When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now …
Will you still be sending me a Valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
In November I will be celebrating my 64th birthday. 47 years ago The Beatles released a catchy little song (with tongue-in-cheek but, slightly condescending lyrics) titled “When I’m 64”. I turned 17 that year and, in the way of almost all young people, being 64 not only seemed very old to me but, also very far away in the distant future. I’m amazed at how fast I got here!
Several years ago I experienced a revelation about aging and it is that no matter how much the aging process changes your physical appearance, you are still the same person on the inside that you always were (as long as you have your mental faculties!). You might be thinking this is obvious but it wasn’t to me because I was guilty of thinking “old” people were somehow intrinsically different than me just by virtue of their age and appearance but then, as my own body and face began to change with age, I realized the falsehood in that. Yes, of course, we learn and grow in many ways as we travel through life but our essence, what some call our soul, is never changed. The truth is, unless I see my reflection in a mirror or window, I completely forget about my chronological age and, in my thoughts and feelings, I still feel like a much younger woman. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I feel “ageless”. Now when I look into the eyes of an elderly person I have a sense of their ageless self looking out at me. (This is hard to put into words so I hope you understand what I’m trying to say)
There are physical things about aging that I don’t like – and probably never will! – but, through aging, I have learned to better appreciate the mind and personality that has always existed at my core. As a younger woman I was very critical of myself and placed too much emphasis on my appearance but, as an older woman, I have learned to appreciate the longer lasting gifts of my intelligence, creativity, kindness and sense of humor. A lot of young women waste too much energy (and time and money!) on their physical appearance – and are still rarely satisfied with the way they look. They compare themselves to models, actresses, music stars – really anyone who is any type of celebrity – and they think they’re not as ________ (fill in the blank). They need to be reminded that the photos are airbrushed and the celebrities to whom they compare themselves have personal trainers, stylists, nutritionists, chefs and plenty of money for cosmetic surgery! In other words, it’s not reality! Magazines that target a young female demographic are loaded with articles about improving and/or enhancing your physical appearance, presumably to attract a man and then, once you’ve got him, how to please him so he’ll stay with you. It is a challenging task to overcome so much powerful propaganda but, it is up to us “older ” women to remind the younger women in our lives of what is truly valuable and beautiful about them and to show them, by example, how to age gracefully.
We can tell them it is important to take care of your body by feeding it a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, giving it exercise and rest but, beyond that, it is more important to simply love and respect it for the amazing machine that it is. If you are blessed with a strong, healthy body in which to house your soul then you are very fortunate but, remember, that’s all it is – a place for your soul to temporarily abide – and it will change, either over time through aging, or as a result of illness or injury. That is the message I’d love to give women – young or old – take care of and appreciate your body but don’t forget to nurture your soul because that is what lives forever.
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you tap this source, you will have truly defeated age. ~Sophia Loren
See more of my greeting cards at www.lyndalinke.com
PS/This is my 64th post! I now have 67 followers and the blog has had 1,188 views since it’s creation in August 2013 – thank you to everyone who has shown an interest in my scribblings. I am honored!