And if you don’t believe me, just ask the Fool in Shakespeare’s King Lear:
Fool: (to Lear) Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.
It takes a fool to know a fool.
I had always thought maturity, both in age and experience, was the path to wisdom. At last, I get to the place where I make choices and life decisions that match my physical, emotional, and intellectual abilities. Right? Not quite!
Making those choices without endangering myself and others requires, dare I use the new dirty words in the aging lexicon – accepting my limitations. After surviving decades of political, historical, and self-induced upheavals, isn’t it written somewhere I finally earned a free pass. The last time I looked, any pass I had was loaded with small print exceptions sort of like the gun law recently passed by Congress.
I tell myself and all who want to listen, “If I have made it this far into what I call my Lear Years, I have to put aside moaning and whining.” They take up too much of the energy I need to take a walk, sing a song, play the piano, fly a kite.
Recently I have found a very healthy use for my vocal chords – moaning, whining, groaning, and grunting. At the very beginning of my day while abed, in order to wake up various parts of me as I begin to stretch and wiggle, I moan, groan, whine and grunt. These sounds actually aid in getting my blood pumping and my body parts energized. Let’s face it guys at my age waking up can be a daunting and sometimes frightening process. Each day one or another body part doesn’t work as well as it did the day before. There is an ebb and flow to movement that does not stay the same. But as I accompany my movement with sound, my brain as well as my body parts feels like it’s being liberated from the cobwebs of my sleep.
Seriously! Giving vocal power to my movement is amazing. The louder I wail, the more my blood flow pumps and circulates and the more my blood pumps and circulates the more energy I bring to my moving body parts. As I write this, I realize unless you have an understanding partner, it’d be very difficult to keep them from calling 911.
The closest illustration of what I am talking about is the New Zealand Maori Haka Chant that some football teams use as a spirited work out.
I realize I am not ever going to hop out of bed and make it out of the house in 15 minutes anymore. But honestly, I don’t have to. And for that I am grateful. It’s not as if I am giving up. That’s not in my makeup. I find I just have to do things differently. You know different. Like peoples and beliefs, the oft talked about diversity is not negative or limiting, it’s just different.
For me, the problem is a mirror adjustment. In my mind’s eye, I don’t think I’ve actually changed that much. I’m getting better about it. I don’t see myself as a teen, more like a very young 60 year old. In recent years, either I have a new mirror or new glasses because that image has been abandoned. Long walks down long airport corridors with my roller bag were traded for wheelchairs. These helpers which were formerly a sign of decline now define my continued ability to travel. But almost more important than the perks of aging is my attitudinal change. I had to acknowledge, first and foremost to myself, I cannot do what I took for granted I’d always do. Damn!
It took years to finally gain my independence. Now I am being asked to surrender membership as a rugged American individual. It’s OK. I think after a certain pioneer period of exploration and exploitation this country’s rugged individualism is overrated and unnecessary.
Let’s face it. The land of aging is an unknown. The unknown makes me afeard. And yet, it is this very unknown that at my age is my ultimate challenge. If you only watch the first episode of the Apple TV Series, For All Mankind, you’ll get it.
Unknown-shmunknown!! Direct from Startrek: To boldly go where no man has gone before. (Wait a minute! To boldly go where not man or WOMAN has gone before! That’s better!) That’s how I feel every morning.
I open my eyes! I’m still here? What do you know?
For me, it’s like I have landed on the moon and am about to take that leap into the unknown.
My friend, I have a new role to play, The Aging Astronaut. Waving my flag that reads:
The Unknown. Use it or lose it!
Right??? Of course, right!!!
Love ~ Sally-Jane ❤️
P.P.S: You can’t do old age without a sense of humor: