Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Older and Wiser

What lies behind us and lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I used to have a problem with birthdays. Probably because inside me I still feel like I am my nephew's age, seventeen. When I talk to kids that age I actually feel like I am one of them. It never occurred to me that they look at me and think I am old enough to be their mom. In the past, this self revelation would have made me quite upset at the hands of time. But not anymore. After living in Cancerland since 2001, I finally get it. I am so happy I can rack up another birthday. I am here another year. Hot damn.

This bodes well for my new ambition in life. I used to dream of all sorts of things to aspire to....
having a house that I actually own; being able to do a triple salchow; spending an evening on the beach in front of Madam Marie's with a guy named Bruce; getting the NIH to triple their budget for breast cancer research; being the person who makes the medical decisions at my insurance company and teach them a new word: APPROVED; getting to the final four on Top Chef; finishing my second novel, etc. My new ambition, however, is one that makes me really excited. And I would give up all my other ones if I can achieve it.

I want to be an old lady.

I have two women on my street who are in their 90s, who are independent, still drive, still tend their gardens and have more style and elegance than anyone else in this entire county.
I want to become them. I love them. They are wonderful and I think I would make a good old lady. I was close to both my grandmothers and I would like to be a part of each of them. My father's mother was an avid gardener and loved to cook. She was in her mid 80s when she decided to plant these evergreen shrubs that were quiet small. She said, " In 4 or 5 years they will really fill in that spot and be beautiful."

My mother's mother was always on the go. She had so many activities she was involved with in Michigan. And she traveled to them all by bus or by walking because she never learned how to drive. When she was in her 80s she was still out in the harsh, Michigan winters going square dancing at the Senior Center. She had two very firm beliefs. One was that people only get old in Florida and she called it God's Waiting Room, and wanted no part of it. And, the other, her philosophy on the men that used to ask her to marry them at the Senior Center, "Why would I want to spend time taking care of an old man?"

Which leads me to the quote by dear Emerson. What I wished for in the past is no matter. What may happen in the future is not something I should be concerning myself with... it is what is inside me. What lies there is more important than what was or what may be. And I am going to make sure that I remember that the next time I get sentimental about a missed opportunity or get upset about some upcoming test. I will ask myself, what have I learned in all this time? What can I do with it? How can I grow?

This will lead to a better frame of mind which is something people living in Cancerland are absolutely required to have or they will drive themselves crazy. And a better frame of mind means better overall well being which leads to my goal: Oldladydom.

Hey, it took me a long time to get here!
I just turned 29 you know.


Jenster said...

Happy 29th!! :o)

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister! Being an old lady will really rock . . . I plan to keep all my funky outfits - leather and ripped jeans included - just to qualify as the cool grandma on the block. I just turned 40 in May (after just finding out I have triple-neg bc in April) and want to thank you not only for a truly touching blog entry concerning birthdays, but for SO MANY touching blog entries . . . as well as so much helpful info on your fabulous site. Bless you for doing this -- you are truly earning some big angel points! (And, as a Journalism graduate, I salute you for such a wonderful entry about Tim Russert -- he's one journalist that DID actually ask all the questions I wanted to ask myself. I will miss him so much.) All my best, Kim