My dad often described feeling young inside despite being wrapped in an aging and ill body. His still youthful, open mind seemed unusual to me. I had seen many older folks who seemed always to be angry and willing to place the blame for that anger on others. Perhaps their bitterness and stubbornness was born of resentments never assuaged. They did not seem to understand that the power to accept and change their emotions rested solely inside themselves.
Yesterday I met a man in his nineties whose demeanor reminded me that happiness in our later years depends on our ability to maintain a young, open mind, and to allow the wisdom of a lifetime of experiences to infirm that mind. Though in pain, and often isolated, he displayed a ready smile, a soft voice, and projected happiness. I was impressed and inspired by this man’s joy in the face of adversity.
Though in spirit, I still see myself as capable of the physical feats of my past years, my body is incapable and unwilling. As often happens, yesterday I was forced to ask for help from someone physically more able than I. Each time this happens, I feel an unexpected blow to the person I have long thought myself to be. I aspire to be able to take this in stride and to be less apologetic, instead accepting help with the grace and wisdom of my years, despite the young person inside me struggling to escape.
At the end of a long, hot, difficult day, I returned home to glimpse a woman standing by my desk. She appeared to be experiencing some internal struggle, maybe pondering who she will be as she continues to age. I wondered who is that old woman in the mirror?