Getting old. It sneaks up in the mirror revealing itself like adolescent acne of decades gone by. Misplaced little hairs, wrinkles and weird brown spots are suddenly reflected as an unfamiliar image stares back. A professional colleague of mine, Don Kuhl founder of The Change Companies, writes about Aging three times a week. After being greeted by the scary old man in the mirror, I went back to his blog for some perspective and humor. Then I posted a little photojournal on some of my FB groups which dealt with the inner grace and elegance that can reveal themselves as we age. Like a defiant Gray Panther, I raise a fist in solidarity with my sister and brother Baby Boomers.
I don't necessarily like the idea of being a senior citizen so I'm adopting the term elderhood to take its place. Childhood was fun, and elderhood seems to open up some promising possibilities. One pleasant discovery has been that time, so recently constricted to tight schedules, business demands, and accountability, is no longer such a critical measure. Instead of a day being broken down into minutes and hours of events and destinations, it reverts back into being a cumulative experience.
When I was a boy, and the adults would ask what all we had been doing on a long summer day. I remember responding with a muttered "Just goofing around". How could the adventures of baseball, finding tadpoles in the pond, building forts in the woods, fighting off savage invaders, and skinny dipping in the lake be conveyed to parents who thought we should be doing something productive? It's like that in elderhood too. Now its our grown children asking somewhat suspiciously what we did with ourselves all day. There is no way they could understand the joy of sleeping in late, savoring a hot cup of coffee like it was fine wine, sharing breakfast in bed, watching neighbors from the porch, napping during a Cubs game, and talking about dreams or days-gone-by as being valuably spent hours.
My wife, twelve year old dog Wrigley, and I get it. Even with the aches and pains, bottles of medication, and visions of strangers in the looking glass, we (almost) fully embrace the whole elderhood thing. Our hard won wisdom may be discounted by younger ones who should be seeking it. But we accept this with the firm understanding that someday in the not too distant future...they will get it too.