Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Full Circle

I love that pool of gold light behind the tree, featuring its shadow.

A couple of wonderful revelations about old age have arrived just in time for my 59th birthday this coming Monday. Timing is really everything! Thanks to the gods of perfect timing.

For a long time I've been confused about why young people experience old people as deeply disgusting. But after reading an article in the New York Times about disgust, a reaction that is part of our survival instinct, I get it. In the article they pointed out how, if rotten food wasn't truly repulsive, we might eat it, get sick and die. I'm thinking that from adolescence until mid-life, people are in the grips of powerful hormonal imperatives to successfully mate and procreate. Old people would necessarily seem disgusting since mating with someone on their way out of the cycle of life would not be successful in any way. An old mate can't protect against predators, hunt or farm, build shelter, cook, let alone sire or bear children. So what good are we anyway? Well, we know the stories of the past, we have wisdom and humor, we're great spiritual advisers. That's nice, hey? But do you think the brainstem gives a rat's ass about spiritual advice? Ha. I think not. Hence, people in the throes of the potent urge to mate, have sex, have babies, look at those of us past all the sturm und drang and are mildly to extremely disgusted. At last I get it!

It's also becoming clear that in old age, if we wish, we can stop being ashamed of everything. Babies feel no embarrassment. I'm beginning to see how I can regain that freedom as I get older. It's a small thing, but lately I haven't been wearing makeup, other than lipstick of course. I've always felt it was important to "put on my face" every day; now I'm not as concerned. Slowly, the shame and embarrassment and self consciousness I felt most of the time throughout my teenage years and young adulthood is fading. I'm coming full circle by growing older.

Ahhh! I love this time in life, it is really great. These really ARE the golden years, "golden" as in beautiful, clear, precious. This time of life reminds me of the last rays of sunshine on a clear day in early February. I took some pics of that light yesterday just before dusk, a couple of which are posted here.

There is no part of me that wishes to be young again. I'm so lucky!


Linda Sue said...

In total agreement here- I love being old- I am even more independent and free from the "What will people think" syndrome that my parents tried like hell to instill in me...Don't care- at all! No make up, no stylish wear, nothing to prove or represent. It is GOOD! and I do not miss youth at all except the lacking of physical energy.
So, Yes, happy birthday! You are still young relatively, since the new 30 is 50...( Thank you Madonna)

Kerry said...

What beautiful golden light.

As long as I maintain my health and have the ability to live an independent life, I think old age is going to be just fine. A time to be free.

Reya Mellicker said...

Linda Sue:oh yeah!!

Kerry I think good health and independence make every part of life just fine, hey?

ellen abbott said...

youth was fun while it lasted but I'm glad to be free of so many things.

Whitney Lee said...

Gorgeous pictures. I love the hopeful light.
I understand the argument here about disgust on the physical level. Beyond that I am not sure I fully agree as I'm not repulsed by older folks and am often more comfortable and more entertained by them than by people my age. They often have so much more to offer, give me more to think about. Not to mention they are usually much easier to communicate with because they are typically more comfortable in their skin and have shed the pretensions or masks that we younger people still use. There are fewer layers to the truth. Of course, on the physical level I agree with you. I've never once had the desire to procreate with anyone my parent's age.