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.
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my unconditional loving dogs for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself and less critical of myself.
I've become my own best friend.
I don't chide myself for eating half a bucket of President's Choice Chocolate with Brownie ice cream or for not making my bed or for buying art supplies I love but may never get around to using. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant and to laugh until I snort!!!
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon during the last couple of years before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or paint a picture 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 Kramer getting sick, I will choose to do so!
I will walk the forest with a goofy red hat and ugly black sweat pants with mismatched socks with a bounce to my step if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. 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 dog suffers or even when a girlfriend cries her heart out? But broken hearts are what gives 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 belly 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. I can say "no" and mean it. I can say "yes" and mean it. I can choose to say "I'm not willing" and mean it. There are no "shoulds" or "have to's" in my vocabulary.
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 that you never asked?
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. I don't worry about all those people out there that don't join me on my life's journey. I'm more interested in my friends that do join me because it is the ride of a lifetime! And I shall eat my President's Choice Chocolate with Brownie ice cream with loads of whipping cream and chocolate syrup everyday of the week if I feel like it.
My mantra in this life?........
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming - Wow, What a ride!"