Friday, February 13, 2009
Aging is humbling, in every way you can imagine. Those who either romanticize or demonize aging (or both) are either in the most severe denial possible or have not yet reached the age of 40. It's right around age 40, sometimes as late as 45, when we humans suddenly realize, almost always with a shock, Oh. This is my life, the life I am now living. All those other lives that I imagined for myself? Fantasies. The sense of having plenty of time to pursue whatever you want for yourself evaporates during the decade of the forties. It becomes absolutely clear that our precious lives in this form are finite.
It is a shock, hence mid-life crises.
One of the best things about my trip to Rome a few years ago was the opportunity to watch women of around my age. In that culture, women are proud, always, at every age. I watched so many gorgeous women, silver-haired, wrinkled perhaps, but still beautifully dressed in their perfect silk or linen sheath dresses and high heels, faces impeccably made up, heads held high, striding down the cobblestone streets. After that trip, I came to understand that there's no need to be ashamed of growing older. I didn't do anything wrong, after all, I just haven't died yet. I too can hold my head high, why not?
Still, it takes me aback a bit to understand that the earth has made yet another full turn around the sun since the last time it was February 13. Faster and faster the years fly by. Wheeee!!!