Do you ever get the feeling that, once you are passed a certain age, you begin to grow older faster?
Well, I am feeling the acceleration more and more these days. My hair has gotten much greyer (don’t laugh, but I found a grey nose hair the other day – shocking!), my face has more lines showing, my body is aching and/or numb everywhere and has a harder time resisting gravity, I drop things and trip over nothing more often… now I think I know why people get grumpier with age!
And where has all the time gone to grow up to be the person I dreamed to be and do the things I aspired to do? By the time I was the age I am now, I had expected myself to hold a respectable position in the society and live in a respectable house with white picket fences with a respectable partner in life, a couple of kids, and maybe a few pets. But I seem to have aged ahead of all these scheduled events… they have yet to be written in my agenda, if ever. *BIG SIGH*
I am thinking about all the time that I have let slip through my fingers, maybe because I just turned a year older, going into the last year before the next milestone birthday. In an often cited quote by an ancient Chinese master philosopher C., he looks back on his developmental milestones in his final years and says he “had no more doubts” by the time he was my age. So, why am I still full of doubts?
Maybe because I hold a job different from what I set my heart on learning.
Maybe because I am not sure where I stand, living in a culture that is my own but does not feel familiar because I did not grow up in it.
Maybe because I cannot foresee myself finding out the will of Heaven in just another ten years.
But then I noticed something – interestingly, while many of my physical features show deterioration with age, my hearing has remained above-average for my age. Sometimes I wish I did not have good hearing any more so I could ignore what I hear… but then again, maybe it is because of my still relatively intact hearing that I can attune my ears to what others have to say.
Hmm, maybe I have attained the milestone of being able to lend an ear to others way ahead of time?
And maybe I still have hope of following my heart’s desire without crossing the line?
The day before, when I went to the monthly tea service I attend to collect what I call “pieces of peace,” the host stopped me before I left the tea room not just to praise me on my outfit. She had this to give me:
Belated, but much appreciated, Valentine’s Day chocolates!
I only see her at these tea services, and I never tell her ahead of time whether or not I will show up. So there was a chance (and a fairly big one, for I contemplated until the last minute on attending it this month) that they could have gone to waste. And, of course, she had no idea it was my birthday that day. But she took the time and money to think of me anyway! Now, then, does that not speak something about the character I have built through the ages?
Maybe it is not so much the body you are born with that determines how successfully you have aged, but the mind that started out blank when you were born you need to grow old together to tell if you are aging appropriately.
And maybe if you are successful at growing old together with your mind, your body will appear beautiful no matter how many signs of physical deterioration it shows.
I was made soooo happy with the chocolates and the thought behind them, I told her I would cherish every bite of them and savour the sweet taste of her kind consideration… but as I make this post on March 20, 2017, there is no sign that they ever existed, because I ate them all within hours of getting home. They looked so yummy when I opened the box, they were all gone by the time I realized I had not taken their photo!
Hmm, I am still easily confused. I have a long way to go to grow old together with my mind…