February 8 2014 001

Photograph by K. Farwell

I got to try out my cleats this afternoon in a parking lot that was one solid sheet of ice…and, they worked! I took them off to go into the store, and stopped to replace them once I was outside and ready to work my way across the parking lot back to my car after I was through shopping. As I was replacing them, a man called out from the driver’s seat of his idling pickup, “Now that’s what I call a good idea!” I replied, “Yes, especially for clumsy folks like me….these are kind of like snow tires for ‘old ladies.'”

The surprise contained in that last paragraph is the way I implied I was an old lady; the phrase rolled off my lips without a moment’s hesitation. Back in the day,  any man that introduced me as his “old lady” was in for a stern reprimand from me. I did not consider myself “old,” and I was certain I did not belong to another human being. I had an even stronger negative reaction to being called “chick.”

Now that I’ll be 65 next week, I have had to accept that I am joining the “officially old” population in just a few days. I am viewing being “old” differently now; probably out of necessity. Now it is almost like an honor to have reached recognizable “elder hood.” Ah, in that term, lies the essence of my new found comfort. To me, being an elder means being a respected citizen venerated as a source of wisdom gained from having lived a full life. Turning 65 represents hitting a milestone—a time to celebrate all that I enjoyed  and survived along the way.  My comfort level with being an elder is based on the insight that real wisdom lies in my willingness to continue to evolve, learn, love and grow. Nothing has to stop—-except those things I have always needed to stop.

So, in a few days I will officially consider myself an elder. Yes, there will be “older moments”—-the kind I still don’t enjoy; most of those are an effect of physical aging. My human body is wearing out one day at a time. This thought makes me chuckle because I realize my body has been doing that one day at a time for my entire life. I am sure that even as a toddler and small child I had cells in my body that were wearing out and being replaced by new cells. This aging process is different though. It is not just about losing cells, it is about losing abilities, or at least partially doing so—-abilities that I have taken for granted up until now. I gratefully realize, however, that I have come out on the “winning side” of the bargain;  I have gained so much more than I could ever possibly lose in this experience called life. So what if I don’t move as fast or as gracefully as I once did? So what if I have periodic bouts of pain? My “lifetime of experience”  has certainly been worth the price. I even welcome the wrinkles that are becoming more pronounced on my face; to me they are mapping out the emotions I have experienced during my life time, and I am happy  most of my wrinkles are “smile wrinkles.”

Enough. I had no idea I’d end up writing today about my thoughts as I approach the age of 65. No telling where my mind will wander when I let it! Thanks for wandering with me. God bless and keep you.