Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Aging Process

This weekend I realized I'm crossing another milestone in my life. I'm approaching the middle-aged years and while these may seem scary years for some, I welcome this new stage in my life as I have every other stage I've come across. As a child, I couldn't wait to grow up and every year, I'm more excited about the coming experiences. I even get excited when new white hair sprout on my head. I don't dye my hair and don't plan to. I look forward to the day I have the crown of white hair my grandmother had. I'm not eager to be a grandmother and my children are well-aware of this fact but I don't fear aging. I truly welcome it.

Christmas 2009
The thing about aging is... others age just as fast. This weekend, for the first time, I noticed how much my parents have truly aged. They're 61 and both look fantastic and have always looked young, not just to me but to others too. When people would look at pictures of my father, they couldn't believe he was in his fifties in the photos. Yesterday, he came over to take my daughter with him to the shooting range and for the first time, I realized... he's old. It wasn't just what he was wearing, he's starting to thin out in places like his legs and arms. Arms and legs that have done martial arts for 45 years shouldn't start to look frail, should they? My brain tells my heart to stop being melodramatic and accept that aging is a part of life but seeing it in my parents... it's tougher than I thought it would be.

Mom & I, 1974
Then last night, after coming home from the ER with daughter who slammed her fingers in the garage door, I stopped in to check on my mom (my parents live next door to me) and she was anxious. Wringing her hands and just worried, not just about her granddaughter but because she cracked the stovetop after leaving a burner on, she didn't remember turning on. She's been having these little episodes where she forgets things and I know her mind takes her to seeing her own parents' and mother-in-law long road with Alzheimer's. I don't think she's getting senile yet but seeing that fear in her eyes... it was rough.

I'm now becoming the parent... already am to my children and now moving into that role for my own parents.