(Weathered Wall, Acrylic on Canvas by Hugh Townsend Harris)
What’s it like to be old?
I’d say it is like being enriched!
Take an old, retired tobacco barn in Halifax County, Virginia, for instance. Seen from a distance, the barn appears to be almost lifeless, wood rotting away, in danger of toppling over. But take a closer look. See beyond the obvious to the character masked by the effects of aging. That weathered old structure is actually in an enriched, majestic state of being.
Aging is a majestic process. It’s the most universal and persistent of all human experiences. We start it as soon as we’re born. It’s a ripening process.
We associate wrinkled skin, thinning hair, loss of hearing, and generally a state of decline with the idea of being old. So we don’t want any part of it. “I’m only as old as I feel,” we tell ourselves. Well…maybe…sometimes. Some of us feel the wear and tear differently than others. Ripening is about being enriched at a deeper, inward level.
The secret to majestic aging is staying alert, active, connected to God and to others, exploring new options as life’s stages unfold. It’s learning to be comfortable in our own skin, not taking ourselves too seriously because now we know it really isn’t all about us anyway.
When I missed my mother for the first Christmas in seventy-nine years I wrote a blog about “Feeling Old.” Where once I had persistently seen my glass as half-full, I could now see it as half-empty. I can now appreciate what it means to have more days behind me than in front of me. That’s a good thing! It frees me to capture the essence of each moment, each relationship, each unfolding experience.
It means I’m being enriched from the inside-out…just like the wall on that old tobacco barn.