Getting Older ~ Getting Better

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks!

Turning sixty almost two years ago was difficult for me. As I reflect on the time that has past since that milestone birthday, I am ashamed I had such a concern. It feels good to realize I am definitely more accepting and appreciative of the “gift of time” my Heavenly Father has allowed. My daily prayer is that I treasure each and every day I am given.

I found the following passage and it almost perfectly reflects both where I am headed as well as hits a few points I have already reached in my life.  (In spite of much searching, I cannot find the author.)

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    “Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

     The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, he was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let him know. 

     I have decided 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 avant-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 or play on the computer until 4 am, and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of my youth, 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

Cranky, Grumpy

People of all ages can be cranky from babies to old people.

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We all get grumpy and there are times when being grumpy or cranky is understandable.  For example, an incompetent waiter, or an unusually long and unexpected wait at an appointment or restaurant.  Maybe it is the clerk who won’t stop chatting to the person in front of you while you are in line at the grocery store when you are in a hurry to get on with your day.  Hot flashes, car trouble, not talking to a real person on the telephone when I have a question or need help, and short green lights are a few things that are triggers to my “cranky side”.

Sometimes, if someone accuses you of being grumpy it can make you even grumpier!

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Even though there are many things that make can make you feel cranky, a lot of us are able to get over it and get on with our generally happier, more content selves.

But some people seem to be in a constant bad mood. Nothing seems to make them happy.  The slightest things can throw them into full grouch-mode. The thing is, they don’t get over it.

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Getting them to even smile is a monumental task!

I usually can’t tell when they are being funny because the typical cues such as a mischievous twinkle in their eye or the lips curling slightly into a grin just aren’t there.

Perhaps some of these folks were just born with this type of personality.

If it is an older adult maybe this is their way of saying/demonstrating they don’t like being old.  In their defense, I am beginning to see how frustrating and frightening it is to realize your body and mind are declining.  But still!!!!!

After personally knowing some cranky people, and encounters with grumpy strangers, I decided many years ago that I am NOT going to be one of them.

Sometimes, I admit, they can be entertaining.  But mostly, they are unpleasant to be around.

I wish I could tell them to just stop and listen to themselves.  What you say can have such a profound effect on others and it is all in the delivery. Our words are among the greatest tools we humans possess. Stop for a moment and simply think about the words you say and (the key point here is) then how you say them.

It takes such little effort to be both positive and sincere.  If these cranky grumps could only realize that by making others happy and being pleasant to be around, their own happiness could greatly improve.  And (hopefully) in the process, become less cranky!!

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You’ve had the power all along, my dear” Glinda,the good witch (The Wizard of Oz)

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are.”  J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets)