Leave it to millions that will chronicle Jonas’ impact…
For the past nine months I’ve been focused, in not so much a conscious way, yet not super subconscious either, on my physical self. Take my wrinkles, for example. Many times weekly, perhaps daily, I mention I have wrinkles. Although I don’t think I’m complaining about having them, I clearly seem obsessed. Folks tell me not to worry because I look fine, wrinkles and all.
Not seeking attention, I simply find myself almost fascinated by them. It’s not that I never noticed them before, they just are glaring to me. They’re deep, some of them, and I run my fingers over them. To borrow from a wise and astute woman, “My wrinkles are the trophies I possess for having lived a long and glorious life.” Or something to that effect. So, yes, I have oodles of trophies, I suppose.
When I see an older person who has, say, aged well, I compare my face to theirs. Guided by a twelve step program to only ‘compare myself to myself,’ I realize I’m breaking a rule of sorts. It’s not with sadness or disdain or any form of self-deprecation I do this. I just do it. I say, that’s what I will look like when I’m their age and I’m done with it. Or am I? Next person I see with wrinkles lining their face like a road map, there I am repeating the same words. Time and again.
One of the reasons I say I’m not put off by aging is I have a family member, female, an octogenarian, who reminds me constantly to ‘not get old.’ People joke: It’s better than the alternative. This woman means it; stands behind her words. She regards aging as a curse. It’s a sentence of sorts and she wants no part of it. Granted, she now has physical ailments that accompany being in an eighty-something body. Yet, this began when she reached age fifty when she was basically robust and had nary a wrinkle to speak of.
If you haven’t guessed, I am celebrating a birthday in less than a week. I pray I’m not in denial. That I look forward to growing old. There are enough aches and pains to remind me I’m no spring chicken; I walk with a limp, many times using my cane for balance. My skin sags and the places I’m overweight aren’t flattering. My memory is certainly not as keen as it could be. My great nieces and nephews are growing taller by the minute reminding me time is flying by.
Not cursed. Proud. Grateful. For having weathered the years with triumph and dignity. Fought hard to survive and this face, this body, are an example. In my teens I suffered so, literally fearing I’d not live to see age twenty. Here I am blowing my own horn. Playing not taps but reveille. If I had cause to march I would. At least I’d hobble along or ride in a van taking in all the parade would offer.