Aging and the ‘old’ word

I had a reminder on Facebook of a post I made a year ago today. Here it is:

So, I went to the grocery store yesterday and was stopped by an old guy sitting on the bench outside. He asked me if I thought I was going to go grocery shopping. I said, “That was the plan, why?” He asked me if I noticed the condition of the parking lot. I said yes, and I figured it was my lucky day. No crowds. He went on to explain that the store had lost power and they weren’t letting anyone in. He was waiting though, because he’d already been back twice. He offered for me to join him on the bench. I thanked him and headed on home instead. The point of this story? The very first sentence: I was stopped by an old guy. An OLD guy? In retrospect, I’m pretty darned sure he was MY age. *sigh*

I say to myself, did I not learn ANYTHING from this experience? Because I still do it. Still say, that old person, that old guy, that old lady. As a descriptor, I suppose it works, but in terms of respecting age, a long life lived, I suspect it falls short. At the very least, it’s high time I recognized the gray in my own head.

Except I don’t want to. Not because I have a problem with aging. I look back on my life so far, all I’ve seen and accomplished, big and small, significant and mundane, societal and personal, and I find immense satisfaction in it. Even so, I don’t feel old. Not mentally, not emotionally, sometimes not even physically. So why not carry on with my head held high and my hand on my aching back and take heart in the fact I am still on this earth?

To be honest, I do. My only problem is calling other people old who are, in fact, just like me, carrying on, learning, enjoying each day, each other, marveling at all they’ve experienced through the years.

I might have to put a rubber band on my wrist, like people fighting addictions sometimes do. Snap it every time I am tempted to let the word ‘old’ come out of my mouth.

Might I suggest you check back this time next year, if curiosity calls you? Let’s see if I can say ‘lesson learned’. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do as we grow older, right? Learn from life?

Fingers crossed and rubber band in place.

Author: robinmaderich

I am a multi-published author, illustrator and crafter. The creating keeps me sane.

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