As I write this journal to explore this process called aging, I want to look backward and forward at once. Do I have regrets? You bet I do; in fact, I have many. My realization that the regrettable dissing of one silken shoe emphasizes my question, is there promise? I believe there is. Even in a society that worships youth, body image and beauty, I can pass the mirror early in the morning, scream in horror at the surprising image that I see and then, adjust quickly to acceptance of that image and be thankful that I’m still here.
The battles of aging are quite different from those exciting battles of youth. These are conflicts against a hidden and silent foe where only the outcome is evident. How can a human battle a foe that is wished for, then at the same time, decry its results? One can “live long and prosper” as Leonard Nimoy’s Dr. Spock proclaimed in Star Trek; however, we cannot live long and remain young, in this society, holding on to youth as the holy grail of remaining here.
There are cultures that pay homage to the aged. Not here in the United States. The aging process here is about “looking good.” What a supercilious way of looking at life. Yoda, in Star Wars was one of the strangest looking creatures created by George Lucas; however, Mr. Lucas’ view of wisdom, instigated by the writings and teachings of Joseph Campbell, shows us that wisdom comes from unusual sources. It’s not beauty that teaches us. We must dig a little deeper to find the essence of living a long life. What does living long mean? How and what do I want to do with a long life? If I live long and prosper, what then? What if I don’t prosper? Being old and broke is not a good thing.
As I slip into the mysterious unknown, with death waiting as the only sure thing, the battle becomes one of mind over matter. Acceptance of the process or the never- ending (and expensive) fight against a process that is inevitable is the judgment each of us must make.
I realize that I have written about this in an earlier post; however, the conflict is real every day, every time I pass that mirror. Will I become tired of the worsening signs? Will the gray hair growing everywhere cause me to give up in defeat and run into the Botox booth? Will those smile lines that do not go away whether I smile or not sadden me and take away my joy?
These are the questions that I ask myself as I ponder my worthiness of being an elder who may not be glorified for wisdom, but only looked upon as to whether I am beautiful to look upon.
May the force be with me!