DAILY PROMPT: YOUNG AT HEART
What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?
Aging? Love it! And why not?
For a start, I’m retired. No more crawling out of bed half asleep to flog my way through rain, hail or glorious summer mornings to be polite to people being rude to me, in order to sling money to the sharks smacking their slobbering chops at the thought of what they might do to me and my defenceless children if I don’t meet the bills. The sharks still circle, of course, but now there’s only me to chomp on, I’m quite likely to stick my thumbs in their eyes and tell them to back off. The power is dizzying.
And then there’s the freedom from angst. Yes, of course I worry about things from time to time, but that’s quite different from the gut-wrenching torture of broken hearts, broken dreams, unrealised hopes and cruel awakenings. I can still be hurt, but my skin is thicker these days – positively leathery, in fact – and although I can’t run (but then I never could), I can walk away. You can’t do that when you’re young.
Experience, you see, is a wonderful thing: the clarity of hindsight, the perspective of time. I know now that a lot of the things I agonised over didn’t happen, and those that did, I dealt with and moved on. Because after all, what alternative do you have? If life empties the bucket right on your unsuspecting head, it sharpens the mind like you wouldn’t believe!
Western society, it seems to me, has a lot to answer for on the question of aging. Yes, I’ve got grey hair and wrinkles, my skin no longer glows and my boobs no longer perk. But so what? I’m 70 for goodness sake. I didn’t get here in a golden carriage with all mod cons and a charmed passage through life’s vicissitudes, and if it shows here and there, they’re honourable scars, in my opinion. But society seems to think there’s something shameful in that. Bollocks! Women in third world countries would give their eye teeth for half a chance. What’s more it takes a village to raise a child, they say, and that means people of all ages and levels of experience, willing to be who they are and pass on what they’ve learned. Oldies obsessed with pretending they’re not – they don’t quite cut it, I’d have said.
As for staying young at heart… Keeping an open mind would be high on the list. Nothing is static. My grandmother would be spinning in her grave if she could see me still in the surf at my age. And baring my legs in the process… What has the world come to!