The other day my son startled me when he casually remarked, “you know Mom, I will be 42 this year!” Now being 42 years old is really no big thing. Except that this 42 year old was MY BABY! Oh my gosh, where had the years gone?
The revelation by itself is startling because I have never given much thought to aging. Years have come and gone and I have always felt the same, and was too busy to notice. It was like all of a sudden there was this young thing inside this aging body. Imagine that! It may sound silly, but really, how many of you actually look in your mirror everyday and say to yourself, “Gee I am getting old.” No, there are some of us that simply do not think about it, mull or chew the matter. We get on with our lives and then suddenly there it is, age. I would like to think that getting older means that I am getting mellower, becoming wiser, more mature, a person with greater insight, and..of well, the list is endless. In essence, we are getting BETTER!
I remember reaching forty and I was told that “Life begins at forty.” I was not over the hill, I was now entering a richer life, freer, more fulfilling. Well, I do not know about you, but when i reached my forties, at the peak of my “richer self”, my husband left me for an older woman. Then at fifty I was struggling with becoming a new me and learning all about survival in the working world. It really wasn’t until I reached my sixties that for the first time I felt really free and my life was enriched. Now that I am having so much fun with my life, I AM GETTING OLD? No way!
I got married when I was 21 and by age 22 was having my first baby. Then after 22 years of marriage, car pooling, washing clothes, ironing, cleaning house, running errands, gardening, counseling friends and family, volunteering for everything, being a model and a super hostess, my husband left me and I divorced. I had to find the hidden me. I had plenty of time to start looking and it took a few years to finally find me.
When I found me, no one could stop me. I discovered there were people who were worse off than I was. And the best part, that I could contribute to their lives.
At fifty i worked as an international consultant for corporate contractors to the State Department. On my last year I worked for 6 countries throughout Latin America. I was in and out of planes so much, i often felt like a flight attendant.
In my line of work I have come across hundreds of people with whom what I have taught them has enriched their lives. After 16 years of working in third world countries, one realizes how fortunate one is living here in the U.S. But most importantly, God gave me the tools to use in my work and that gave new meaning to my life.
i am semi-retired now, but working almost as much, and my daughter tells me, “more” than before. Am I getting older? Sure I am! But at 68 I am still having fun living and loving. I am too busy to care and am proud of my gray hair. I wish I had more time to do what I would really like to do. So let me suggest to you, that if you are panicked or depressed about aging, think of what you can contribute to others. If you do so, life will not slip by your fingers, it will offer you another chance for fulfillment.