I gotta be honest here–I still struggle with getting older. Part of it is about the mortality issue but some because I feel guilty at times that I wasted so much of the time that was given to me. But then I argue with myself by saying “yes but you wouldn’t be who you are today if you hadn’t lived the first part of your life as you did being who you were then. Think about what you learned being you then and how that has helped you today to give back to others who struggle as you did”–that’s true too.
I used to concern myself about how I was going to leave this planet and that caused most of the fear. Then I became curious about how I would go and hopefully, it won’t be painful. What will it be like I often wonder? The big part, now, is that I will not see those whom I love in a physical way anymore and I will miss them so much. The smell of their hair, the touch of their skin, the solid hugs and just the great feeling of seeing them laugh and enjoy and to hear the passion in their voices. All the more reason to take as good care of myself for as long as I can and believe that it will be OK.
So now I am putting together a list of all the good things about getting older for me. Some are rationalizations-some are cliches. Many of you who are reading this will have thought of or heard many of these before. But perhaps there will be the odd one that makes folks stop and say–Hmmmm. Hadn’t thought of that in that way before.
- I am now a grandparent and there has been no joy, pleasure or privilege greater than that except being there when my kids were born
- I get to use all the things that I learned along my way and I can pass them along to my kids and grandkids if they will listen. I can’t control that part of course but I can be sure that they hear the pearls of wisdom that have been passed to me.
- Although I still take care to appear to dress decently and shave when I remember or care to I don’t believe I have embarrassed anyone close to me lately. I don’t have to get caught up in the trends of the day. Hell, I’ve got clothes that are much older than my granddaughter. I do try to draw the line at wearing white socks and sandals at the same time which tells me that I still have some semblance of pride left in me.
- When I was younger I, like so many, saw my self-esteem directly connected to my appearance–the right clothes, the right hair or hair cut, the right cologne, a shine on my shoes, pants the right length and so on. I still care about some of that stuff but my sense of self is not tied near as tightly as it used to be.
- I don’t have a problem letting folks know when they piss me off. I don’t try to hurt people intentionally but I don’t waste a great number of words saying what I need to say to them.
- Time is such an important and valuable resource that I have begun to think very carefully how I choose to spend it, with whom and doing what.
- I spend much more time thinking about how to help others than I used to only because it feels good to do it and I know that it makes a difference in the quality of the lives of those I choose to reach out to. When I was younger it was more about who might help me in return if I ever needed it. I have come to recognize that those times are about bribing people more than something heartfelt. Today it’s about knowing that I can still make a difference in the world I live in.
- I spend much more time today watching people and caring how they are doing than ignoring folks, as I would do at times because I didn’t feel I had the time to reach out to them.
- I can take the time now to feel the sun on me and appreciate it for its warmth. If I’m late getting to somewhere, well, just start without me-I’m good with that.
- I still appreciate the tunes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. It was and still is great music. I can recall, with clarity, some of the good times with people who just enjoyed living. When we are younger we don’t have many memories to go back to. I guess that’s because we were too busy making them at the time. Now I’m grateful and thankful that my mind still works as well as it does and that I can capture those times like they were yesterday just by hearing a particular tune.
I know that the list could be a great deal longer but if I were to try to sum it up–at least for now I would say “get good at adapting to where you are now, be sure you enjoy what you have chosen to do and care about those you have decided to share your time with.”
Anyways that’s how I see it, all the best, Jim
Send me your list if you want, I’d love to read it. Feel free to send this along to family and/or friends. Comments can find me at:
firstname.lastname@example.org OR jimcloughley.com
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