Aging Gracelessly

Facebook post from yesterday: 

Well, I’ve had a lovely birthday….kind of blown away by all the birthday wishes here on Facebook. Had a delicious breakfast from Cracker Barrel brought to me by my sweet husband, Steve, Then we went to the movies for the first time since our first date and saw Bad Moms (totally raunchy but hilarious….I needed a good laugh!) and now we’re winding down the day with some chocolate birthday cake from Publix. Big piece of cake, tall glass of ice cold milk. It doesn’t get any better than that. By the way, this is an important birthday for me. This year I start counting backwards. I have some lost time to make up for from the last several years. So, without giving my exact age, I can tell you by the time I turn 50, I will be turning 40…again. 🙂 It’s like…magic….

Yes, I decided “growing old gracefully” is for the birds. I plan to be dragged into old age kicking and screaming. So as of yesterday, I am growing younger by the day, until…until I change my mind and decide it’s time to be old. I’m simply not ready yet. I don’t feel XX years old and therefore I am not going to be. Over the last several years, I have suffered a major breakdown and lost a job that was precious to me and spent the better part of a few years almost entirely in bed. So I feel I have to make up for lost time. Some tell me that’s impossible or unnecessary. “You’re only as old as you feel”. Fine. I find that I do not feel as old as my driver’s license claims I am, so I refuse to be it. Looking in the mirror, I find that I am no longer passing for a twentysomething,  but my true age is still hazy. At least one friend my age has sworn not to tell if I don’t, so that’s something. It’s no big thing. I’m not going to cringe and cry if someone finds me out. The truth is, I never thought I would live this long, suffering from depression and being often suicidaI. It’s kind of a miracle really, to find myself here….at my age…whatever it may be.

I know I can’t avoid aging. Every single day there’s another reminder of that. But I can fight it for a while. I don’t have to give in so easily. I don’t have to do like some people and wake up one day and decide to be old and just give up. And if I live to be 102, I don’t ever plan to GROW UP. I plan to be childlike until my dying day. As innocent as possible in this screwed up world, pure and simple. Not childISH. That’s a different thing. Not immature and bratty. Despite my leaning toward realist/pessimist views I want to remain open to things that are new and different and good and positive. Peace and love and kindness and all that hippie stuff. To quote my favorite actor, the late Alan Rickman, “When I am 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I will still be reading  Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ and I will say ‘Always.'” Yes, I will be reading Harry Potter and other children’s books the rest of my life. And coloring in coloring books, and playing with animals, and children when I get a chance. Anything to “rage against the dying of the light”. I will not “go gentle into that good night.”

And I challenge the older people in my life not to give in so easily, no matter what the calendar says, no matter what the doctor says. What does your heart say? Do you still have the heart of a young man in a wizened body? A mind full of wisdom, even though you can’t remember where you left your phone? You still have lots of living to do, lots to offer the younger ones. Hang on, as long as you can. You are so loved, and your life matters.

 

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 19141953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

 

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