Every once in a while I catch my reflection in a store window and am puzzled by the stranger looking back at me. Yes, I do look at my reflection every day when I’m putting on makeup, but that’s different, that’s a feature by feature application that doesn’t require looking at the whole picture, the big picture you might say.
It’s those unexpected sightings of myself when I stop and think, “Who is that old woman?” And then the rude awakening, “Oh, right, that’s me, the girl who used to weigh 97 pounds soaking wet (yeah, that’s been a while ago), and the one with – at varying times – dish-water blonde hair, black hair, blonde hair, red hair, and now nearly entirely white hair.
Being old doesn’t bother me, maybe because I’m blessed with good health and don’t have to deal with the issues of a failing body and wandering mind, at least not right now. I’m happy to get up in the morning and look out into the patio to find an amaryllis in full bloom that’s been around for at least 50 years, its blossoms as brilliant and showy as if sprung new from the ground for the first time. It blooms twice a year without fail, with two to three spikes bearing three or four brilliant blossoms. Oh, that as I age I continue to blossom in my own way. I hope by the end of every day I have done something that made someone smile or laugh or think.
And then there are my friends. I don’t have many, by the way, only a few. Yes, I know many people, and I treasure those relationships, but a friend is someone who will listen to you blather on and pretend what you say matters. A friend is someone who will ask you the right questions without trying to give you her version of the right answers. A friend is someone who has known you for a long time and still likes you. A friend is someone who doesn’t judge you or the choices you make. A friend is someone who knows you want an honest answer to the question, “Do these pants make me look fat?” So, yeah, the only way you have old friends is if you are getting old too.
Life in general is as happy as we each want it to be. Make a conscious choice every day to be happy. If life has taught me anything it is to be forgiving, not only of others, but of oneself as well. Carrying around the baggage of discontent can plumb wear a person out. Taking on the stress dealt out by life is a time and energy waster. Guilting over past mistakes is to allow other people or circumstances to control your life, and why would you want to do that? Try to right the wrongs you can, and trust in the Lord for the rest. I learned the hard way that I can’t make other people happy no matter how hard I try, but I can make me happy, and by doing so hopefully have a positive impact. Life Lesson 101 – Count your blessings, they far outnumber your disappointments.
So, yes, I’m old, but that’s okay. I do count my blessings, and being able to write these words and share them is one of them. Aging is more than a physical process. It is to a degree mental. I agree with columnist Doug Larson who wrote, “The aging process has you firmly in its grasp if you never get the urge to throw a snowball.” I can’t wait for the next snowfall. I’m ready to make my pitch.