When Maurrie first asked me to write something about how I feel on the subject of age I thought it would be easy to do. As I’ve contemplated my feelings I find that it’s not.
When we’re young we don’t think about age because we haven’t really done much of it; all we care about is getting old enough to date, get a drivers license, being old enough to purchase alcoholic beverages, and to vote.
The next phase of aging includes higher education, careers, marriage and children. During this phase we are too busy to realize we’re aging, much less think about how we feel about it. We think about being considered “mature” enough to grab that big professional promotion or travel the globe. Some want to marry, or start a family before we’re “too old.”
Later we bask in the satisfaction of reaching goals we set earlier in life. Whether it is the successful career, the family we dreamed about or, for some of us, both. We are enjoying the successes of children and other family members. We’re not thinking much about age until the dreaded 39! For me 39 wasn’t the big defining moment, for some strange reason it was 45. Perhaps that was because I had only one child at home and my oldest had made me a first-time grandmother.
After that, I finally had time to find out who I really was as a single woman. Time…age, age…time, it all started to become one. Aging allowed me to reach the point in my life where I was free to do the things I wanted, without daily responsibility for another human being. It was exhilarating, yet sad in some ways, because you can allow yourself to feel adrift when those you cared go their own way.
Time passes, and you realize it’s a whole lot more fun to enjoy the milestones in life than the goals. If you’re lucky, you’ll reach your goals, but take time to celebrate the milestones on the way. Not everyone is lucky enough to “age.” So appreciate that you have been allowed to do so.
Life is filled with joy, memories, family, sadness and grief, new beginnings and old endings, and the realization you cannot change everything. Someone told me long ago, “you can’t save all the nuns and orphans.” I may still want to, but now I realize it’s not possible. I just need to take care of me and my loved ones and have fun along the way.
As the Amazing Mazie once said, “if you’re not having fun, do something else.” I’m aging, but I’m having fun while I do it, and if I’m not having fun, I’ll do something else!
-Kaarin Simpson, Sister #441