This week I realized that I look the age that my driver’s license says I am. I gave an acquaintance a ride, a man in his thirties. He told me that I look like his aunt. When I stopped at the gas station, he leaped out to fill the tank. When we stopped at the post office, he grabbed my mail and took it inside. It was like being helped across the street by a boy scout.
The odd thing about aging is that I don’t feel as old as I am. I feel like life is looming large all around, although arithmetic tells me otherwise. (If you are wondering how old I am, I can tell you that my mailbox is filled with offers relating to Medicare insurance.)
Remember when we were kids and people would ask us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” No one has asked me that for a very long time. However, I still have dreams, plans and goals. I am moving forward.
That said, the truth is that age is advancing on me. I can’t ignore this fact, or the greater truth, which is, that I will die eventually. So the question is, “What do I want to be when I grow old?”
I want to be alive, completely alive. I want to sway in the breeze of life, rather than push against it. I want to love fully, act heartily, and accept graciously.
Staying healthy helps. I work hard at staying healthy. It means sleeping 8 hours regularly, being physically active, eating well (and not too much), and balancing work and play.
Aging gracefully means accepting help. I am perfectly capable of pumping my own gas and carrying my mail into the post office. But sometimes we also have to give the gift of letting others be helpful. My helpful boy scout friend probably felt like he was doing a good deed. If I made him happy, that’s a good thing. One day I may need his help. This was good practice.
What do you want to be when you grow old?