By Nancy Jo Eckerson
I know this sounds crazy, but ever since I can remember, I couldn’t wait to get older. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun being young. My youth wasn’t spent in a huge state of discontentment, but I had lots of dreams and desires that would not — could not — happen until I had a few years or even a number of decades under my belt.
I admired my middle-aged neighbor’s laugh lines that deepened as her eyes sparkled with joy. I thought of them as a true testimony to a happy life. I couldn’t find a trace of those beauties on my baby face. So, I had to wait.
I was in awe of her husband, too. He always knew just what to say to make me feel grown-up and respected. Even with his serious growl, his wink hinted at the fact that he was older and wiser.
Envy was my constant companion as I faced each age with yearning... to be able to cut my own meat, to make coffee for my father...to reach the buttons on the stove!
I also loved the privileges that came with age. When my dad was about 50, he bought himself a Harley 1200. He did not have to ask permission from anyone, and he had enough money to get just the bike he wanted. Nirvana. Well, almost, until my mother got hold of him! So, maybe even at an older age, there is some finagling to do in life, but at 11, when my urge hit, a Harley had to wait.
Well, I have finally arrived at what should be my slice of heaven, only to find industry and the media are against me! The pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic industry have labeled my laugh-lines a cause for emergency Botox and my crepey-skin as undesirable.
Even many younger people have shown a disdain for age. Although my health is awesome, there are occasional days when I am walking a bit slower. I am amazed when my pokiness is greeted with harrumphs, ughs and general impatience from strangers.
Additionally, my brain slows down now and then, and commercials would have me believe I am knee-deep in Alzheimer’s. But, I am a savvy soul, and I have figured out that my incredible brain has reached capacity, cleverly filed memorable facts into a zip drive and tucked them away in the center of my cranium. Be patient. I am not senile, I’m simply retrieving!
These days, when people say keep your chin up, I say which one? And I laugh, which then deepens my eye creases. At that point, I raise my hands to cover my face and expose the crepe skin that is seen by the public as a sure sign of impending doom. It’s comical. Actually, the joke is really on them, because underneath it all, I love being older. I have gained great experience, amassed volumes of sage wisdom, and I have my own permission to do as I please. I wear my laugh lines like awards, my crepe skin as a badge of honor and my chins...well, okay, so that’s still a touchy area for me.
I think we need to consider aging as an accomplishment and a quest to be revered. Let silver hair and carefully etched wrinkles be trademarks of the wise. Maybe if more people gave the elderly the respect that years of surviving on this planet have earned them, growing old would be as exciting as becoming a teen! Maybe 2018 is the year to start applauding the benefits of being aged to perfection. Cheesy, I know, but true.
Nancy Jo Eckerson of Akron like the idea of aging to perfection.