On Turning A Year Older
My birthday weekend was a wonderful experience. I spent some quality time with my family. I heard from so many friends I lost count. I had some much needed down time for myself. I felt utterly rejuvenated after it was all over. Which left me feeling a bit confused.
Why did my birthday make me feel rejuvenated? I turned a year older. I was 44 years old on July 22nd and I had to remind myself of it all day. Am I getting older now and not caring? Or am I really feeling better as I wend my way toward those golden years? I am unsure of the answer to this.
I look in the mirror and I see an aging me. A little less hair. A few more wrinkles. More gray at my temples. Convincing myself that more time in the gym is a good thing is the only way I can keep ahead of the battle of the bulge. I need less food now. I can no longer eat three meals a day. I have something like a boiled egg at breakfast and then some low fat meat like chicken with steamed vegetables for lunch; a small portion too. For dinner I have something sensible because I can't go to bed feeling stuffed anymore. I truly am consuming less food and feeling better because of it.
Physical activity is also something that my body craves more as I get older. I feel like I've missed something if I don't go to the gym. I have less energy and I am draggy when I skip my daily exercise. Used to be I needed less exercise and more food to feel this way. If life really did begin at forty is this the showing of it? If it is, rock on!
I've never minded being over forty. It doesn't bother me at all. The only age I ever disliked was thirty-five and I don't know why. I just didn't care for it, so I was thirty-four for two years. Turning forty passed without any emotional issues and each successive year since has given me no qualms at all. Sure, I am getting some gray and I am losing more hair on top. Yes, I have a few aches in places I didn't used to have. I will even admit to needing a few extra hours sleep in order to be at my peak. But these things do not worry me in the least.
If I am getting older gracefully then I suppose I should be grateful for it. I've known a lot of people who railed at the fact the years were creeping up on them. It didn't help them but they did it anyway. Maybe it made them feel better about the aging process. If so, then I'm lucky that I don't have this need to begrudge getting older. I am proud of my age. I don't think any differently than I ever did and in my mind I'm still a teenager. Maybe the body doesn't always think so but that's okay too. I see myself as a product of who I think I am and what I feel like being. Age is not a factor in that vernacular.
So 44 has been good to me so far. I feel like I could climb a mountain. Whether I actually could or not is unimportant, because if I think I could then that's most of the battle. Not that I plan to strike out on an expedition to summit Everest; I just like the feeling that if I did choose to try it I wouldn't let something as fundamentally subjective as my age hold me back.
Have I discovered the secret to being at peace with getting older? No, I think I'm just being sensible about it. And until my body tells me that it cannot keep up with my mind's ideas then I'm not going to worry about the prospect of growing old. Why should I?
As Gertrude Stein said: "Do you know because I tell you so or do you know do you know?"
I like to think I know.