June 9, 2011 is my 60th birthday. I am tickled. I plan to celebrate with friends and family all month long. When I tell people this, some (sadly mostly women) groan and murmur something about getting older and how awful it is that we are no longer as thin, and perhaps as attractive, as we once were. But this is not now, and never has been, my frame of mind. Truly there are situations, such as deteriorating health, that make it difficult to enjoy aging. And I do not mean to criticize anyone’s attitude on this issue, regardless of health status.
I refer to the obsession with youth and false definitions of worth that have infiltrated and infested our culture. Folks, I am here to tell you I have known many people, who have supported my belief that aging is a gift we are given for ourselves and others around us. It is not possible to believe this unless we can let go of vanity and the external, fickle, and commercial images our world presents about what is vital, sexy, and worthwhile in life.
I learned this from one woman in particular. I want to always take time to appreciate this lovely woman and honor her for sharing her life, her wisdom, and her aging process with me. I am richer on so many levels for having known her. She taught me how to live this life that has been given to me with gratitude and to share my gifts with others, even as I grow older.
Copyright June 2011
Laura L. Padgett
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