Writer's Tree

As a writer with each endeavor I grow and my branches spread to encompass the world.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Growing old or growing up?

I find myself more often thinking of my life in terms of my age. I don’t remember doing that when I was younger. My children add, at your age, to things that they say to me and I find myself wondering why I still feel the way I do about things, at my age. I suppose it is because so many of the struggles in my life are not that different than the struggles in my 20 year old son’s life, but he is allowed the grace of being young.

He struggles with his future and his career path, as do I. He wants to be free to travel while he can; I share that desire with him as well. We both search for that one person that will make our lives more complete because we share it with someone that knows us and understands and loves us completely, our soul mates if you will.

The key to this dilemma is that the young have never been old, while the old have the advantage of having once been young. They have no way of understanding that while time and your body tell everyone that you are older, your spirit and soul continue to be young. You still want to dance and sing and have wild adventures and exciting love affairs. You are still “turned on”, to use an old person’s cliché, by doing something that you have never done before, seeing someplace new that you have always longed to see, or walking hand in hand in the rain with someone anticipating that first kiss while your heart beats emphatically with anticipation and desire.

So I would like others to understand that my age is not dictated by how many years I have spent on this earth, or how many wrinkles appear in my smile lines or around my eyes. It is dictated by my desire to embrace my life, this world, and those I encounter along my path with the excitement and delight that I have always possessed since my youth and will continue to possess until my spirit decides to dwell in some other time and place.

And, of course I have included a poem inspired by my journey and my attempt to understand the concept of growing old. I hope it speaks to you and allows you to take the time and freedom to enjoy the process and to say, to hell with growing old, I’m too busy growing up!

Growing Old or Growing Up?

It’s a strange thing, growing older,
I hear the concern in my children’s voices,
we want you to take care of yourself,
you shouldn’t do this, or that; at your age.

They are unaware of how this sounds,
the impact of their words.
Keep in mind you are growing older, resonates,
pressuring me to be defined simply by my age.

The young have no understanding of growing older,
perhaps, neither do the old.
Do we cross some mystical age barrier
and are unwillingly escorted to the realm of old?

The voice I speak to myself with
is still a young girl, a young woman.
At certain moments she remains a child,
with a child’s delight, or unbidden fears.

I am still learning to communicate with men,
themselves, young boys yet in many ways.
Hoping like some teenage girl,
to someday meet the man of my dreams.

Dreams, and I have so many of them,
are yet to be fulfilled and eagerly sought after.
I continue to gain knowledge and wear fresh wisdom,
ever searching to discover who and what I will be.

You may say I am growing old if you like,
but each new discovery that sprouts in my life
fills me with wonder, and I dance with joy, knowing
I am not growing old, I am simply growing up!

Conni Struss Johnson©


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