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Posts Tagged ‘aging’

A Poem about Aging

You Will Know the Time

copyright 2010 Sharon Niederman

You know you are getting old when
You trip on a sidewalk crack
Walk head down, afraid to fall again
Ache when you get out of bed
Drive with one arm on the wheel
Protecting your injury
You find the medium’s vision impossible
Too late now to move to the coast
Become an Olympic figure skater
Believe your forgiveness has healing power
There is no starting over
You stand at the vegetable counter
Debating the merits of baby spinach versus swiss chard
Out loud, for all to hear
Your ghosts stroll Central Avenue, coffee cups in hand
Homeless women you’ve handed so many dollars
Lovers whose love-making you’ve forgotten
But whose broken children you still carry
The seller of enlightenment recognizes you
You pretend to know him
Perhaps you do, after all.

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Aging Among Friends

Cher said there was nothing good about getting older. I respectfully disagree. I’m pushing 62, and every day I count my blessings, many times a day. The increasing sense of connection with nature and friends; the ability to walk away from anxiety and betrayal and put them away because I’ve lost a few battles and learned the best healing comes from moving on; the moving beyond the shoulds and guilts and fears and needs that were so powerful they ruled my life; all this could only come from experience, and the only way to get that is to grow older.

“Everything is a trade-off,” my 94 year-old friend Irma Bailey told me.With her fire-red hair and blue eyes, her “wear-it-all” attitude on turquoise and silver, she still looks great. And her sense of humor is percolating right along. OK. So strangers’ heads don’t turn when I walk into a restaurant – well, a few might, if I’m having a good hair day and I happen to be wearing my red cowboy boots. My audience is smaller, much more select. I don’t need to work so hard to dazzle. I don’t need to perform. I am developing, with the years, trust in my woman-womb-wisdom.

Whether teaching a writing workshop, conversing with a friend who could be my daughter, or walking a mountain trail with my dogs, I feel my connection to life, my emotions, my understanding, my actions and my words are increasingly coming from my gut. This is a delicious, only recently experienced sensation I cannot will, but can be open to receiving. Perhaps it is grace. Pondering and processing, taking endless trips inside my head, trying to explain the inexplicable are activities replaced by a beautiful bellyful of insight.

I grew up on the Jersey shore. The image of aging I see is a wave. When we are young, the tide is low. Every little riffle leaves behind sand to stamp a footprint in, build a castle, shells to pick up and collect. You can walk so far out there when it’s low tide. Then comes life, a big wave that catches you and smashes you into shore. You ride the wave and you are the wave. Then the tide goes out again, leaving the water smooth and perfect for taking a good long relaxing swim, when you can move at your own pace and no longer have to fight with all your strength to stay on course.

Look around. By now we know the members of our tribe, those with whom we continue to journey.  Age is the time to slow down and savor. May we continue to share and savor every delicious moment with our dear friends.

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