I’ve never claimed to be good at aging gracefully. Far from it. I tend to resent most of the changes that aging has caused: the sags and wrinkles, the sore joints, the inability to read small print, the forgetfulness, the loss of strength and stamina. I complain bitterly about all of it, and am often shocked when I look in the mirror and am literally “faced” with the difference between how I picture myself and how I actually look. When I shop for new clothes, I find myself wondering if a certain style is too young for me, and yet I’m still offended if a sales clerk offers me a senior discount. Far too often, my reaction to aging has been a mixture of confusion and dismay.
And yet……I can’t deny that there are a few benefits to being a “woman of a certain age.” I have a far better sense of self than I ever did when I was young, and even not-so-young. I have acquired a certain bit of wisdom that steadies me when I’m faced with the roller coaster of current news and trends, and I’m thankful for the perspective that my age has given me. If I’m entirely honest, I have to say that I actually value the intellectual and emotional aspect of aging, and what I resent is really just the physical part.
The good news is that I’ve finally figured out that there’s something that makes coping with my aging body just a little bit easier, and that something is being a grandmother. My three grandchildren bring me great joy, but as odd as it sounds, they also help me accept all the physical changes that I used to resent so much.
So what if I have a sagging chin? I’m a grandmother, not a new mom! And those reading glasses I have stashed all over the house (and in my purse, and in my car) are normal for grandparents. My grandparents wore glasses all the time, after all. And maybe I am wearing “mom jeans” when I go out in public, but what else do you expect from a woman is actually a grandma? Looking at it that way, I’m actually dressing young for my age. Embracing my role as a grandmother is truly kind of liberating, because it takes away the pressure that so many women my age feel to look and act younger than we really are.
When I was younger, I never thought I’d be happy spending a Friday night rocking a baby to sleep or bathing a toddler, but the truth is, I am. Sometimes I still feel a bit surprised by the fact that I have three grandchildren now, but trust me, it’s a happy surprise. I’m no longer young, and that’s a fact. But luckily, I’ve got three precious reasons to be grateful for this new stage of my life, and when all is said and done, all I really feel is blessed……