I Am Old
I am old.
My skin is leathery.
My hair white.
My teeth replaced.
My vision blurred.
My memories faded round the edges.
But I am worthy and I am a woman. I still want to feel the warmth of someone’s hand in mine. I still laugh and I still cry. I still want to be beautiful, respected, and listened to. I feel like I’m twenty years old inside. Okay, maybe thirty.
My flesh is weak, but my soul is strong. I am just like you. I am worthy, weary, stiff and I am not ready to be ignored, dismissed, pitied or forgotten.
Now I want you to listen to me, Katie. I want you to stop worrying. You worry about what the world thinks of your hair and your style. You get worked up about being right and getting your turn and being first and best. You take too much personally. You waste time thinking in circles and trying to predict the future. I am the future. Stop rushing and dodging through traffic to get home five minutes early. Stop making judgments about your weight, your job, your friend’s choices. Stop eating things made of chemicals. Stop staring at screens for hours.
You are lucky, You are young. There are many days ahead, many breaths left to breathe, so much to see and do in your life. Keep your body nimble so you don’t become stuck in one place. But also, learn to sit quietly. Watch the sun set. Keep your mind awake by learning how to paint, but forget whether or not the paintings look good. Let yourself have fun.
Your days of old will come sooner than you’ll ever believe possible. So take hold of each day, each precious moment, right now. Take hold of it not by grabbing up all you can, but by giving away all you can. Give away kindness, give away hugs, give away your time, give away food, give away money, give away want, give away love.
Be ever so grateful of every breath, every sunny day, every light snow fall, every great movie, every life-giving meal, every good night’s sleep, every work of art, every venture, adventure and misadventure undertaken, and every new friend made.
Hold me in your heart because, my young friend, I am wiser than you. I’ve lived your life already and I know what matters most at the end. Hold me, as you journey through the rest of your life. You can bring your inner child along too, but don’t forget to hold my hand firm and strong. I know the way. I am you.
Have you ever written a letter to yourself from your older self? I hope you give it a try and discover the power and richness that comes from perspective.