#353--I used to have a fear of getting older. I don't really know why. I mean, I had a great role model for aging gracefully in my grandfather. He was a professional soccer player in Scotland when he was younger, and one of my very first memories of him is juggling a ball at the age of 50 something--behind him! He even took up handball in his 70's and became the 2nd best handball player in the nation (he lost to a guy who was 20 years younger than him in the finals). But his athletic ability was overshadowed by his smile and the perpetual laughter which escaped his lips like a kid running out the door for recess. He was the old man my younger self emulated. Yet I didn't even know it--until I was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Why is it we so often must face death before we can appreciate life? I know it's said that youth is wasted on the young and that you don't know what you have until it's gone. But wouldn't it be great to be wisely innocent? To be aware that you aren't fully conscious or to happily acknowledge your own ignorance? But just as you must experience cold to understand hot, or hunger to recognize satiety, I guess one must grow old before developing a palpable concept of youth. Age is the weathered guide which brings us closer to our allotted mortality. Yet I must be healthy enough and infinitely willing to make that journey. It's the same decision we're all faced with at different moments in our existence.