Grace in Aging

I believe we’re granted a kind of grace in aging. Though that’s one of those things, you don’t wake up and realize until you’ve been on the journey for a while. The realization comes on slowly for most of us and for some unfortunate souls, it’s never recognized at all.

Our skin starts to wrinkle and grow hair in inappropriate places, but our eyesight becomes less sharp, so we don’t notice it (we must ban magnifying mirrors to the seventh circle of hell). Our vaginas dry and we think that we’d like to give up on them only to find that our mates, whose eyesight is also going, know we’re as juicy and sexy as we were when they first met us. We don’t have the energy, stamina, strength we once had, yet now we appreciate the things we were moving too fast to see when we had all that.

We seldom see ourselves as we honestly are throughout our lives. It’s not until we reach the stage where we realize that there is grace in aging that we indeed see ourselves as we are.

We, at any age, look at our more youthful selves. My 55-year-old me looks back at my 45-year-old self and marvels at how young I look, how firm and clear my skin, how pretty my face was. My 35-year-old me looked back at my 20-year-old self and marveled about the same things. The person I was at that age didn’t appreciate what I looked like then. There was always something wrong; too fat, too thin, dry skin, zits, tiny wrinkles, a few visible veins and oh, my God … the first grey hair.

I never stopped to appreciate what I had at any of the ages I had it.

Lately, I’ve come to realize that for the most part, we all age according to our lives. We have a hard life; we age hard. We have a comfortable or privileged life, maybe we age more easily, but perhaps it’s just easier to cover up the signs when we don’t. Sometimes our internal lives show on our faces and bodies. Our thoughts form the persona that we wear into our later years. Sometimes the grace of good genetics eases our way into maturity despite what we’ve seen or our experiences. Sometimes the anti-grace of lousy genetics slaps us down even though we’ve lived a peaceful, generous life.

Aging doesn’t discriminate. It’s inevitable from the day we arrive squalling into this world. The only certain force in the world is entropy.

So why do we spend so much time and energy fighting it? Why are we so afraid of death? Why are we so fearful that the world is going to end? We fight ‘what is’ every single day of our lives. Everybody DOES. We struggle from the moment we get up until the moment we go to bed and then sometimes we still keep fighting in our sleep in our dreams!

We need to start loving what we have in our lives right now even if it’s not what we deem good. All bad things have lessons that make the good things in life beautiful.

Loving ‘what is’, no matter what it is, brings a certain amount of peace. Accepting what you are, how you look, the age you are, what you have, and how you walk through this world brings peace and contentment. Love ‘what is’ right now, right at this moment. You are as young at this moment as you will ever be. Don’t waste it. Appreciate what you have, how you look, what you know, all the things out there you can learn.

If you still don’t love what is, grow until you do. Don’t change, grow. Improve what is, don’t annihilate and change. If you start over and change what you are and what is, you negate a whole life of living. Improve, don’t destroy.

Don’t blame others for things in your life today. We all make our own choices in our lives.

Honor your choices, good and bad. They made you what you are today. Don’t deny, don’t bury. Surround all those parts of you, even the ones you find unlovable, with love and honor them. The good you are today may well have sprung from ‘not so good’ or even ‘bad’ in your past. Without the unacceptable, the acceptable isn’t possible.

Embrace your age whatever it is. What you lose in youth, you gain in wisdom. There is much grace in the world as seen through older, wiser eyes.