Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Gold of Friendship

First, I'd like to congratulate my friend Lisa Childs on her upcoming October book, Always a Bride, and the Romantic Times Top Pick review! Always a Bride is the fourth and final book of her Wedding Party series for Harlequin American. And what a great series!

Today is my best friend's birthday. She will now be caught up with me, number-wise. After the age of thirty, birthdays become more of a nuisance than anything, reminding us that youth has been left far behind with bodies that were once more agile and less wrinkle-free than now. Sooner than we expect it, we hit the big 5-0 and then quickly move to the even bigger 6-0. Don't ask me why they're bigger. No one really cares after 30 anyway.

But with age comes wisdom. The mind stays alert, and we're still able to learn new things. We have the advantage of having learned from our mistakes, and even though mistakes can and will be made, they're fewer and less major. We don't tend to risk as much, and we expect people to accept us for who we are. Yes, even our family.

Another friend (Kathie DeNosky) sent me the following, and I'd like to share it. No matter what your age, whether perky 20's or the golden years of later, it says it all.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother/father!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less grey hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend.

I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with ageing.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love .. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when some body's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, I don't mind being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, GAIL! (And to Dr. Steve, too!)

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