When I saw this "assignment" for Carnival of Beauty, I didn't think it would be an easy one! I'm not sure I want to "age", gracefully or not. and (those who know me personally know this) I don't do much (physically) that a person could describe as "graceful". I don't do well at physical activities that require "grace" and I think aging will be one of them!
I don't think I want to think about aging - at least until I decide what I "want to be when I grow up". (I'll have to declare a major pretty soon). Today, I climbed the monkey bars, I slid down the slide, I pushed the merry-go-round and played on the swing.
Adult things intrude - I just did my income taxes and paid some bills. The furnace quit and I'm due for an oil change for my car pretty soon.
I was married for 23 years and I've tasted "til death us do part."
My parents are the ones that are aging (and yet, my dad refuses to grow up also). They are "snowbirds" and just got back to Michigan from Florida for the summer. (ok - here's the way my dad works. My mom had eye surgery on Thursday. She was supposed to go back for a recheck on Friday, but they decided to come home. So, I think they left right from the out-patient center on Thursday morning, because my dad called me on Friday night to tell me they were home. I have an aunt that is very ill and they wanted to get back, but still, you'd think that they could have at least waited until after the surgical re-check)
I don't want to "grow old gracefully".
What I want is the best that I can be at any age that I am.
I don't want to stop climbing monkey bars or playing on swings. I like playing video games.
I want to keep the best of what "young" means and reach toward what the best of "adult" means. I want the "milk" and the "meat".
I'm doing my best to be "young".
That doesn't mean trying to cheat death or dying or even aging.
Youth is a mental state, not an age.
This semester has been an adventure - I'm taking a music appreciation class with both of my kids. I'm a "non-typical student", but with my kids I'm not - I'm just another student. It has been very fun and very cool. My daughter and I are a "group" for a group project - we're doing a presentation on the history of Christian music. She asked to be in my group! (although it was a bit of a letdown when she followed up, "yeah. Tom would be more fun, but I'll get a better grade with you." - I can be fun...)
I have this "thing" that I carry with me. It's taken a while to "fine tune" the system - some folks would say that I've been working with the "autistic population" for too long - all the "visual reminders" I've made for myself. Here's the way it works: The keychain is attached to a pill container. There are safety pins with beads on them. There is a bead for every good thing I do for myself every day. You can see the "pink heart" bead. When I do something good for my heart, like take a walk, I get to put that bead in the container. There is a matching bead that I can put away when I do something good for my muscles, too. The green beads are for green tea - I have beads for water, vitamins, fruits and veggies, dairy and "omega-3" foods.
There is another safety pin for "attitude". There are tiny black beads to remind me that my skin needs care, too - they remind me to use moisturizer at work (which can be a very dry place). The pink beads remind me to pray. There is a bead that I can put away when I read my Bible. Maybe I should have one for blogging...
It may sound silly and maybe not very many people would need this. But every time I put a bead away, I'm reminding myself to be the best that I can be. Every bead I put away is something that I have done to make myself either physically or spiritually healthy.
Every bead I put away actually encourages me to do something to put the next one away.
What does this have to do with aging gracefully?
Maybe not much.
But it has a lot to do with the "me" that I want to be right now.
So, tomorrow I'll go play on the monkey bars and the swing and the slide - and maybe I'll even take a shot at the basketball hoop.