This morning on Facebook, I had a request from someone young enough to be my granddaughter. Looking at the provocative picture, I wondered why someone that young wanted to be a “Friend” of an old man.
Dilutions About Aging
Could she be interested in the topics I write about? Maybe she wanted to have a conversation about coping with cancer or understanding how those with dementia have problems processing information.
Maybe she wished to learn from my experiences and wanted to apply them to her life. Possibly the scanty blouse she wore while bending down was the only piece of clean clothing she had, and the revealing position was necessary to get the best lighting for the photograph.
Before accepting her invitation to be a “Friend,” I looked at the people who were her friends. Hundreds of them. Strangely, the pictures were only of aging men a bit younger or older than me (78 yrs. old), but no one was even close to her age. Needless to say, I didn’t “friend” her.”
Accepting the Aging Process
As we age, self-image becomes so important that delusions are as natural as constipation. We look back to who we were and think of ourselves as that same person, despite a dramatically receding hairline, inability to see our shoes, or nodding even when we don’t understand so not to admit we have a hearing loss.
Our need to stop the aging process takes the form of inappropriate relationships, nips and tucks, pretending we’re enjoying activities that are taxing our physical abilities, and looking into a mirror and seeing a smooth face.
We relegate aging to a corner hidden from our consciousness and hope it will go away as does an annoying relative. Aging is as much a part of living as is birth and death. Pretending it doesn’t exist or it has little influence on our lives is a prescription for problems.
Aging is not inherently good or bad; it just IS. We can try to run away from it with the help of entrepreneurs who offer magic potions—often masquerading as someone young enough to be our grandchildren—or we can get on with the business of living and the joy of accepting our identity as an older person.