I learned a new word this week: gerontophobia. It means the fear of getting old.
With my 60th birthday only a few weeks away, I was thinking about the fact I am no “spring chicken.” Instead of focusing on the negatives, though, I decided to look at all the positives.
For example, I have chalked up almost six decades of experience, strength and optimism, which hopefully can be useful to my family and maybe others.
Randy and I are also grateful for our three children.?We realize that whatever they choose to do as adults is out of our control, and yet we will always love them and be proud of them.
Looking back on our child-rearing days, I think we did the best we could, with few regrets. For us, it was important to know we gave as much as we had to give to them.
We also knew the day would come when our children would be making their own decisions. It was tough, though, having to let go and allow them to do that.
Being a worrywart, I endured many sleepless nights waiting for them to come home, particularly once they had a driver’s license.
Suffice to say, it was difficult watching each of them leave home to venture out on their own. It was strange when the house was finally empty—except for Randy, me and a couple of cats.
We needed to turn our attention to each other. That was a big change.
I moped around the house a lot more than Randy did. He was busy with remodeling projects and was doing things I wasn’t even aware he wanted to do.
When I would be shuffling around on weekends, I would sometimes ask Randy if he missed the kids. His response, with a smirk, was: “What kids?”
We managed to get through empty-nest syndrome.
Fast-forwarding to the present, it’s been a terrific journey so far. But I am not quite ready to reach my destination, God willing.
The next big change happens in March. Our daughter, Tracy, is five months pregnant. She recently traveled here from Berlin, Germany, to visit us.
Randy and I were overjoyed when we found out we will be grandparents. We also feel good that both Tracy and her husband, Stephan, are excited about being parents.
I remember a quote I received when Tracy was born more than 30 years ago. Carl Sandburg wrote: “A baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.”
How right that is.
Each generation leaves behind something to help future generations. As grandparents, Randy and I look forward to doing whatever we can to provide love and support to our grandchildren from our little corner of the world.
In order to keep up with the baby, though, I need to consider some lifestyle changes.
Mother Nature isn’t kind to women who no longer are in their childbearing years, so it’s up to us older girls to keep plugging away with exercise, vitamins and regular visits to our doctors.
I believe grandchildren provide us with a chance to get excited about life and become playful and curious again.
There are some disadvantages to getting older, like wrinkles, gray hair and aches and pains. But I am not ready for the glue factory just yet.
A person I admired very much once asked me if I would become like an “elder statesman” or a “bleating deacon” as I aged.
I told her I definitely want to the elder statesman who will sit quietly on the sidelines watching my children’s successes rather than a mother/grandmother who believes my family and friends cannot get along without me.
As my 60th birthday draws closer, I know there will be challenges, but I pray for many more birthdays to come.
Regardless of age, birthdays are a celebration of life.
My optometrist told me about five years ago that my eyes were in good shape, but that I did need reading glasses. He told me my eyes were younger than my years.
As the rest of me begins falling apart, I will be able to see it happening right before my “young” eyes.
Seriously, my birthday wish this year is that I want everyone to live and stay involved in life.