Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dedicated To My Friend Nicki

For a few years I have constantly found myself complaining about aging. Every time I looked into the mirror I found a woman with new wrinkles by the day. I find myself experiencing more aches and pains, and when the Dentist decided to remove a couple of my teeth and tell me I would need a partial denture I thought it was the end of the world. Then towards the end of last year I had the most unique pleasure of finding and old classmate from High Shool on Facebook. I remembered Nicki well from the old days because she would often sit in front of me in the classroom, and when I saw her Facebook profile photo I noted and was amazed how young she looked, and at the same time why I had aged and she hadn't. I was able to contact Nicki and sent a message which she responded to so quickly, and thus we struck up the most pleasurable friendship. We have been e-mailing back and forth together and I did mention to Nicki on a couple of occasions after she had shared some additional photos..." I wonder why I have aged and you haven't." It was through this special relationship we have developed that made me realize about myself that aging can be a beautiful experience, and that even though my wrinkles and other signs of aging are very visible to me, that no matter how old one is, it is never too late to make new friends. It was actually a life changing experience for me as I came to this notion. Now when I look in the mirror I am not looking for the latest aging signs but rather I look at myself as a whole person regardless of my age with so much love to share no matter how much more or how little time I might have left on this earth. I also realized that friendship with family members and other friends can make you feel young and alive forever, so it is not whether one has wrinkles, aches and pains or not, but it is in the friendships that we share that makes us whole.
Subsequently I came across the following little story just recently that I thought I would post. I could not have said it better myself.

Thank you Nicki for your love and friendship.

Love and Hugs From Patti

Old age, I decided, is a gift. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body - the wrinkles, the baggy eyes and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror, but I don't agonize over those things for long.
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 more kind 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 overeat, 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 until 4:00 am and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50s & 60s, 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 bikini set. They, too, will get old.
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 lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when a beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. I can say "no" and mean it. I can say "yes" and mean it. 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.
So, to answer your question, 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 about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day.

~Author Unknown

1 comment:

Nicki said...

Oh Patti, I am so touched and flattered. You are such a sweetheart and I love the way you write. You are so correct, we have earned the right to love ourselves now. All the years may have taken a toll physically but as you said...it is all well worth it. We've loved, learned, laughed, cried, we've given of ourselves and taken, made new friends (or renewed old friendships,like you, Patti) and lost dear friends. All this adds up the people we have become and are proud to be. I am so pleased and blessed to have you in my life now at a time when we can truly appreciate each other. Also agree 100% with your anonymous writer...we can enjoy dessert every day now...no guilt. With love and aloha, Nicki