“There’s always another level up. There’s always ascension. More grace, more light, more generosity, more compassion, more to shed, more to grow.” – Elizabeth Gilbert.
I woke up this morning feeling blah… still contemplating on my next move. Should I move back to the states and live with one of my girls where I can age gracefully. Or stay here because it is the place of my birth. One thing for sure, I am going to die. For the past five years I’ve been in denial. I need to accept that I have a lot of my mother’s and my father and his ancestors’ cells running inside my body screaming in pain because of aging. Denial is the simplest and most direct of all our defense mechanisms. We refuse to acknowledge it. We don’t want to look at it. We don’t even want to discuss it. John, the Revelator, writes in his first letter Chapter 1 – “If we say we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” So I’m facing the truth.
We have to start rethinking what it means to age with dignity and independence rather than institutionalization and isolation. Like the haves and the have nots, when it comes to post 50s, its those who are aging and those who are aging gracefully. You know the lucky ones who seem to be getting better and better with each passing year like a fine wine while some are just learning by trial and error. Everyone is physically aging like the river of no return but, we can age gracefully.
The students of the School of Hard Knocks aren’t aging better, they’re aging smarter. We all grow old but we can all grow smarter through social process. My mother used to call me on Saturday mornings to visit with her. We talked about family values, her relatives and not to forget my father’s relatives. We sang together. She read her Bible and discussed it with me. I told her my version of Beab ma Rekung… and we would laugh. She asked me a lot of things about my life as an adult and I would share with her. And she shared her life as a young wife and mother. When she was 86, I was 59. I was physically declining as well. We were two old women having lunch on Saturday afternoons, telling stories [with no sign of dementia].
Sometimes I wish I had a land so I can donate it to aging smarter. I dream of a home, maybe five homes; with three or four bedrooms with separate bathrooms, (old folks need their privacy) spread out in Palau for aging smarter and those who are physically challenged in that age group. They can have dinner together and shoot the breeze, down memory lane. A weekly younger visitor to revitalize their minds and talk about anything and everything, learn something new from each other. The old learn from the young. The young learn from the old. And develop a new tradition to grow smarter. Not everyone wants to mengaus a tet… and not everyone enjoy eating cold lunch alone.
Most of my writing is about growing smarter because I truly believe in it. I don’t want to die bitter and resentful and feeling empty. I want to die full of life, with a gusto… like riding on a Harley, going full speed, and sliding home with all the scratches, scars, and broken bones. And shout, “Hey, Mary, I’m home!” [/restrict]