“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” — Lao Tzu
In the spirit Lao Tzu’s words, I have embraced the changes that’ve occured in my life. I guess the biggest change is the simplest and the one that happens to us all — getting older.
Back when I was a youngster, talking to boys involved asking what school they went to or what their favorite color was. But now, when I’m trying to strike up a conversation, I find myself talking about what’s going on in the news or with the weather. Or, what I used to call “old people stuff.” Since I now talk about that “old people stuff,” I have noticed that I have incorporated it much more thoroughly than I first realized.
The other day, I was chatting with a guy, and to my surprise, we were trading stories of how we have arthritis in our hands, backaches and even stomach issues. We talked about how we didn’t care that our cars weren’t new but were just happy that they were paid for. Then we discussed how brand-names didn’t matter anymore. We compared how often we do laundry, clean house and even traded recipes for potato salad — you know, the really important stuff.
Isn’t it funny how things change?
Honestly, I never thought I would be texting things like: “Isn’t this weather crazy … that’s Alabama weather for you.” Or: “I had to get up in the middle of the night five times last night.” Let me tell you, the company Depends never looked so good as when you wake up for the fifth time at 2 a.m.!
When I caught myself trading stories that began “back when I was in high school, kids didn’t …,” I knew it was absolutely true — I am getting older. These days, I’m really starting to feel my age. For several years, I thought “age is all on your head,” but now that I keep travel-sized Kleenex and Advil in my purse and Icy Hot and glasses on my nightstand — just in case I need them — there’s just no more fooling myself. I’m going to follow Lao Tzu’s lead and “let reality be reality” — I’m getting old.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize I’m not super-old just yet. But now that I’ve noticed the wrinkles and strands of silver running through my hair, I’m hyperaware of everything that’s an indicator of old age. I’ve decided to embrace it, and I’m happier for it. Just don’t be surprised if you find me sitting in a rocking chair, wearing a muumuu, talking about the good ol’ days, yelling at kids to get off of my lawn and saying “cheers” to life with a glass of prune juice.
Nickie Simpson is a staff writer for The Reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.