Nothing about today was significant, except for the fact that on this day I would be going to see my hair stylist to tackle my faded dark brown hair that had now become like a mushroom with a white/grayish stem and a brownish top. Ugh, aging comes whether we want it to or not! On days like today, I reminisce about a time when my head full of luscious brown curls would flow over my shoulders without a need for coloring or styling — just raw, wild, and free! Ah, those were the days… but then, life happens and you are left with having to color your hair twice a month and use an extravagant amount of hair products to keep your thinning hair from falling.
I am going to be as candid as I can be: I don’t like the part of aging that takes away things or makes life a little more difficult. I mean, who does? Once you hit your mid-forties, your body begins to betray you (heard of menopause?). Also, your conversations strangely shift. Recently, I was chatting with a friend who is close to my age. Mid-sentence about our aches and pains and the ridiculous amount of meds we have to take, we looked at each other and began to laugh out loud at what has become normal everyday conversations for us. These are conversations we would’ve never had 20 years ago!
The thing about aging is that it is a process we have to go through in the circle of life. Science has made it possible to delay some of its effects with the wonderful development of amazing cosmetics making many of us look younger than our actual age. That is all good, but here’s something that I am loving about my current aging process — maturity. I know it sounds cliché, but as I look back at the first half of my life, I find myself coming up with better ways I could have handled certain situations in the past. Also, there are tasks I could have completed faster and more efficiently given the knowledge I have now. I definitely could have expressed my feelings better, and I definitely would have had more self-control and less drama in my life.
I am trying hard to live by a “no regrets” rule since my open heart surgery and moving forward with my current prognosis. I know it does me no good to go back and review mistakes I have made in the past. However, I often do that thing where I wish things would have turned out differently had I made better choices. Maybe not everyone does that, but I know I do. Thankfully, I continue to learn from my mistakes while saying to the old me, “You had your chance, now let’s make things better from here on out!” Somehow, that brings me comfort. You should try it sometime…
Friends, it does us no good to dwell on the past unless it is to reminisce about the wonderful things we have accomplished, or to revisit beautiful memories, and/or to thank God for such a wonderful life. The present offers us opportunities to do better, and even though time is of the essence for some of us, perhaps we can use it to make others’ lives more meaningful. My grays are stubborn and unfortunately here to stay. And although I am not ready to go full on gray (yet), I am looking at my life with understanding eyes (wiser ones, if you will).
Today, I embrace that I am, in fact, getting older, and that along with the grays and the hair loss, I am becoming a wiser person. I am no longer rushing into making decisions as I did in my younger years. But when I do make them, I stand by them bravely and fearlessly. I’m trusting more, becoming more courageous than I was before. I am spending more time understanding people rather than people watching, and I am marveling at how much I have yet to learn about life and myself. You’ve heard the saying, “Time stops for no one,” right? I want to encourage you to use your time wisely. You are not done living, regardless of aging, sickness, social or economic status.
For you, my friend who is suffering, aging, jobless, facing brokenness, an uncertain future, perhaps a terminal illness, or the end of a relationship among other things — how about we make these latter days better than the first? In my upcoming blogposts, I am going to share with you several stories of how I am doing just that. If I can do it, so can you!