What is this thing we all know as age ?
A quick look at the online Webster's Dictionary, AGE is defined as "the amount of time a person has lived." My immediate question what does "has lived" really mean ?
Yesterday I was in a class with 6 other people, I was the oldest person in the room. I realized this as soon as the class started and we all introduced ourselves, it is an 8 week course focused on the business of art. I was actually energized by realizing that I was going to get input and feedback and be able to share and learn from students whose 'age' is significantly different than mine, their youthful life experience certainly bringing a differing perspective, focus and priority to the class.
Today I was in the water aerobics class with 21 people, I was the youngest person in the pool. One of the "regular attendees" said to me at the end of the class, "You are too young for this class" - she was the one participant who was very talkative, she was engaging everyone, not sure if she was trying to welcome me to the class with the observation or perhaps she was surprised to see me there. The average age of the class participants 65 to 75.
I did feel like a kid in the pool, not because of the age difference, but because I love being in the water. We had a great instructor today, Martin. He also had an English accent, he joined us in the pool, unlike the instructor last week.
The activities in the water ranged from fast paced, fast moving exercises, to tai chi type moments, to the end of the class when we did stretching with eyes closed. It was wonderful - the entire pool very quiet, the water still, the instructors voice carrying the distance of the enclosure. We were like a group of happy herons, standing tall, moving very slow and enjoying our time in the water. The last 10 minutes were especially wonderful.
I have told many people over the course of the past 7, 8, 9 months, that many days when I wake up I am happy and thrilled like a young child, like a 5 year old. The excitement of beginning, unwrapping and shaping the gift of another day is wonderful.
Knowing that I have time today, flexibility today and choices today and that I will engage in activities that interest me, that I love to do, that bring me rest, peace, joy, excitement, curiosity, activities that challenge my imagination, how could I not be happy and excited like a 5 year old.
And never far from the child in my heart is the practical adult inside my head that recognizes that in two months, I will have lived 10 years longer than my Mother. She died shy of her 46 birthday, I will be 56 in October.
I think about this way more than I should, especially in the months leading up to my birthday. I think about the days she did not have, the realizations she did not get experience, the days of her children's lives she did not see as we grew and matured and found our paths.
I am sure this strange math that I do every year colors my perspective. I am certain that because of her days not lived, I want to live more, I want to be sure she knows in heaven that I am doing the best I can to be the adult child she did not get to enjoy and engage with because of her untimely death.
Regardless of my age, I will always be one of JoAnn's five children and as I get older the light at times shines extra bright on that truth.
And everyday I am thankful, everyday I appreciate, everyday I am grateful for the opportunity, for the possibilities, for the blessing of this time in my life and no matter my age.