Old Before My Time
I have always felt older than I was. I think many things can make us older before our time. Sometimes it is that we are allowed to dress and act older than we really are. Sometimes it is the strain of life that makes us seem older for we carry many burdens. Sometimes it is war and being part of that war that makes us age quickly. Sometimes it is chronic illness or disability that does it. And sometimes, it is because one moment in time brought the reality of the universe to you and changed your life.
I think I became old when I was thirty for that is when the health issues began hitting so hard. But, I felt old even before that magical age of 30. I remember being a young teen and people thinking I was grown and having to tell them I was just 14 or 15. At 30, I was trying to raise two beautiful young sons and I loved being their mother so much that I wanted the joy of raising them to go on forever.
I felt as though I had aged twenty years during those first few years of illness but by the time I reached my forties and was on disability, I remember telling my parents that we were going through old age together. My joints ached, I moved slow and I had to learn a new way to live so that I did not get lost in the cracks. That was one kind of old I felt and still feel. The other kind of old was an oldness in life that I just seemed to know. It was not painful or tiring. It was just an awareness beyond my years.
I remember a cousin telling me that when she turned thirty that she quit wearing pants because she was old. I remember laughing to myself when she said that for I was a young mother of two boys that brought laughter to me daily. You know, being chronically ill and disabled young changed my perspective of life but I think I was just born with an old soul. I had this innate ability to see behind the face of people and just know what they were feeling. I had this ability to see beauty in the midst of ruin.
I learned to enjoy the quieter moments with loved ones. I found joy in such simple things as planting flowers or being out in the yard watching the birds. Painting was a release for me as was other types of art. And I took up writing for I loved putting words down on paper in hopes that it would touch someone. I seemed to see things others my age and even older could not see which were to me just the simple things in life. Though sometimes I felt like I was riding a different train than most people and my train had already taken me through much of life before I was barely big.
I am 65 now and I still find joy in life and still have that awe that comes when you see something so beautiful that you are mesmerized by it. I often amazed people as I came out of surgeries with a smile on my face and nurses would ask me why I was smiling. I said because I am alive. Life taught me gentleness, kindness, the ability to see behind the illusion others put on and most of all, it taught me that I travel through this world one time and what I make of it is up to me.
I developed a keen relationship with my Creator for it is He that I depend on. I learned the joy in giving and helping others and I learned how precious loved ones are. I learned that everything you see is not always as it seems. l learned the peace and joy that can be mine even laying here in this bed in high pain. I learned to forgive quickly and to let it go. And I learned that simplicity outranks all the commotion and activity and craziness in the world any day.
And so, one day many years ago, I decided that feeling old was not so bad after all for it had slowed my feet so that I could see what was really important in life.There were times that I seemed to be the only one that saw the one tiny beautiful flower in a sea of ruin and doom and I could not understand why they did not see it. I soon realized that people see what they feel and I felt joy when others were consumed with sadness.
I was told a lot that I had an old soul that just seemed to know things before my time. What I had learned came from life or was given to me at birth…I do not know. I just knew that the precious moments in life and the memories we make are the most important things for we can take nothing with us when we leave this world. We burden ourselves with a lot of trappings and the need to own. Letting go was such a freedom.
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