Day 12 – MC
Today I had a dear friend from my undergrad pay me a visit. I hadn’t seen Lisa in over 10 years. What a great reunion! She’s married now with 2 beautiful children of her own. She brought her youngest with her today.
You often don’t realise how much time has passed until you suddenly come face to face with a blast from the past, and a girlfriend with whom you went dancing, drinking and giggling over cute boys with is standing in your vestibule with her 1 year old son talking about her 4 year old daughter and supportive husband. Where did the time go?
I’m 35 years old. There’s no shame in that. I’ve lived a pretty decent 35 years. Yes I’ve made mistakes. I’ve trusted and hurt the wrong people and I have the scars and regret to prove it. I find this society, our society is so hell bent on fighting age. ‘Don’t grow old gracefully, fight it every step of the way’ is a slogan as are numerous others that follow along the same vein.
I find myself at odds with these notions because growing up in India (where I spent the first 7 years of my life) old people are revered. My grandparents lived with us. They were always seen as wise by every other member of the family. They knew things nobody else did and had lived through experiences that made for incredibly interesting lessons. They had answers to just about every question and great anecdotes about everything imaginable. You always spoke to them with utmost respect, no matter what your age or ‘position’ in life was. They were the elders of the house and they were always treated with that kind of respect. Their skin was wrinkled, their hair thinning, their movements slower but all of those things made them even more lovable. They always had magical stories to tell and they told them with such intensity and passion that they could feed even the pickiest of children.
Children held a certain place in the family. Parents held another place in the family. And grandparents held another place in the family. Each place was important and you knew to enjoy that place that you were in and you also knew that over time you would graduate to the next level and then to the next level. It was natural and expected.
As a grandchild, I loved my grandparents. I had 3 of them. 2 grandfathers and a grandmother. All from my paternal side as my maternal grandparents had already passed away. My grandmother, my grandfather and his brother, my grand uncle with whom I was probably closest with. They gave me no reason to be afraid of getting old or any reason to want to fight getting to where they were. They had a full life with rich stories and always made kids laugh. Why would I want to fight that? Living a full life should age you shouldn’t it? Every laugh line has a fond memory attached to it. Every gray hair a lesson learned. A softer body made them more huggable and the speed of their gait was slow like Sunday morning. And that’s why they looked different. Not bad. Just experienced and lived.
So imagine my surprise when I came to Canada and started seeing ads about how growing old is negative. Or at least looking old is negative. I didn’t get it then. I don’t get it now. I definitely have every intention of living a healthy lifestyle so as to avoid or prolong health issues, but aging is evidence that we’ve lived. Evidence that we’ve fought our share of battles and enjoyed our piece of life’s pie. Our age should be celebrated not mitigated. I think if we change our perspective it always makes the future bright and isn’t that a much better way to spend the rest of your life?