Alert : This reflection has morbid moments.
I hear comments like ‘There’s no point in starting this as I doubt that I’ll live to see it through’ or ‘I only have a few years left’ or ‘The end is closer than the beginning’. Sadly, for some dear people these predictions have come true. Keeping all that in mind, I still can’t look upon what lies ahead as the beginning of the end but rather as a new phase with so much to look forward to.
I received the sacrament of Extreme Unction when I was nineteen. That was in the seventies when, for most Catholics, it was a final blessing that meant that I was deemed ready to check out of this world. The medical professionals had given up on me. It was my amazing, Catholic mother who decided that she wasn’t ready to hand me over to whatever comes next without a fight. With her determination and dedication and a dollop of luck, I’m still here so many years later.
I bring up that old story because I’ve heard time and again that unless I prepare for a fulfilling and planned retirement I could find myself just biding time till the end is upon me. I can’t accept that notion because I don’t have to be 69 to anticipate the end. It could happen at any age – like 19, for instance.
I’ve decided to embrace this stage of life as completely as possible. I’m making changes and taking chances that I was hesitant to try before. There is a lot to be said for an age when other people’s opinions of you are not nearly as earth shaking as they used to be. I recognize that there are certain limitations that come with advanced years but they don’t have to be insurmountable. Rather than marking time till I die I prefer to get going with so much that I’ve put on hold because, for me, the going is definitely still good.
My first step in the process was to stop dyeing my hair. I’ve stopped wearing high-heeled shoes, except when it suits me to do so. I’ve added vibrant colours to my shades of black-white-gray wardrobe. I’ve decided on bright lipstick and sparkly eyeliner. I’m enjoying wearing my chunky, creative jewelry to go to the grocery store and not just for special outings.
The strangest thing has happened – I feel more energetic and vibrant in spite of the gray hair , the flat shoes, the wrinkles – – – – . Moving forward, I would like my role to be that of classy elder who is thoroughly enjoying the stage she’s at. I believe the going can be good at any st(age).