Perhaps it should be “getting older.” To say something or someone is “growing” suggests to me an upward movement or a progression in a positive direction. In my experience with grandparents and acquaintances, when they speak of aging, they say “Getting old,” and they usually conclude with, “isn’t fun” or “isn’t what they thought it would be.”
This winter, I’ve felt older. I love drinking my coffee or tea and watching the snow fall outside, blanketing everything in stillness and cold. I put on another layer to keep myself warm. Before the kids ask if they can go outside, I’ve heard them plotting their course of action, developing their snowy agenda. Their enthusiasm builds into a palpable energy, and with it my anger begins to rise. No, I don’t want them to go outside. They’ll be out there for 5, maybe 10, minutes and will come in, disrobe, and leave me with two extra loads of laundry to do after I’ve made them a hot cup of cocoa.
I feel older because I had to convince myself to let them play outside. I might have told them “no” at first, but I did let them go out; I even helped them pile on the layers that I knew would be left for me to clean up later. This is their youth, after all. I did the same when I was younger. Now I’ll just have to be perfectly content with the cup of coffee and the pending laundry. At least I have the young children still around to remind me of what it’s like to be young. They share their vibrant energy with me. They wouldn’t mind if I came out to play with them. I could let go of my anger and frustration and let myself enjoy the moment.
It’s okay. I’ll get older with acceptance. Each day I’ll understand a little better what my foremothers experienced. Maybe I’ll be able to equip my children for what’s to come. As far as I can tell, though, the only way I can do that is to help them be aware and to choose to experience this moment without judgement. It’s neither good nor bad; it just is.
Our responsibilities change with time. Our frame of reference changes. Our whole life circumstances can turn in a moment. Whether we’re 3, 33, or 93, we still are who we are.
Time is such a funny thing.