Lisa Miller: The Best of Aging

“Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art.”

–Eleanor Roosevelt

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”

— Mark Twain

“The best part about being my age is in knowing how my life worked out.”

— Scott Adams

I’m particularly drawn to this last quote.  It has me thinking about life as a story, experiences filling the pages of each chapter, and chapters are all made complete by both insignificant and significant details.

As I think about this, I see that we can’t possibly know the relevance of an experience until many experiences later when they’ve all been assembled and integrated into the story line.

But even having been the one to have lived my own experiences doesn’t automatically make me well versed in the symbolism and meaning therein.

Could I lead a high school or college English seminar on the symbolism of love, addiction, family, grief, bliss, and all the living that has been the great work of my life so far?  Hmmm.

Hell, yes. I force my teen daughters to take this class almost every day. (I’m sure they’d say “hell” was a good way to begin this paragraph.) But they are allowed to audit because I am a kind and righteous mother.

But perspective isn’t immediate—it tends to be quite a little journey down that road of whatever experience and accompanying emotional stuff it features—it has to be that way, the panoramic view requires distance and space.  And similarly, the plot doesn’t make sense when you read only chapter 18.

So, I’m here at 62 (chapter, not years, thank you) with a lot of back story to work with—trauma, drama, love, pain, plot twists, and pa-lenty of metaphor.  It’s all really very interesting so far.  A top notch read.  (Now, to work on the telling.)

But really, I think that the best part of my age (45, thanks) is my awareness that the way in which I read and re read my own story is completely up to me, and can determine the way in which I live the rest of my life.  Regardless of this character or that situation, this is really about my own education. This is essential for me.

(By the way, if the theme of this blog entry were favorite t.v genres, I would say here that I’m partial to the sit-com and that I like actresses with great hair and teeth, and also, tall hunky actors.)

Finally though, it’s true for me right now that, “the best part of aging” is knowing that there IS a rich story ahead, that I intend to enjoy it consciously and that most of all, my story is made all the richer as I share it with my girls again and again and again and again….

I’d love to know; what are you really enjoying about growing up?


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