Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Aging gracefully

I was driving to my office the other morning: maybe it was 7:30, cool, not much traffic on the route, and not too many people. I saw a scene, in my opinion, that captured the essence of living life with grace and style.

As I sat at the stoplight, two women, each in very different stages in their lives, crossed in front of me. One, a young woman in her early 20's, wearing tight running shorts and a hoodie, brunette hair in a ponytail, was jogging across the street. Actually, it was more like prancing: her knees high on each step, but not a lot of speed in her gallop. In the parallel crosswalk, on the opposite side of the street, was an older woman in her late 60-somethings. Wearing a full sweatsuit, her silver-grey hair styled short, she was walking comfortably; a gentle saunter, at most. As each woman reached the corner, she stopped and waited for the light to change: the younger one checking her pulse, the older one enjoying the sights on the street. After the light changed, they both, in their very separate styles, passed each other in the same crosswalk. The young woman raised her hand in a high-five and the older woman smiled. I wondered if they met each other this way every morning. Each continued on her way. The light had changed to green and I accelerated through the intersection, thinking about the contrasts between the women and the lessons of the scene.

We all have choices to make as we grow older: will our lives, indeed our worlds, become smaller--or larger? Will we adjust to the changes, bringing our own personal style to each stage of life--or will we resist? Will our spirit soar with each new time in our life--or will we allow our spirit to be crushed by our need to hold on feverishly to what was, to who we once were, or to who we thought we would be? Maybe, just maybe, choosing to do what we can to stay healthy, alert, connected, and truly alive might be the key to living life gracefully? Just a thought.

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