A is for Aging Gracefully

Aunt Katherine

Tomorrow my Great Aunt Katherine will be 102 years old. I had the pleasure of spending part of Mother’s Day weekend with her and it was pretty darn inspiring. Aunt Katherine has always been one of those people who is just awesome to know. She is the oldest of five children, a mom, a grandma, a writer, and a retired teacher. She’s a strong, wonderful woman.

At this amazing age her hearing is a little shabby, but hearing aids and the occasional raised voice help greatly. Her sight is fading as well, but she can still see well enough to have recognized me from across a table even though it had been at least fifteen years since we’d last met face to face. Her mind, sense of humor, and her infectious grin are still right there and despite a few extra wrinkles, she looks the same as I remember her looking.

Aunt Katherine’s surviving “baby” brothers aren’t lacking in the aging department either. My grandpa is 96 years old, and my Great Uncle Lew is 90. To see the two of them over the weekend with their big sister was quite a treat. The “boys” fell right into Little Brother Mode telling stories about Aunt Katherine with giggles while she shared a few gems with us about them too.

When it comes to aging people seem so quick to try and cover up their age, lie about it, or create clever ways to present their true age. “I’m celebrating my 12th anniversary of my 21st birthday…” But I say, be proud of your age. CELEBRATE when your birthday comes around each year! Of course there are going to be things you’d wish you’d done by a certain age and never accomplished, but at least you’re still here and still have time to try!

I’m going to be 35 this year and I can admit to having a few moments of impending doom when thinking about this milestone I’m about to hit. It’s very easy to sit back and list every little thing I haven’t done yet. No kids, no spouse, no real career, still not a published author… the list could go on for ages. But what I’ve decided is that it’s not the things that I haven’t done that matter. There’s still time to do more and be more, but I should be proud of what I’ve done thus far! I can be proud of the Me that I am right now at this moment and look forward to the Me I’ll be one day.

In less than five months this year I’ve read twenty-one books, knit a baby blanket, gone to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, stepped out of my comfort zone more than a few times, learned new embroidery skills, worked on a novel, made people smile and giggle, created a logo for a friend’s event, supported family and friends, booked a cruise with people I’ve never met in person, played countless hours of make believe with The Doodlebutt, and given countless hugs. These are all things to be proud of and yet it’s not even close to a being a complete list of things I’ve done since the year began. It’s time to be proud of my accomplishments instead of pointing out the things I’ve “failed” at. Yeah, I have a job that I can’t particularly stand and it drives me nuts on a regular basis… but you know what? I HAVE a job! No, I’m not perfect… in fact I’m pleasantly imperfect, and just like my Great Aunt Katherine, I too plan to age gracefully.

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