One good thing about being on the downslope of life is that after so many years of living, it’s easier to take some things in stride, such as the weather. I wasn’t able to be out in the warm afternoons the past couple of days, and yet as lovely as it would have been to go walking and enjoy the sun, I had other things I had to do. I consoled myself with thoughts of other such days because the truth is, they will come again.
First, of course, will be another spate of winter weather, and that too, is inevitable. Weather, especially weather in Colorado, is ever changing. I remember one year in my childhood when Christmas was sunny and warm enough that we were able to play outside without wearing coats or even sweaters. That Easter, it snowed, so I couldn’t wear my new Easter hat and shoes. (If I remember correctly, Easter was when I got new shoes for church. September was when I got new shoes for school, and if the old shoes still fit, they were relegated to play shoes.) Some years were like that. Other years, we were inundated with snow at Christmas and sweltering heat at Easter.
Something that doesn’t change with the years is . . . years. They keep adding up. Unlike weather, one’s age doesn’t go up and down, though health and feelings of well-being do fluctuate. But even those fluctuations are easy to take in stride because . . . well, because that’s life. That sense of the inevitability of aging seems to disappear when one is truly aged. I remember my father wondering when he will get “better.” He didn’t seem to understand that he wasn’t sick; he was old. And he wasn’t the only old elderly person I’ve encountered who had that same mindset of needing to get better; it seems quite common. (I use the seemingly redundant term “old elderly” because “elderly” covers a vast range of ages from a relatively youthful elderly age of seventy to an extremely old elderly age of close to one hundred.)
It’s hard to know, of course, what I will be like at that age, but I suppose I will lose my sense of taking things in stride and become as querulous as so many other nonagenarians.
But I’m not there yet. For now, it feels good to be able to take life as it comes, knowing that for every down there is an up and, unfortunately, for every up, there will come a down. Nothing lasts.
I remember as a child thinking that it would be eons before I ever grew up, and yet, here I am, eons beyond childhood. At least, it feels like eons. The actual number of years falls somewhat short of an eon.
For now, I am grateful I can take such changes in stride and oddly, for today anyway, I am content to be on the downslope of my life.
This is an old photo because although I might figuratively be on a downslope, literally I live on flat prairie land with not a slope anywhere in sight.
Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.