Monday, May 01, 2006


THE GRACE OF ELDERHOOD


Time is kidding, of course; I'm not 65, except in mere years, or maybe when caught by surprise in the mirror, but then only in the morning or when I try to look serious about being my age, as in a passport photo. Tilt that head, crook that brow.

Otherwise I look just as I please and do just as I please, only more wisely, more richly now in every respect (excepting all-out gymnastics, which are more considerately done) than when I was a mere stripling unfamiliar with the wide, deep world I was racing through on my way to the life-richness I am presently savoring (sort of as fine wine in contrast to cherry coke).

At my new age it's a miracle to me that I am being afforded this grand perspective of life's shoreless ocean, while no longer needing to expend any of the outrageous physical costs I wantonly spent in the rush to get here. So impetuous an expenditure it was, in fact, that at this far retrospect I stand amazed by all that has carried me this far without a creaking joint to my name.

But then youth, in the nature of vigorous haste, always underlooks the full extent of life; the grace of elderhood is to perceive at last the full breadth and depth of life becoming.

6 comments:

Chancy said...

"the grace of elderhood is to perceive at last the full breadth and depth of life becoming."

Your finest sentence.

M Sinclair Stevens said...

I guess I'm feeling curmudgeonly, but the "elder/elderhood" terminology just grates. Would you have said, "But then youngerhood..."?

I love the sentiment, but what's wrong with saying "the grace of age"? If we abandon the word "age" to the ageist, then it will be left only with its negative connotations. Don't let the youngerhood turn age into a sneer. Say it loud. "I'm old and I'm proud!"

Pam said...

But "age" just sounds so happenstance. "Elderhood" has an air of dignity and prestige about it. And it contrasts nicely with childhood and adulthood.
Oooh, I'm looking forward to being done with adulthood and getting into elderhood. It sounds like more fun!

Pam said...

Not that I'm not having fun, mind you...

Joy Des Jardins said...

I am certainly NOT surprised that you don't have a creaking joint to your name....I somehow assumed that. I wish I could say the same. Beautiful piece Bob.

remora said...

Well it’s all right, even if you’re old and grey
Well it’s all right, you still got something to say
Well it’s all right, remember to live and let live
Well it’s all right, the best you can do is forgive
(Travelling Wilburys)