Sunday, January 15, 2012

2012.01.15 Advantages of Aging: Liberation and Grace

I don’t think this is what Martin Luther King Jr. had in mind. He had grander ideas thank heavens.

However, I’ve discovered an advantage to aging besides retirement and wearing purple, which I do anyway. Such a regal color for a Leo!

Don’t mean to offend but....... When you’re old you can fart, belch, swear, and interrupt all you want, ask dumb questions, repeat yourself, forget, forget and forget, even if you don’t, and otherwise act like a damn fool. You can even say the F word then feign dementia.

You’re free of inhibitions, if you so choose. All this will happen anyway so why not take advantage of it ahead of time?

People will just nod and attribute your crudery to your age. They will indulge you and smile wisely, and even envy you your refusal to be embarrassed. And in a few years they too will enjoy this marvelous freedom without shame.

Once when my mother was in her 80s she lost control of her bowels. It was a new experience for her—and me. We had returned from a visit to the ER after having her checked out from a fall. It was 3 a.m. I went ahead to open the door for her and heard her calling “I’m going.” “Where?”I said never imagining the truth.

That’s how invasive this trauma was for us both. We got through the clean up and getting to bed together with as much tenderness as we each could muster and, mercifully, no words at all, either of shame or scorn.

The grace in this is that you won’t be judged any more than a child would at the other end of the lifespan trajectory. So please don’t judge yourself either.

Shit happens and so does grace.

That night I almost wanted to read her a story, tuck her in, and say prayer—but settled for a kiss and “Sleep well Mom. See you tomorrow.”


JLC said...

In today's retirement communities, you might find your attitude to be a problem. I've lived in one for nearly 14 years. I'm not sure enough of us (I'm in my 80th decade) feel free to take up your gauntlet. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad. I do applaud your implied rebellious backbone. Your posts are always refreshing.

Lyn G. Brakeman said...

Thanks JLC. My attitude is often a problem:) I hold out for bold more than rebellious. Also more than willing to change my perspective when I find myself in swaddling clothes.Bless your age and your own wisdom.