Young At Heart What are your thoughts on aging?
“Youth. I don’t seek it through another because I have it within; it’s a state of mind, a spirit that is free, and a mind that is playful. The shell of my being is altered by the effects of time, but nothing will tarnish a soul that will never forget what its like to experience creation with endless wonder and appreciation.” ― Donna Hope
The perfect middle of a splendid November afternoon. The flood of sunlight has began to ebb, the air feels cool, fresh and a little chilly. The shadows are long upon the smooth dense turf and lengthen slowly. The shadows on the perfect lawn are not that straight but angular; they are the shadow of my mother-in-law sitting on an old-fashioned garden chair. From the doorway I watch her. Her hair is as light as milkweed fluff has gone from the dark shade of black to white. It is pulled up with a black hairpin. From this angle her face is obscured by the cotton hat. She sits with a newspaper on her lap. Occasionally she raises her eyes to look at the pretty dark pink and red roses of the garden than lowers them to the newspaper. I walk closer to her chair. “ Hi, mom!” She turns her head slowly,her eyebrows lifted.She could not believe her eyes to see me suddenly after so many years. She makes an attempt to rise, she leans forward,she nods her head in disbelief then bounces off from the chair. She hugs me and begins to ask me series of questions in a thrilling voice; each speech is an arrangement of special notes.
I look at her. She is almost ninety years old; still strong, and sharp.The lines around her mouth are overshadowed by pleasant and angelic smile. Her large bright deep brown eyes overflow with kindness. We touch on lots of topics; on kids, on work… Our laughter mingle and fill the house.
She has a wonderful routine. Every morning around five she does the deep breathing exercise,lots of stretching and meditation. She makes sure to donate either her time or extra money to the needy all the time. Every night before bed she sits on a chair and writes the diary and a gratitude journal and her memory as strong as a young . I stay with her a few days.
It happens for the first time on a Sunday morning in December just before my last birthday. I stand in front of the brightly lighted rectangle mirror in the powder room. After the shower as I apply the cream to the face something strange catches my eyes. “ Wow!” I lean forward towards the mirror then taken aback by the reflection; there are small lines at the corner of my eyes, two deep lines around the lip, a few tiny light brown spots here and there on the face. I glance more closely. Even the hairline has changed; they are wavy but not so thick as before,grey hairs start to emerge from different sides of the head. I nod in disbelief. When did these changes happen?? The bold promises of the giant beauty care industries suddenly overpower my thoughts; Antiaging serum, Retinol, Collagen injections, chemical peel, laser resurfacing, wrinkle fillers…
Sunday afternoon. I sit with a cup of Darjeeling tea in the fading warmth of the filtered afternoon sun spilling through the kitchen window. My German shepherd dog drapes over my feet. I keep fidgeting crossing one leg and then the other. I put the teacup down on the table,lace my fingers together on my lap. I trod over deeper into the outer ring of oldness. If I can hold my youth a couple more years. I blink rapidly and sigh! The dog sighs too, she understands me pretty well. Suddenly my mother-in-law’s face flashes in my head. I have never seen worries or anxiety in her, not a bit! She does not care about the physical beauty but only the inner beauty. People enjoy and cling to her love and affection.There is always an air of calmness surrounds her. I sit straight. I cup my chin in one hand.
“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by moments that take our breath away.”
A smile break through the gravity. Old age is a gift and I have decided to shift my perspective.
Bring your attention towards greater self-awareness through simple actions such as meditations, journal writing, walking in nature.
build new habits, challenge your brain with new learning; writing, sketching, gardening.
-Eat healthy and exercise daily.
– Do something adventurous.
laugh more often.
– Volunteer your free time.