I have always had a preference for old people. Good thing since now I are one.
My mother had some sadness as she began to part with her youthful beauty. Ironically she never had to experience life as an aged specimen. Possibly it was my observation of her challenge that caused me to dwell on the advantages of becoming an elder.
The supremacies of aging are not well documented, and I fear we are losing ground without such wisdom. Consumed with “an unlined look” we wander pillar to post in search of an elixir to prove that we’ve never been touched by life. I say – chasing air, the neck is still there!
Enchanted by the grace of those who carry the stars and stripes of becoming, I seek conversation with folk who have been to the party. Most are way more interesting. They get it.
They appreciate the novelties of observing and learning from younger models. They are energized just by sitting with the zig and zag of new and fervent enterprise. The mental note of “been there done that” is celebration enough for them. Stories of one-upmanship are not necessary to their appropriately seated egos. Their absence of vanity is endearing as is the pleasure received by recreation in the way of new found respect.
There are some requirements to aging and gaining approval in the process. No whining, no taking to a corner in self pity, no dwelling on who looks the youngest.
A youthful attitude is a different piece of cake. And therein lies the absolute golden rule. Oh ye of crepey skin, life is for the living.
Simone de Beauvoir said “There is only one solution if old age is not to be an absurd parody of our former life and that is to go on pursing ends that give our existence a meaning – devotion to individuals, to groups, or to causes – social, political, intellectual, or creative work.”
One ticket to paradise.
For many years right here in our neighborhood, I’ve witnessed a Mr. J. B. Long, known lovingly as the Mayor of Rolling Fields. He would depart from his immaculate home each morning at fighting weight in his tailor-fitted trousers and shirt, with hat and cane, and then stroll the entire loop of our development which since 1950 has resisted the oversight of an association.
He managed his purpose of keeping the neighborhood connected in unexpected ways – often collecting sums of money: repair for neighborhood signs – flowers for shut-ins here – memorials for the recently departed there. He stopped and chatted with anyone in his path bringing news of the Rolling Fields brothers and sisters.
My point is that he found a heretofore unknown but crucial purpose and elevated the next door neighbor world. All the children knew him by name.
Which brings me to Ashcot Circle in Jackson, Mississippi. Meet Margaret Kellum (2) and Mrs. Nobels (95). They are neighbors and took a short walk together last week.
When my daughter sent me this photo, I knew something important had transpired. Possibly the world depends on such things.