Monday, May 24, 2010

Age of Grace


Recently I’ve found myself thinking more about the subject of aging. Although it’s never been something I’ve been especially worried about, I find that my perspective on it seems to be changing along with my own advancement.

When we are children, our birthdays are eagerly anticipated and vigorously celebrated. We count our ages in ½ and even ¼ year increments. We imagine all of the ways our lives will be better with each passing year… and in many ways they are.

In our later teenage years and on into our twenties, we are so caught up in the adventures of our youth that considerations of planning for our future health, retirement savings and the like seem utterly ridiculous. Anyone over a certain age is most certainly obsolete in their thinking and way of life, and only members of this particular generation can possibly ever “get it”.

When I was that age (too many moons ago), I remember my parents and their friends often using the expression “Youth is wasted on the young.” It always angered me to hear that then, because I thought of it as a nasty commentary on our collective naiveté, which would ultimately prevent us from fully appreciating our lives in that present moment. I whole-heartedly disagreed because beyond any doubt, I knew I was having the time of my life.

But, this is also the stage when some heavy soul searching begins to take place. I’m not sure it’s something that ever really ends (for some of us, at least), but “finding” ourselves is certainly a key component to growing up. And during this time, how many of us did not make life-altering decisions we’d give plenty to reverse at this point? “If I only knew then, what I know now” is another expression that comes to mind – and may more accurately reflect what the “old folks” actually meant by that earlier statement.

Either way, the past is what it is and focusing on what can’t be changed is not healthy. And then I look in the mirror and for the first time, I realize that my face is truly changing. I know that I can no longer pass for 20-something and probably not even early 30-something – unless someone were to be very generous. Yes, it’s all down hill from here. So, what now?

I’m certain the key to really living is in finding authentic enjoyment at every stage of life. Being you and embracing or changing each situation to suit yourself as necessary. I don’t want to look back on my life with regret. I think that’s wrong. We all make decisions based on what we know and where we are at a specific time in our lives.

So as I age, I hope I have the wisdom to forgive myself for my mistakes and courage to move past anything that proves very difficult, in order to have a chance at living my life with the same exuberance I once did when I was 5 ½ and 11 ¼ and 16. And I wish the same thing for all of you.

17 comments:

Dulce said...

Oh no
No, don't
Aging... I guess it's a matter of stages.. at times it's so welcome... at times... one wants to get back... but where?!

Leave me where I am... Stay where you are.
ie PERFECT!
hugs

Brian Miller said...

i like your thoughts on aging...i hope to have that same grace with each stage...when it comes time for my kids to leave home...i might be in trouble though.

Felicitas said...

Yes, Dulce, I know what you mean. And believe me when I say that I'm not giving up my "youth" without a fight. We really are as young as we feel!

Felicitas said...

Brian, kids leaving home is my weak spot too -- and it won't matter what age I am or they are, either!

Larry said...

totally awesome...I like it as always.


Book Monks


larry..thanks for reading

Ronda Laveen said...

Thank you for the blessing and back at ya! Moving forward with grace is always nice.

Larry said...

exactly would keep us warm for awhile.. Have a great week

Sherry said...

I'm turning 52 in a couple of weeks, but don't look it, act it or feel it. I've always exercised, eaten healthy (mostly), and have a positive attitude.

I have always been complimented for my beauty and that makes it more difficult as you age...but if you are beautiful inside as well.. the focus is also on others!

Paul C said...

Thoughtful perspective here on the grace that accompanies every age.

Monkey Man said...

Age is a number but I cannot stop time. I love your philosophy to enjoy our moments as they come. No regrets.

Lori Saul said...

Beautiful thoughts and art on ageing. Finding and expressing beauty in all ages is key to better acceptance of our life stages. It is hard to find images of women( in particular) in their middle or later years to work with. I love what you have accomplished with this most stunning and expressive collage!

Wendilea said...

The most beautiful people I have met seem to be at peace with who they are and from where they have traveled. Something to aspire to... consider yourself one of them!

Dave King said...

As they say, aging aint so b ad - it's better than the alternative.

The Urban Cowboy said...

Wonderful thoughts on ageing. I really didn't think too much about my age until I hit 40. It sometimes is difficult accepting the fact that your body is unable to perform/do what it could at a younger age.

otin said...

So what you are really saying is that getting old sucks? I agree 100% lol

Mama Zen said...

This is beautifully written.

Lately, I've been thinking about aging, too. I think back on my younger years, and I can see how much I failed to appreciate, then. I makes me wonder what I am failing to appreciate now.

Eric Alder said...

I get just one day older every day, like everybody. So, in effect, we're all on the same ride at the same speed. It is thus that age is made irrelevant.

P.S. - Love the photo’s patina, like a treasured snapshot of the long-lost lover that you’ll never been able to forget.