Aaargh – the horrors of technology! – Couldn’t remember how to write a new post this evening and panicked. It felt as if I’d locked myself out of my home with my babies inside. Now that the door is open and we’re back inside, let me introduce you to this week’s offspring: Age, and all the arguable strengths and weaknesses that come with it.

Age is central to this blog – not old age, just age, the stage one’s at. I’ve always found it ridiculous how we fuss about getting older, as if anyone were immune, or there were any alternative other than kicking the bucket.

One of my oldest friends – sorry, longest-known friends – has been lying about her age since she was 35, absolutely convinced that if anyone knew the truth they wouldn’t hire her, or date her, or trust her judgement. She blamed my cavalier attitude on the fact that I’m a year or two younger (we’ve evaded the subject for so many years now, I can’t remember which it is), but I’m almost 24 past that dreaded 35, and look, You still-beautiful woman: I’m making a song and dance – or at least a blog – about it!

I admit aging can slow one down till it feels as if the world is rushing ahead, passing us by, and leaving us choking in its dust and inhaling its exhaust fumes. I think that’s the simple physiological reason why so many older people declare that everything is getting worse – from politics to education, to movies, and friendship, and the beach. Objectively, you can make a case for pollution and overcrowding, but just about everything else has its ups and downs, and different sides. What makes them so much more jaded than the young, and so whiney about the degenerate/alienated/cheapened present, I think, is not so much rational observation as calcifying perception. And that’s what I’d like to counteract in myself.

I want to maintain hopefulness, and delight in what’s new, and curiosity. Like the brilliant Barrie Stavis, who was still writing new plays when he died at the age of 100. Or Betty Levin, Essex Ethical Culture’s most passionate promoter, starting new peace programs in her mid-80s.

Not that there aren’t changes to be welcomed in getting older. I like not having to wash my hair as often because it doesn’t get as oily, or shave my legs as often because  – well, no need to go into that – and I’m grateful to be long past adolescent angst where identity seemed to toggle wildly from day to day. I’m grateful for being past what came later – the torments about pregnancy and whether one would or wouldn’t have a child. I’m delighted to have accumulated friends, and delicious memories, and some treasured possessions. I can’t think of any skills I’ve acquired, but most people probably can. They know lots of recipes by heart, and can wield tools with almost automatic finesse, and maybe speak additional languages. But I can claim this: I have perspective I can share with the young when they care to listen – and even when they don’t.

But what I don’t want is to have that perspective set in stone, or my tastes, or my expectations.  Uncertainty is cool!

ImageP.S. G might be losing faith…His advice this morning: “I just read about a chair-yoga class, You should try it!” … It’s an excellent class, taught by a friend of ours, but shouldn’t I still be trying for chairless yoga at this point?

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