Some time ago I received this text via eMail.
My immediate thought was to send it to eMail heaven, sharing a space with all the other useless fluff one receives - but then I started reading. It is not rocket science and most people under 35 wouldn' understand a word, probably.
I have addedd a few of my own additional thoughts, but the basic text was spot on - with me!
So here goes:
I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ..... I will.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old - or perhaps: some of them won't and they will never know, that they are missing the only chance they'll ever get.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you break a relationship, lose a friend or when a child suffers, or when a beloved pet dies? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, or even lose it and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face and into the memories of good friends.
So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong and I have earned the right to express my thoughts and feelings if I wish - and shut up if that's my choice.
I am happy with my value-system. I have lived with it for a long time and it gives me the right to do what I want, as it doesn't include hurting others. I express my opinions freely and expect mature answers - if not, I stop the discussion. I love meeting people; it enriches our lives, but I will not listen to demands about whom I can see and whom not. This is my business only and other people must respect that.
Therefore, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying too much about what will be.
I believe that humans essentially are just animals. Our branch of the great ape-species has only been a visitor to Earth for a few million years - less than 1/1000 of the Earth's age. When my time is up, it's up, and all that remains is "dust and worms". I may worry slightly about the transition from being to not being, but what comes after is as insignificant as a swatted fly, as I won't know. No derogatory use of a group of virgins, no wings and boring harp-play and no roaming in people's closets after midnight! Just nothing - and it suits me to the core.
This belief has given me great peace - and I will enjoy it every second that's left.