Aging With Grace

If there were a real Fountain of Youth, would you drink the water?

The vast majority of my blogging of late has been the AMPLIFY posts and updates related to various incidents of violence and murder. To give myself some balance, I’m going to return to the tried and true method of blogging daily with a prompt.

I am one of those rare birds who enjoys getting older. I look in the mirror and see the wrinkles, the age spots, the sagging and the many gray hairs; I rejoice.

My childhood was cruddy and my young adulthood was a perpetual struggle to build some sort of life out of that chaotic mess. I wouldn’t change things (well, maybe a few things) but I definitely do not want to return to those days. Frankly, I’m simply glad to have survived and appreciate that poor young woman doing her very best to get to the other side.

Aging means even more distance from those days when I felt alone, helpless and abandoned to my own resources. Now, I am older and wiser. I have more resources, to be honest. I have more healthy people in my life. And I have confidence that I can survive and flourish. I can be happy. I’m no longer waiting for the other shoe to drop, I’m relatively confident that I can handle whatever happens when it does.

Aging means I am much less worried about what people think. I wear the clothes I like, style my hair the way that I want and only have an occasional meltdown about my body. I eat dessert even if no one else is having any. I go to bed early and don’t have any regrets about giving up alcohol. I go braless and don’t worry about shaving. I pull a winter cap over my hair to keep my ears warm and don’t worry about hat head. I have few illusions about having a lifestyle or a personal brand and focus more on living.

Being older means I have access to new treatments for my ailments along with a few new ailments. I have a more active voice in my healthcare. I put pink streaks in my hair. I accepted the limits of my body and mind. I set boundaries with people who did hurt me in the past. I wear socks with sandals and sometimes they even match.

I did have a momentary pause when I was in my late-30’s as I realized that my opportunity to get pregnant was dimming. I did not want to have children and neither did Ledcat. Still, I felt this need to stop and reflect on that choice we made. I have zero regrets on that front. I honestly think that was more about the fact that I was working in child welfare than any real desire to procreate or parent. But as I head into my 45th birthday, I have no qualms – I know that I do a lot for children and families, I don’t need to parent in order to continue doing so.

Now granted, I have a lot of privileges. We have a nice home and a decent income. We have good healthcare and we’ll have Ledcat’s pension one day. Our actual dotage probably won’t be incredibly poor although it will never be the retirement our parents had. We are planning a whole segment of my art project around the use of our middle-aged white lady privilege, what we call the ‘punk rock’ portion.

I do occasionally worry about the big ‘what-ifs’ of aging – who will be around to take care of us? What if we develop Alzheimers? What if one of us dies youngish? What if we both actually follow in the steps of our grandparents and live into our 90s?

Beyond those worries, I’m looking forward to what continuing to age will bring to me. In my twenties, I realized my vocation. In my thirties, I met my Ledcat and built a life with her. In my forties, I’ve been restoring my health. What will my fifties bring?

Sue and Ledcat at Kennywood



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