As I get older, contemplating the changes that seem to have somehow snuck up on my face and body, there is a twinge of lost youth. Being young is not truly a gift, but when you look back upon how boundless the world seemed then, it just seems like so many things were better at 21.
You thought someday you’d have all the answers spiritually. As we get older, we realize some of those things were not immersed in wisdom but very self-centered instead. Yet, why is it we long to be young again with naive illusions of perfection?
There is a beauty to be found in imperfection—the rough surfaces around me remind me of the nature of life and accepting it. Once able to step out of the chaos of daily life, I appreciate and connect with the simple and tranquil. Layers of meaning do not come up suddenly. It happens in fits and starts. Imperfection is the only prompter that forces us to dig deeper.
Growing old gracefully means we need to consider that our 21-year-old expectations were not reality but things of fairy tales, most often. We now become respectful of age, both in things, others and in ourselves, and it counsels us to be content.
Growing old encourages us to understand (instead of demanding to be understood). All of life is in a constant state of change, and that departure is as much a part of life as the very first step of the journey, which we most often long to experience once again.
Growing old teaches me that aging can mean growing wiser and more joyful. A few laugh lines are my proof that I’ve enjoyed the journey along the way and that this life is not the end-all, be-all of my story.
Margaret Wachholz is the campus marketing director at Woodbury Senior Living. In her column, she shares observations and wisdom about aging and senior living in woodburyseniorliving.com