This aging thing isn’t all bad

I’d like to discuss this aging thing with you, if you don’t mind.
For those of you not engaged in the process of deterioration, I suggest you quit reading right this minute and wander off to find something else to do.
For the rest of you, I pose this question: how did this happen?
I was going along minding my own business, playing hopscotch, a little dodge ball, crawling into Annie’s lap for a safe cuddle, leading my 4-H calf, admiring the superheroes, Doug and Blair, living down the road, riding my horse, listening to Jim and Billy play their guitars—all manner of good things.
I was fully engaged in laughter and fun when all of a sudden—bang. I woke up in this foreign land where my thumbs ache and refuse to open jars for me, where my abdominal muscles left for parts unknown (with no forwarding address), where my eyelids seem intent on heading for my chin, and my hands ache as though they have been through a war, which they may very well have.
Actually, a lot of me aches on a regular basis. Did I take a wrong turn?
Someone once said, and I know not who, that aging merely is enduring the passage of time without dying. Not exactly uplifting, I realize, but accurate nonetheless.
Why is it that I feel the same on the inside—the same version of myself from eons ago with just a hint more wisdom (hardly enough to notice) and a good helping of patience that I did without for the first several decades.
Otherwise, I feel the same, except my vision that no longer provides for reading without glasses and won’t read anything, glasses or not, when I first waken. I no longer actually leap from bed in the morning, in the physical sense, but I still do it mentally (or a reasonable facsimile thereof).
Why don’t I feel the aging on the inside, where I should feel like I’ve passed the test; have earned the status of “those who know.”
Albert Einstein is credited with saying, “I have reached an age when if someone tells me to wear socks, I don’t have to.” I suppose that’s an accomplishment worth aging for. I suppose. Maybe. Perhaps.
Two of my four daughters refused to wear matching socks from a young age onward, so perhaps they embraced the whole aging process with more of a willingness than me.
Remember William Wordsworth, the English poet who helped launch the Romantic Age in English literature. He died in 1850 but we learned his poetry in school, memorized it for some reason, to say aloud, to give proof that our brains were capable of remembering things.
And I had a good memory (please note the good memory is in the past tense).
My favourite Wordsworth poem was: I wandered lonely as a cloud; that floats on high o’er vales and hills; when all at once I saw a crowd; a host of golden daffodils.”
Don’t worry; I had to look it up. I used to be able to recite it without hesitation. Thanks, aging.
But Wordsworth said, “The wiser mind mourns less for what age takes away than what it leaves behind.”
I think that’s rather lovely. Maybe aging isn’t all bad.
wendistewart@live.ca

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