Today is my birthday, and I have a birthday wish for you:
Really. I truly hope that you get old. Really old. Worn out, used up, wrinkled-and-wise old.
Lately I've noticed a lot of people my age and older turn to those who are much younger and admonish, "Don't get old!"
I know it isn't meant literally — that would be heartbreaking. It is people's gentle and humorous way of letting off steam about their aching joints, their occasional memory lapses, synapses that have lost their rapid fire and muscles that motor way more slowly than they used to. It's happening to me, too. I get it.
But I want to get OLD! And I want that for my husband, my siblings, my children, and their children and my friends. What a gift that is — a gift denied to so many.
There's no denying that with age comes loss. But then again, youth has its own challenges. If you're lucky enough to get old, that means you've learned and survived. If you're old, you have gained far more than you lost. And the bottom line is that your exit from this earth is completely out of your control anyway.
So my present to myself this year is to strive harder to be present. What a gift that would be! I want to savor every moment with the people I hold dear and connect deeply with people so they become dear. I want to recognize life's challenges for what they are — momentary pain that provide opportunities for a little humility and personal growth. I want to immerse myself in love and gratitude.
I want to get old.
When I blow out my birthday candles, I will wish that for you, too. I will wish for you a rich life filled with sparkling, mindful moments.
And I will hold the vision of you and I getting old. Really, really old.