Now that my ladder's gone
I must lie down
where all the ladders start
In the foul rag-and-bone shop
of the heart.
William Butler Yeats
Poems on Passing

Old age, I decided,
is a gift.
I am now, probably
for the first time in my life,
the person I have always
wanted to be.
Oh, not my body!
I sometimes despair
over my body...
the wrinkles,
the baggy eyes,
and the sagging butt.

And often I am taken aback
by that old person that
lives in my mirror,
but I don't agonize over
those things for long.

I would never trade
my amazing friends,
my wonderful life,
my loving family
for less grey hair or
a flatter belly.
As I've aged,
I've become more kind to myself,
and less critical of myself.
I've become my own friend.

I don't chide myself
for eating that extra cookie,
or for not making my bed,
or for buying that silly
cement gecko that I didn't need,
but looks so avant-garde
on my patio.

I am entitled to overeat,
to be messy,
to be extravagant.
I have seen too many
dear friends leave this
world too soon;
before they understood
the great freedom
that comes with aging.

Whose business is it
if I choose to read or play
on the computer until 4 a.m.
and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to
those wonderful tunes
of the 60's, and if I,
at the same time, wish to
weep over a lost love...
I will.

I will walk the beach
in a swim suit that is
stretched over a bulging body,
and will dive into the waves
with abandon if I choose to,
despite the pitying glances
from the bikini set.

They, too, will get old.
I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But there again, some of life
is just as well forgotten .
and I eventually remember
the important things.

Sure, over the years,
my heart has been broken.
How can your heart not break
when you lose a loved one,
or when a child suffers,
or even when a beloved pet
gets hit by a car?

But broken hearts are what
give us strength and
understanding and compassion.
A heart never broken is
pristine and sterile
and will never know the joy
of being imperfect.

I am so blessed
to have lived long enough
to have my hair turn grey,
and to have my youthful
laughs be forever etched
into deep grooves on my face.

So many have never laughed,
and so many have died
before their hair could turn silver.
I can say "no", and mean it.
I can say "yes", and mean it.

As you get older,
it is easier to be positive.
You care less about
what other people think.
I don't question myself anymore.
I've even earned the right
to be wrong.

So, to answer your question,
I like being old.
It has set me free.
I like the person I have become.

I am not going to live forever,
but while I am still here,
I will not waste time lamenting
what could have been,
or worrying about what will be.
but will continue
to rejoice in what was.

author unknown
Poems on Passings & Partings
After Reading T'ao Ch'ing
The Argument
For My (Grand) Daughter
The Pond at Dusk
Preparations for a Parting
To Luck
What's in My Journal
Three Songs at the End
Meadowbrook Nursing Home
Let Evening Come
No Children, No Pets
Choice of Diseases
When Death Comes
Remember When
The Blue Blanket
Boat on the River
Sun and Moon
Remember When [another]
In November
Thinking about the Past
Taking Down the Tree