This morning, while partaking in the hotel’s complimentary breakfast, a group of well-traveled mature women spoke lively about a dance party they were planning. The next thing we unsuspecting guest knew, these women burst into “I’ve Got Rhythm,” by George and Ira Gershwin. As the ladies waxed nostalgic for the golden era of film, they added to their medley additional tunes by the Gershwin bros and My Fair Lady.
As the curtain closed on this impromptu amateur performance, I approached the diverse group of dames to thank them for their serenade. At this point, one woman began to croon “Summertime,” and I cautiously joined along. This image-conjuring tune from Porgy & Bess is certainly a favorite song of mine, but I had not planned on performing in a minstrel show when I woke up this morning. I returned to my seat at the communal table and finished my coffee and toast.
This sunny Saturday also lead me to a social media post by one of my favorite professors, writer Sonya Huber. She spoke about the joys of being middle aged, how much she now likes herself and appreciates the skin she’s in at 45 years young.
My former Creative Nonfiction instructor and the random singing women really made my heart quite glad this morning. In a society where people, especially women, are fed mixed messages of longevity and anti-ageing, it is refreshing to encounter women who are excited about their age and enjoy the lives they lead, no matter — or perhaps because of — the numerical value they have earned.
This year I will be 32. In my twenties, I always looked forward to turning 30, despite friends, strangers, and talkshow hosts who claimed that my 30th birthday would mark the beginning of my end. Now that I am have settled comfortably beyond quarterlife, I cannot wait for the big 3-2.
While this is not a milestone birthday for most, it is one I have looked forward to for awhile. This age, to me, signifies adulthood. Not 18. Not 21. Thirty-two. I suppose once I realized that life exists beyond 25, I decided that 32 would be my age of content. I envisioned this number opening me up to a new era of appreciation for everything and everyone in my life, acceptance of all my quirks and my supposed flaws, and actualization of my true purposes in life.
Once I realized that life exists beyond 25, I decided that 32 would be my age of content.
Very few people in life aspire to die young. Many of us want to live as long as we possibly can, investing in all kinds of life-extending treatments and age-defying regimes. The very young cannot wait to reach the next landmark birthday. The very old yearn for a bygone era. Everyone wants to live forever but no one wants to age.
Everyone wants to live forever but no one wants to age.
But what would happen if we all embraced our age at every age? What would society look like if we relished in our wrinkles, delighted in our dentures, and gave gratitude for our gray hairs?
How much more fulfilled would our lives be if we all knew how blessed we are to have survived so many days on this planet? How much more excited would we be to wake up every morning with the audacity to enjoy our lives without fear and the intent to make the world a better place for future generations?
Getting older is unavoidable. While it is important that we take care of ourselves so we can enjoy the best possible quality of life, let’s stop weighing down our hearts and minds with the self-inflicted horrors of the inevitability of age. Let’s all just live. One yearone day, one glorious moment at a time.