boys. Oy.

I spent last night chatting with my cousin who is in her twenties.  She is entering that time where you are just realizing what it means to pay the bills, pay off loans, not get the perfect job, but accept the one you are offered.  She is now still loving her night-life, but bemoaning her single-life.  As old-married’s with a load of kids, my husband and I are a perfect example of why she should really enjoy being free from family obligation, or a life tied to one job or place. Now that I am the unfortunate decade of my 40’s, I feel like I have at least a little life experience- not all of it good, but all of it a learning experience –that my own twenty-year old self could really have benefited from:

Don’t sweat the small stuff. You have to keep in mind that you have so much ahead of you and lots of time, but now would be the best time to travel abroad, explore dating instead of relationship-ing, try out pink hair or a painfully shocking hairdo .  You will have lots of time later in life to dress for work, have a family, stay at home, and learn to iron.  Try something new.  Break up with that terrible boyfriend- there are many more options if only you would allow yourself to be single!

If I had to write a little letter myself in my thirties:

Enjoy it.  I lie about being in my thirties. I am a wanna-be thirty.  Enjoy it- 30’s are

Now, I can’t of course, project into the future and write myself a letter to my future-self, but as people often do, I have friends and family that I can learn from now. There are many things that could give me some good perspective:

I think (and strongly hope) that my 50’s will be just like my 40’s but maybe better.  The kids will be old enough that my husband and I could go on dates again. Watching them do sports and enter their own lives as young adults I think will be great and my 50’s I am frankly not too worried about.

Now, How about 60’s?  That sounds old again, like 40 does.  No offense, but I am allowed to say this, because, as I said, I am in the 40’s and I think they sound very, very old!

I think 70’s might be hard too.  People start to get old when they hit 70.  My mom is dealing with this now, and I know you start to see your friends age, and eyes, ears, and bodies fail.  I think when you are 70 you move to Florida.  Winter is way to F-ing hard.

80-90’s: Is there even a difference between these two?  You can let me know in the comments!

100+’s: Enter Nana.  My husband’s grandmother will turn 102 this year.  Her hearing is not so good, but she has all her original teeth, eats 3 strips of bacon and a muffin every single day for breakfast, has her hair dyed and set bi-weekly, walks every day, and reads 4-5 books every week. She is my ageing idol  She has seen so many friends and loved ones come…and go.  I think she had a harder time with it in her nineties and now when someone passes, she just accepts it totally as a passage of life, but bemoans the loss of a friend more as leaving her feeling lonely, rather than especially sad.  She needs people, and visitors.  This is something that we try to do as does most of her family.  She is the epitome of keep-on-keepin’-on, and I have adopted some of her outlook, as my own:

You have to accept aging as another stage of life, yet also try to be your own personal best throughout – whether that means putting on makeup every morning, reading every day…or just getting out of bed! 

 Just putting one foot in front of another must have been hard at some point for a 102 year old woman, like Nana.  Perhaps when her husband died.  Her sister, friends, and brother too.  When they moved her out of her house and into a facility.  When she stopped being able to drive.

I think having friends and family at various stages of life is so enriching for a perspective on age.  I love having friends that do not have small children, so that my own life-view doesn’t get too narrow in focus- we find other things in common.  I have much younger friends and much older, and we can always find common interests that go beyond our ages.  My perspectives of age, get more accepting as I get older;  So her is my new letter:

Letter to myself everyday in my 40’s (Aka. Now):

Love this day.

Any little bit. 

Every day is a gift… so accept it gracefully.

And say, “Thank you.”