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We're Not Done

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I never thought much about aging until about a year ago, when I first started seeing wrinkles form around the corners of my eyes and forehead. There were also as grey hairs starting to sprout in my dirty-blonde hair. That’s when it occurred to me: in fifty more years, I’ll be in my seventies. Was I horrified? Not particularly. Amazed? Certainly. Age has a funny way of creeping up on you. One moment you’re gluing macaroni to construction paper, and the next you’re attending your daughter’s baby shower.

As to date, there is no one-size-fits-all way to make us feel better about getting older. I wish I could assure you that we’ll always have smooth skin, a toned body, and a full head of hair full of hair. But the truth is I can’t. We all meet the same, inevitable end sooner or later. We sag, droop, wrinkle, and creak, like an old house that has been weathered down by the elements.

There are ways to combat our getting older. We can celebrate our something-ninth birthday for the next twenty years, eat by candlelight, nip here, and tuck there. But when it comes down to it, we will always know exactly how old we are. Is it sad? It can be. Is it a shame? It can be that, too. We don’t want to watch ourselves deteriorate in front of the mirror, or face the possibility of a lonely future in a retirement home where none of our friends or family will visit us. How easy it could be to become bitter and resentful, all driven by fear!

But it doesn’t have to be. Perhaps aging is an opportunity for us to enjoy our grandchildren, some quiet time with our partner when the children are grown up and have flown the nest we spent years feathering. It could be the perfect reason to write, paint, travel, garden, volunteer, fish, cook, sculpt, fly, scuba dive, sail, swim, read, weave, and reflect upon the experiences we’ve had, and the people we’ve met.

We’re far from done. We’re not passed our expiration date. Nor are we over the hill.

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