I was recently privy to a conversation where two people discussed how they would not go back to their twenties. The man, age 38, said that even though he may not have the same energy level he did at 20, he wouldn’t trade who he is now for going back to then.
I couldn’t agree more!
Looking back on twenty-year-old me I have to smile a bit. I was a hard worker and a college student, an energetic person, and back then I could easily live off of four hours of sleep every night. But I lacked the confidence that I have today, the development of my skills, and more importantly, the patience that I have developed in the more than decade since then. I have reached a place where contentment satisfies when happiness is fleeting, and where forgiveness is a gift more precious than anything else I could obtain.
I do not feel old at all. I am young, fit and energetic still – it comes with a bit more effort to it than it did at twenty, but it is well worth it. I have far more to offer the world today than I did at twenty, and far less desire to take. I do indeed require more sleep these days, seven hours is optimal for me, but those hours of beauty sleep are well earned by a day of hard work, studying for my master’s degree, and taking care of my household.
I hope not to be a woman who resists the inevitability of age but rather welcomes it gracefully. They say growing old is awful, but I suppose the opposite of that is worse. I once had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with a woman in her eighties, dying of lung cancer, but as kind and gracious and funny as if her life stretched out before her. She had a great story to tell and took obvious pleasure in telling it. I was twenty-two when I met her, and she set an example to me of aging with grace, kindness, and humor. I hope that I live up to that example.
As each decade passes, I hope I feel the same sense of achievement and pleasure with how far I have come. What futility to chase a fountain of youth and in doing so, waste all of the best future years of life. As we mature, we should have an eye on the legacy we are leaving behind us rather than wistfully wanting to go back. Time marches on and we must fill it with the best parts of our life stories, that one day will be a pleasure to tell to new generations.
“Grow old with me! The best is yet to be…” – Robert Browning