28.2.07

How to Age Gracefully



How to Age Gracefully

~ ~ ~

keep smelling, stay
interested in all the
messages that come alive
like signs,
there are sighs and songs
in every blade of grass and
shift of wind

keep moving, even
if only your eyes
look everywhere,
there is beauty and
movement to watch
like leaves that lift
and fly like birds

~ ~ ~

Maureen Shaughnessy

4 comments:

Tammy said...

Sam is so special to me and this poem inspires me. Beautiful Maureen!

LauraHinNJ said...

There's Sam - beautiful words.

Pam said...

Sweet Sam. A poem for us all, beautiful. I try, every day, to follow your words.

maureen said...

Laura, thank you for your kind words.

Tammy and Pam, I was thinking of you two when I wrote these words. They are for you as well as inspired by you both in that I believe this is how you are ... neither of you has given up hope, connection, life, even in the face of great difficulty.

There are so many people who struggle with the downside of age as they perceive it, or with a progressive disease that may sometimes make them feel like they are aging too fast. Our society does nothing to counter the struggle -- in fact, we are exhorted to fight against growing older, as if we could all be "perfect," and eternally young (if anyone really stops to think that one through .... they realize they wouldn't want to stop time -- think of what we would miss out on!)

I know I sometimes buy into our culture's anti-aging creed, but for the most part accept and like where I am in my life's journey. I get incredible inspiration from women like you, Pam and Tammy, who live daily with ALS. Listening to you, reading your words, sharing the beauty you find in your lives, gives me an idea of how to slide into the second half of life without succumbing to hopelessness.

So in that sense, the poem is for you both -- to honor your simultaneous acceptance of life's wrinkles along with your struggle against giving in to it. I hope that makes sense. And, in a similar way, these words are for myself: a reminder to live life gratefully -- gracefully -- in each moment.

So thank you for seeing the intent in my words.

Of course, Sam is in there too. His 18th birthday is coming up -- which makes him somewhat over the age of 100 in equivalent dog years. Every morning I wake up and he is snoring away on his pillow at the base of our bed ... sometimes I wonder how he is still here with us! I think it is partly because he still has much to teach me. He is full of farts and snorings, lumps and warts, droopy eyes and jowls, scraggly fur, bad breath, aches, pains, stiff joints, blurry vision and almost total deafness, yet ..... Sam has enthusiasm still, for life, for beauty, for smells, for love, for closeness and comfort and good tasting food.

Growing old with grace and acceptance ...