Old Age, Old Sage

[Summary: this is a copy of a chain email that is doing the rounds at present. Someone’s reflections on getting old]

Old Age, Sickness and Death are three of the Devaduta – the heavenly messengers that awakened Siddhartha to the human condition. Below is a current chain email offering someone’s reflections on the advantages of getting older:

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being
old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon
seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained
that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let
her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person
I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over
my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt And
often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror
(who looks like my mother!), but I don’t agonize over those things
for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life,
my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I’ve
aged, I’ve become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself.
I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that
extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly
cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so avante garde on my
patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon;
before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the
computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the
60&70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love
… I will.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of
life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the
important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your
heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers,
or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken
hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A
heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the
joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair
turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into
deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many
have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care
less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore.
I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me
free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live
forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting
what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall
eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

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About Cittasamvaro

Auto blogography of an urban monk
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