Thursday, October 13, 2011
Rain and Roses
Aging is confusing for we baby boomers, though I should say we are not the first, nor will we be the last, generation to find it bewildering. Maybe especially now it's challenging because our society is virulently ageist, also because we mature so early and age so late at this moment in evolution. It's easy to think, during the mid-40s, that somehow we will escape what is inevitable. Then we turn 50 and see that oh yeah, we're going to grow old - or die before that happens. One or the other, there is no third choice. In affluent 21st century America, we age quickly during the decade of the fifties.
My affection for the process of aging goes against the grain for many people of all ages. Youth is revered, old age despised. I don't understand. Every age has its challenges and problems, also its blessings. In late middle age (I think that's where I would place myself), we are liberated from so many concerns that were Terribly Important earlier in life. The hormonal imperative of young adulthood to be partnered, the biological clock ticking away, etc. all become nothing more than a vague memory after menopause (men have their own version of menopause, you know).
We're free, too, of the sense that we must ACHIEVE, climb ever higher on the ladder of success, whatever the hell that is. Earlier in life it seems necessary to be important in some way. What was THAT all about? Hmmm... I don't remember, though I know my ambitions around being a High Priestess were very acute. I would go for the jugular if I thought someone was about to surpass me in the hierarchy of priestessing. For heaven's sake.
I've been thinking recently that when I turn 60, there are a whole bunch of things I'm not going to do anymore. For instance, I've heard people talk about their weight for most of my life. I'm so over it. I was thinking, after 60, when anyone begins to complain about their weight, I'll stop 'em cold - nicely - and explain that I don't want to hear it. I'll smile, change the subject, and will not apologize. From then on, I will never ever again have to listen to that crap. Free at last!
Last night I realized a meteor could hit the planet or I could suddenly drop dead from something or another before I reach 60. In other words, what am I waiting for? As of today, October 13, 2011, if you're worried about your weight, tell someone else, please. Life is short and I don't want to hear it.
Late middle age is a wonderful time of life! There is a late bloom at this age, similar to the roses in DC, also the bulb flowers who - in the midst of the midatlantic autumn - bloom as if it were spring. I'm not a fan of the muggy, hot early fall we experience here, but I do like the metaphor of the late blooming rose, oh yeah.
Life is good - at every age, believe me, at every age. L'chaim. And Shalom.