“I don’t want to watch that, it has old people in it,” says my husband of Sarah Polley’s film Away from Her. Now before you balk at the insensitivity of his remark about the elderly or Alzheimer’s, ask yourself, is he saying something none of us have thought ourselves? Who actually wants to get old? It’s the phase in life when your body slows and bears the scars of your experiences. The very lucky get to maintain their wits but that’s never a guarantee. But lets be positive. The polite adjective is distinguished but I believe it’s accurate. Just think of all that you have accomplished and learned.
I’ve never been one to squeeze every last minute of a fun experience. I don’t have a fear of missing out. I leave the bar when I get bored. So, when I reflect on the process of aging I hope that the universe will take this into consideration. I don’t really have the desire to reach the point when I’m no longer present and drooling. When I’m just delaying the inevitable.
So instead I choose to view this life phase as an opportunity more than a hindrance. But to acquire this perspective one needs foresight and planning. Do I want to take those vacations when my joints can’t take it? Hell no. I want to see all of those places when I’m willing and able. I’m not going to be rushing to get things done at the very end. I plan on taking my own sweet time. Do I want to feel that things were so much better in the past? This is the very definition of an “old” person. Things change all the time and that is a gift. We are so lucky that every passing day allows for greater recognition of difference and the human condition.
One of my favorite television shows is BBC’s “As Time Goes By.” Starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer, the series chronicles the meeting of two sweethearts who lost touch during the war. They reconnect and realize the depth of their feelings after marriages, children and careers. After so very much. Not only is the writing and rapport between the actors perfection but I like the sentiment behind it. That it’s never too late to enjoy life, to enjoy each other. Isn’t it Dylan Thomas who said “do not go gently into that good night?” I rather not fight it, but will take it for what it’s worth. Shall we?