How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?
I was thinking the other day about the pros and cons of aging. In some respects life seems a little more complicated with all the health issues, taxes, and other bureaucratic stuff. It probably really isn’t any more complicated than it ever was, it just seems that way. On the other hand you get to the point where you are free to unleash all the unused youth that you kept pent up as the years went by. It is not a second childhood, it is more like, “watch out world I get to be me now and I don’t really care that much what people think.” You don’t have to like something because the critics tell you it is great or feel guilty because you like a piece of art without understanding in detail why you do. It really is sad how many years so many of us waste waiting before we set ourselves free.
Here are some thoughts I excerpted from a piece that Pat, one of our readers, sent me recently. It tells the story we all should hear as early in life as we can.
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! 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 40 &50’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.
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).
So my young friends I offer you the life style of the well lived generation. Won’t you come join me in the sand box, we have castles to build. I just wish I had reached these golden years when I was in my twenties.
A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.
A girl from North Carolina and a girl from California sat side by side on an airplane.
The girl from North Carolina, being friendly and all, said, "So, where ya from?"
The California girl said, "From a place where they know better than to use a preposition at the end of a sentence."
The girl from North Carolina sat quietly for a few moments and then replied: "So, where ya from, bitch?"
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.
The Dalai Lama
A big city corporate lawyer runs a stop sign in a small town in Tennessee, and gets pulled over by a sheriff’s deputy. He thinks that he is smarter than this hicktown deputy because he is a lawyer and is certain that he has a better education. He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the deputy’s expense. Deputy says, "License and registration, please."
Lawyer says, "What for?"
Deputy says, "Y’all didn’t come to a complete stop at the stop sign."
Lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."
Deputy says, "You still didn’t come to a complete stop. License and registration, please."
Lawyer says, "What’s the difference?"
Deputy says, "The difference is, y’all have to come to complete stop, that’s the law. License and registration, please!"
Lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop, I’ll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket. If not, you let me go and don’t give me the ticket."
Deputy says, "sounds fair. Exit your vehicle, sir."
At this point, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the ever-loving crap out of the lawyer and says, "Do y’all want me to stop or just slow down?"
"A great many people think they are thinking when they are really rearranging their prejudices."
Wife: "I mended that hole in your pocket last night after you’d gone to bed, dear. Now, I ask you, am I not the thoughtful little wife?"
Husband: "Well, yes, you’re thoughtful enough, but tell me, dear, how did you discover there was a hole in my pocket?"
She looked like such a sweet little old lady, driving the cute Toyota with a bumper sticker that said, "Grow your own dope."
How sweet, I thought, must be a medical marijuana patient.
Then I noticed the rest of her message … "Plant a man."
"Conscience is what makes a boy tell his mother before his sister does."
On one occasion a student burst into his office. "Professor Stigler, I don’t believe I deserve this F you’ve given me."
To which Stigler replied, "I agree, but unfortunately it is the lowest grade the University will allow me to award."
I called to make airline reservations and was put on hold. After several minutes of taped music, a recorded voice came on: "If you have been waiting longer than ten minutes, you may press eight. This will not speed up your call, but it will give you something to do while you wait."
"Where facts are few, experts are many."
Donald R. Gannon
A man pacing back and forth glanced at his watch and yelled upstairs to his wife, "Honey, are you ready yet?"
Shouting back, the woman replies, "For crying out loud, I’ve been telling you for the last half hour that I’ll be ready in a minute!
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.
George Washington Carver
Stay well, do good work, and have fun.
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
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The editor is somewhat senile.