Actually, if you manage to get to 90 relatively sound of heart, mind and body (or any combination of those three), you have accomplished something pretty unusual. To be honest, as I have inched closer and closer to my centennial, being old has gotten somewhat easier - actually, a lot easier. In my late 80s I began to see the humor and humanity in things much more than before.
Looking back, the toughest years were when my energies were beginning to flag and my body started slowing down. My proprium - my sense of self - felt threatened as it became clear that Katharine Reynolds Lockhart was far more than just the sum of her physical parts.
Moving out of that hanging-on state to one of accepting that the fixtures and fittings were coming apart was like moving out of darkness and confusion toward lightness and the light. The concept of physical being, of time and relationships became liberated. I was beginning to get the hang of these basic changes when I was hit by a small stroke late last September.
That small stroke sped up the process, liberating the me. My mind felt strong, my spirit felt strong. As my body started to head south, it no longer had the energy to put up a fight about being temporary or even fake being permanent. My feet drag somewhat and I move a lot more slowly than I did, but most days my spirit soars, making itself felt more and more.
Nature has forced me into more meditative states and a slower, sssllooowwweerr tempo. Instead of being bored to tears sitting in the big chair in the living room or in my soothing rocking chair , it is surprisingly rewarding.
The problem is that young kids - looking through the eyes of a still preening self - feel sad and think, "How dull her life must be." Too many Ancient and near-Ancient Ones come to think those young'uns are right.
A friend asked me to write about old age and make all the younger folks envious of us Ancients. Growing old, even some of the sadder aspects of it, is part of the Lord's grand scheme. Let go of time-bound prejudices and fears of growing older. Marianne Williamson says that to get to the light, a person has to work through the darkness. In middle age, life can seem dark.
Work through it toward the light. Or perhaps consider a play - the closer and closer the actors come to the curtain going up, the more experienced they get, the more polished their performance and the better able they are to improvise when needed. It is the same with life. Think of us Ancients as master thespians, waiting for the curtain to be rung up
It is past even this night owl's bed time. Nite-nite and God bless - A Kid at Heart