Monday, November 14, 2016

The Healthiest Days of Our Lives, Pt. 2

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to be older. I don't mean a 12-year-old wanting to be 16. I'm excited to hit my 50s, 60s, 70s.

I know that's apostasy to many of my friends, so I try not to say it aloud since I'm usually the youngest person among my friends. Those hitting their 30s worry about the shrinking dating pool and closing window for bio kids. Those in their 40s wonder if they accomplished anything of value yet. Those in their 50s keep noticing their bodies don't behave like they used to.

I understand to some degree. I rather like my body and will mourn when it starts breaking down on me. Every day I ask myself if I've done enough good in the world. These are natural fears.

As I age, I will no doubt struggle with them as much as anyone else.

But I still can't wait to be old. I can't wait for people to judge my appearance based on pizzazz, not attractiveness. Getting off the gerbil wheel of the workforce certainly will have its perks. And I look forward to one day mastering the study of being still and quiet.

I don't expect these things to come magically, of course. I'm working hard to garner confidence and pride in my wierdnesses. We put a lot of our income into retirement now while we can. I work on self-control, meditation, trust. There's effort going into all those areas.

What I look forward to with age is experiencing the fruits of those labors.

There are less serious reasons why I want to be older, too. Old ladies get away with wearing the most awesome hats. I imagine I'll finally live where I want to. Observing the rotations of history, how things come and go, sounds reassuring -- like I won't freak out over the news as much, because faith improves with age.

I look forward to having decades of knowledge helping me fight more effectively for what is right. I look forward to cultivating habits of kindness long enough that maintaining them isn't as much hard work.

I have special grandparents: observant, active, kind, and artistic. I want to be like the three of them.

Sure, there will be hardships, but every season of life has those. You can choose to mull over the substandard things. Or you can balance yourself by noticing and encouraging the excellent things.

There are always blessings. Always.

The "healthiest time of life" quandary lies to us. It tells us there's a time that is best, persuades us to pursue something fleeting. But any time in life can be wonderful with the right people and outlook, and some good books and tea.

I'm inspired by the science showing how people with positive associations about growing older will age more gracefully. Your mind and body tend to hold together better when we don't strain so hard against time's pull. Essentially, looking forward to old age will make it more fun to live through.

And, really, isn't that true of everything?

Word count: 511.
Image: Advanced Style documentary.