Oh, to move like I did when I was young, with the grace and ease of a new body bursting with energy. Now my body is tired. Gravity has slithered its ghostly tendrils up my frame and pulled me down. This relentlessness has worn me out and created a world where I’m now aware of how I move carefully, gingerly, over uneven ground.
Oh, to have a brain energized and prepped for learning. The juicy malleability of a young brain is long gone. I can still learn, thankfully, but the process is slower, like worn cogs in a machine. The mere fact that I’m aware of this electrifies my gut with fear. If I know I’ve lost some ability to make fast connections and quick calculations in a half century, how much more will I lose in the next quarter century?
Oh, to have the innocence that accompanies those with fewer years behind than ahead. Everything was new and interesting and fascinating, even the rawest and most painful of experiences were bright and strong. As the days morph into years that flow into decades not much surprises, not much feels fresh.
But I’ve decided this is no reason to despair.
Goodbyes are expected and have become the norm. Hellos, however, have emerged from the wreckage like a feeble phoenix.
While I can no longer feel surprised at every experience, I can marinate in delight at those most pleasurable when they present themselves. This joy is pronounced only because I’ve tasted the bitterness of existence. Experience has helped me appreciate everything from the tiniest moments to the most monumental. From a warm spring day bringing relief after a painfully cold winter to the birth of a grandchild bringing joy after the loss of someone I loved.
While I can no longer learn with lightning fast ease, I know how to maintain the cogs and keep the machine well oiled. I know how to spark interest to increase the impact of the lessons and how to rest to allow those lessons to soak in. I may lose some cognition but I know how to stop behaviors that increase this process of loss. While I can no longer move with fluidity, I am grateful for the mobility I do have. My arms can still hug, my legs can still hold me up, my eyes can still see, and my back still works at keeping my head held high. The loss of speed, flexibility, and grace is evident but with the loss comes the appreciation for good days. Aging has taught me how to say goodbye and has surprised me by presenting me with new hellos. I can only hope there are more hellos than goodbyes to come.