When I am 82, I want to have grey hair. I want the wrinkles on my cheeks to outline the smiles of my many years. I want to state my age proudly, like one does when pulling out a good wine. I want my children’s children to call me “Grandma.” I want to be like a beloved book, told and re-told with anticipation and excitement, underlined, dog-eared, read on the porch in the sunlight, read under the covers with a flashlight. I want to live and die with a story on my lips.
What I don’t want is this: I don’t want to pretend I am younger than I am, to hide away on birthdays in dread of another year. I don’t want to take extensive measures to hide the signs of age, or to be embarrassed by who I have become. When I am old, I don’t want to be shiny and uncreased, sitting still in my dust-jacket, “like-new,” untold, unloved, forever young.
When I am 82, I want to be classic, and rare, and beloved. When I am 82, I want to give, I want to tell stories, I want to have my ideas challenged, I want to have adventures, and I want to always be held in the arms of another, until my dying day.
Today is my birthday. I am 28. Many people tell me I look 16. But some day, I know, my age will catch up with me. When that day arrives, I’d like to challenge the cultural norm, which is to fear death and aging.
I have a birthday wish. For everyone reading this, the next time you see someone whose pages are a bit worn with age, ask him or her to look back a few chapters and tell you a story. No one can learn to accept their own age if they have not learned to treat their elders with the respect and dignity of a rare and beloved work of literature, a seasoned story, full of life.
Stay tuned guys. I plan on rolling out the new website format by late August/early September, at which point I’ll be back to posting on a regular basis.