Growing Old

“I am no longer afraid of getting old. Indeed I can’t believe I ever said anything so stupid. So childish. So offensive and arrogant.
But mainly, so very, very stupid. I desperately want to grow old.”
Elizabeth Wein, Code Name Verity

The infamous paradigm shift. At times, it takes them a life event for them to shift their mindset. And sometimes, it just takes a line from a book.

Who likes getting old?  We are indoctrinated from a young age that growing older means an accumulation of failures and that past was somehow always better than the present.

I was sharper and smarter in high school. I had better memory.

College was some of the best years of my life.

My skin isn’t the same anymore. I gained weight and I looked better when I was younger.

This is the type of dialogue we would hear. Younger is better, sharper and beautiful. It’s a shame that we have to grow old, why can’t we stay like this forever?

Aging is ultimately a subtle reminder of the place all of us will end up in the future. Nothing is permanent. Our bodies have limits. Isn’t that depressing? We’re simultaneously the youngest we will be and the oldest we can be, right at this moment as you are reading this… as I am typing this.

But does it have to be that depressing? You will never be this young again… why not make the most of it? You will never be this old again… why deny the eventuality? We all are going toward the same state of being, regardless of who you are and how much you deny this. But the true kicker of this truth is that you don’t know when that will be.

Is it today? Is it in the next twenty minutes? Twenty years? Was it suppose to be yesterday afternoon, but after a turn of events, the reaper decided not to show? We will never know that. As you read this, how many people have breathed in their last? How many people will give you everything to have your lungs, your privilege or just one more day?

We’re so focused on something that we cannot change. We will all age. We will all die. It’s how we deal with it along the way. It’s how I see it now. I want to grow old. I want as much time as I can squeeze out of this one life I have. But ultimately, I want to be thankful for every breath I take… every moment that is still mine. Because who knows?

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