The key to successful aging is to pay as little attention to it as possible. ~Judith Regan
I was twenty-six years old when I first stood up in front of a choir full of adults and raised my arms as a conductor. On any other day I didn’t think much about age, but some of these adults had been singing in church choir since I was a nursing baby. For the next four years, these wonderful people met my scatter-brained enthusiasm and energy with joyful, boundless love and a willingness to follow wherever I led. But in those four years as a full-time liturgy director, I always knew I was the young’un. The one who didn’t remember Mass in Latin.
Live as long as you may, the first twenty years
are the longest half of your life.
~Robert Southey, The Doctor
I’ve always felt like I have a healthy attitude about aging—something I credit to my parents, who embrace each new stage of life as it comes to greet them. I think Botox is foolish; wrinkles are a credit to experience and wisdom, if you approach them that way.
Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.
I think that youth is painful and awkward, maturity beautiful. I think that when we glamorize youth, when we place rose-colored lenses over our teenage or unencumbered young adult years, when we ignore all the angst, uncertainty and unsettled-ness that was part of the youthful package, we do ourselves a disservice. We teach ourselves to be dissatisfied with the present, when the present is the only time we have in which to live.
I have a terrific attitude about aging, until I realize that I can no longer sit cross-legged on the floor without my hips feeling as if they’re going to crumble beneath me. I’ve had to stop tucking my leg under me here at the computer and actually put my feet on the floor (the outrage)!
Thirty-five is when you finally get your head together
and your body starts falling apart.
And then I happened to glance in the mirror and count 15—yes, I said fifteen—gray hairs. Christian and I poke fun at commercials for Rogaine and hair color (“because I’m—head toss—worth it!” Creepy, man. Creepy. Even if it is Evangeline Lilly). Go gray gracefully, that’s my attitude. But at thirty-six? Dude! I am too young for this! I thought I had two gray hairs, not over a dozen!
(Here’s the part where I’m forced to confess that my curly hair, unruly and uncooperative as it is, has always been a point of vanity. So no laughing, folks—this is a bit of a crisis! 😉 )
I will resist the urge to dye my hair for as long as possible…in part because (let’s face it) I’m too cheap to pay for it. But it looks like it’s time for me to do some soul-searching, because the days are coming when the answer to this question will become increasingly important:
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?