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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 sometimes 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,
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 avant-garde
 on my patio.

I am entitled to overeat,
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 aging.

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

I will dance with myself to
those wonderful tunes
of the 60'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 bikini 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 a 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 turn grey,
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.
I can say "no", and mean it.
I can say "yes", and mean it.

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, to answer your question,
I like 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.
but will continue
to rejoice in what was.

by © Natalie Bartlett
used with permission

¾¥¥¾

REMEMBER WHEN

Remember when
I was young and so were you
And time stood still and
love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and
then you cried
Remember when

Remember when
we vowed the vows
and walked the walk
Gave our hearts,
made the start, it was hard
We lived and learned,
life threw curves
There was joy, there was hurt
Remember when

Remember when
old ones died and new were born
And life was changed,
disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other's hearts
Remember when

Remember when
the sound of little feet
was the music
We danced to week to week
Brought back the love,
we found trust
Vowed we'd never give it up
Remember when

Remember when
thirty something seemed old
Now lookin' back,
it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are,
where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
Remember when

Remember when
we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up
and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when
Remember when
Remember when


"Remember When" by Alan Jackson


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Credit
I would like to thank my
friend Dee for the forwarding
of the above poem

Artwork by Tom Sierak

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Created January 11, 2006