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Aging Gracefully

Spring is here, most of the trees are leafed out, flowers are blooming, new life abounds. I’m wondering if I’m glad or sad. I’m delighted to see another season burst forth with color and vigor but sad to acknowledge the cells in my body are having a difficult time bursting forth with anything that resembles “newness,” much less vigor and color.

Along the streets of San Miguel I see beautiful trees that aren’t showing their age. Each year they come out with greener leaves, healthy looking branches, and limbs that wave in the afternoon breeze. They could easily be over 100 years old, but they still look like a 30 year old.

I’m not 100 yet, but no one has accused me of looking 30 for about 40 years! In fact, I was 20 when someone mistook me for a 30 year old. Been downhill since.

I remember asking a friend in college what her long term goals were, and the first thing on her list was to “grow old gracefully.” My goodness, at 18 I was amazed that anyone was even thinking about growing old, much less gracefully. I haven’t seen a “graceful” day in my life, so I haven’t worried about what that would be like. Besides, what does growing old gracefully mean?

Does it mean not showing your wrinkles, or being proud of your grey hair or bald head, or ignoring those lovely varicose veins? Beats me. As I said, graceful has never been a descriptive word I have embraced to describe myself. 

I took Tai Chi for a number of months some years back simply to learn how to move my arms and hands in a graceful motion. It is a work of art when someone can go through the motions of this exercise as it is intended to be performed. Alas, the instructor suggested I might try another way to learn to move my body in a smooth, gentle style. She may have mentioned football, but she was muttering when she spoke, so I missed it. 

I’m back to the old trees, and their ability to continue to look vibrant and healthy for lo these many years. Maybe I can stand out in the yard and allow birds to nest in my branches, and squirrels to traipse up and down my trunk in order to improve the aging process.

But, I ask you, do trees get skin cancer? 

6 thoughts on “Aging Gracefully

  1. Your Tai Chi instructor was graceless, not you. I think the best way to grow old gracefully is to be fully ourselves. We each have our own grace that others can appreciate or not, their call. Me? I’m hoping to stomp right up to 100 as gracefully as I can.

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  2. I think growing old gracefully would be growing old without complaining about it – since I seem to complain frequently about the muscles that won’t do what they used to, the words the brain seems to forget the very second I need them, the need for naps – no, wait, I don’t complain about naps – those are a privilege to be protected that comes with retirement – anyway, obviously I am not growing old gracefully. But if wrinkles are character, I’m am gaining character every single day.

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  3. So, have I got it right? I twigged that you intend to branch out into new ventures to ensure your trunk and limbs move gracefully, and pain free. I’ll leaf you to find your new roots!

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