The amazing story of two 40-something women on the path to matrimonial bliss

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Aging Choices

As you might imagine, Teri and I have the occasional conversations about this whole aging adventure.  As both of us are closer to 50 than we are to 40; with a few grey hairs, a wrinkle or ten and steady reminders that we are no Spring chickens, we tend to bring our unrelenting students' sensibilities to the challenges.  As far as we're concerned, how we age, to a certain extent, is a choice.

There is so much of life we have absolutely no control of: the weather, the economy, the way everyone around us drives, etc. The only piece we really get to manipulate is our philosophical approach.  When I think of the older people I know and have known who inspire me, they are the ones with a sense that time will run out before they do and there are some of their characteristics I've embraced as ones that I want to carry into the second half of my life:
  • Compassion
  • Open-mindedness
  • Engaged in community
  • Physically active (as active as physically possible)
  • Constantly learning
  • Willing to be a beginner
  • Silly
  • Reading, watching movies, going to plays
  • Embracing new music
  • Being a thoughtful, involved neighbor
  • Surrounding ourselves with diversity: folks of different ages, racial & ethnic backgrounds, genders, socio-economics, etc.
  • Refraining from giving/offering advice~unless specifically asked
  • Accepting our kids wholly for who they are, their choices, etc.~allowing them to be themselves without trying to influence or judge
  • Willingness to say "yes" and "no"
  • Every day is a new adventure!
As I've seen it, we have some choices about how we age.  There are those who become bitter and sheltered; retreating into familiarity and rigid days and schedules; and there are also those who reinvent themselves with a great leap of faith and change. I don't imagine I am really either of those sorts, but see myself more as an opening up of more and more layers of life and myself.  I don't want to abandon all that I am or have been, but I also have the constant sense that there is still so much to do, learn, and explore.  Every year of my life, I have met new people and had new adventures; There are constantly new people to meet, friends to make, books to read, places to visit, and recipes to try~but there are also relationships to deepen, skills to improve, and joys to experience again and again. There is excitement in change, but there is also a sense of maturity that comes from lessons learned deeply and relationships weathered over time and trial. 

As Teri and I have shared, we don't know what's going to happen tomorrow or next week or next year, but we have a pretty good idea of who we are going to be when it happens...

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