Growing older is inevitable.
As I approached the writing of this post, I considered number one on my list of things that you shouldn’t have to wait until you are fifty to learn : growing older is inevitable (refer to Things Learnt page),. I thought that a good way to hook a reader might by the use of a witty quote about the inevitability of aging. A quick Google search came up one with quote that seemed to be repeated web wide : growing older is inevitable, but growing up is optional.
Now that hooked me, but I suspect not in the way the original creator would have thought. Growing older is inevitable, but growing up is optional. Really?
My impulse is to disagree. Growing up is not optional. Society and our own growing expectations force it upon us. We push the envelope, tear at the bit, and want, want, want; a natural progression of the species in a way. Well, at least in a consumer based society.
Growing up has an obvious emphasis on behaviour. The Peter Pan myth shows us what happens to people who refuse to grow up; Michael Jackson its latest victim. May I add Michael Jackson and I were born the same year. As was Madonna. You do the math. The connotation is that we need to remain young at heart, hug our wonderment and awe tightly to our thoughts and actions, and live in the moment. Not always easy though is it?
Who can escape days when family issues, health issues or work issues don’t have us curled in the fetal position under our doonas? More than one day I retreated in my pajamas to my bed, clutching the jelly baby lolly jar to my chest as I watched an endless news cycle, confirming my worst fears that the world was indeed wrong, wrong, wrong, damn you! The terms doona day, or mental health day, have not crept into our society for nothing. Hard to be carefree on such days, isn’t it?
But you know what? I don’t have to be carefree every day. I know I won’t be, and only a fool would be surprised that we don’t live in a movie perfect world. My rider there is that I don’t want too many bad days, but I accept a few before wailing.
Growing older comes to the rescue in such times I have found. After a day or two, my hard won experience and wisdom clicks in and I get back on the treadmill, refreshed in a way, just because I know that this time will end. One day after another, time will change things if I just work with it. It mightn’t be what I choose to happen to me, but damn it, I can choose how I handle it.
I pity the young. They haven’t had the chance to grow up, to build resilience, or to consider that they are enough just the way they are. Older people have weathered the storm and are more comfortable in their own skins. Maturity gives one the power to say, hey this is me, and I like me, and I am enough!
Growing older is inevitable, and what a gift that is!