Reflections on Aging

When we are children we are so excited each year for another birthday. We are always telling people how old we are.

We even embrace those half years.  Who has not heard a child proudly announce while smiling broadly, “I am 4 and ½ years old.”  Then we get into our teen years and we excitedly count down the days until we are old enough to get our driver’s licenses.

We embrace turning 18 because we are finally a “legal adult” or so we think at the time. And then it is the excited march to our 21st birthday and the legal drinking age.

After our 21st birthday, something interesting starts happening.  While most people in their 20s and 30s are not upset about their ages, there just aren’t any important milestones to reach anymore.

Then as we march toward our 40th birthday most people, especially women, begin to get cagey and will not tell us how old they are.  I remember vividly when my friends started turning 40; how we all joked that we were “over the hill.”  Now as I look into the faces of my friends and some of my patients who are in their 70’s and 80’s, I can’t help but wonder what hill exactly we thought we were going over back then?

I have never worried about my age.  I have always proudly told everyone how old I am.  We only have two options:  getting older or not.  Getting older does not seem so bad when compared to its only alternative!

So I challenge all of you to embrace the age you are at currently and look forward to getting older.  Yes we slow down and everything starts to hurt and we cannot do all the things we use to be able to do, but in its place we have memories.  We have all our accomplishments and even our failures.  We have a lifetime of joy and sorrow and family and friends.  We have the work we did and still have yet to do.  We have the memories of the vacations we took and those we still plan to take.  Create your “bucket list” and start checking things off.  It is never too late for the adventure of a lifetime.  Your lifetime is what you make of it.

Time is our most precious commodity.  It is the only thing we cannot get back when it is lost.  It is not something we can buy more of and, let’s face it; none of us really knows how much of it we have.  So embrace each day of this precious life we have.  Find something to be joyful and blessed about in every moment.  We all touch lives and have our lives touched by the people we meet along the way.  Life is a journey to be embraced and enjoyed, no matter where you are along the path.

~ Melissa V. Sirola, RN, MSN, MBA