A few months ago, M and I were having Sunday breakfast at a cafe somewhere in Midtown. Not quite the SATC setting, but I can’t always be wearing heels with a cocktail in hand. Anyway, across from us were two older women. Nothing about them screamed spinsters, so all we could really say for sure was that they were friends. Quickly assuming we’d still be friends at that age, we began to discuss old age. Would would be like like? Would we be annoying? More importantly, would we be happy?
These women looked happy. They were slow, which made me think: I hope I can be slow. I hope I can just enjoy it, the inevitable way one begins to enjoy classical music as you get older. I’ve always figured that once you reach that second half of your life you will be happier and more patient about what life offers, but that is foolish. Being older must be scary. You have decades of mistakes and decisions behind you. It will take a great deal of love and inner strength to be at peace with a long list of stages (and eras) one survives. We concluded that in the end, there are only two kind of elderly people (this is simply Sunday morning thinking people, don’t get too complex): grumpy and happy.
We figured that the life that you are leading now will determine the answer to that question. If you let your fears and resentments shrivel you up, you’re bound to be one of those cranky old people that no one likes to talk to. You know exactly which ones I’m talking about, the ones that hit you with canes. The rest will age like my grandmother and giggle and say things like chicken sh*t when her granddaughter’s ex-boyfriend comes up. You’ll be able to make jokes about the petty things and reassure those around you that “this too shall pass.”
I think about it from time to time. I always loved the word “chicken sh*t,” so I think I’m going to stick with that one. Try and enjoy it, folks. Be daring, be ridiculous, say all the things you aren’t supposed to say. Take the job, leave it, kiss her, let go, run, have that baby, take that class, move in with him, whatever. Just do it with all everything you have. Make sure that there is a party in your heart because it’s that very memory that will fuel your later years.
Also, you’re gonna look back on this and wonder… what was the big deal, anyway?
Another also, it’s your job to be happy when you’re old! It’s your job to make kids happy. So, get it together, people!
Loving my grandma,