I’m beginning to realize I have a long way to go in accepting the fact that I’m old. I’ve been fighting it for some time. I’m not afraid of the aging process or the limitations it puts on me. It’s not because I’m totally vain and don’t want to see the effects aging has on my body. I know I will never be a size 2. I will never have unwrinkled skin. I will never be able to climb mountains or jump from an airplane and go free falling.
My issues come from the fact that I’m losing some of the simple abilities, like reaching a shelf that’s too high – fear of losing my balance and falling – not being able to do simple tasks which I never thought twice about before. I think men go through this as well, when they finally realize they can’t safely drive a car anymore. It’s like losing control of things that used to define us.
Yesterday was a good example of my frustration. Paul and I celebrated Thanksgiving by first attending church online. The message was inspiring and spoke of not trying to interfere in God’s plans. I was excited to have my husband home for this holiday for the first time in many years.
The day before, I made a cheesecake from scratch. Surprisingly the result was perfect. I followed the recipe to a Tee. All of the cold ingredients were set out to reach room temperature before I started. I fumbled as I cracked the eggs and had to scoop out some random shells. The sugar has been rarely used lately and was lumpy. There were little obstacles along the way – things that never would have caused me concern when I was 65. The cake turned out perfectly. I should’ve been proud of the result, but I wasn’t. I felt I was a failure because the task was such an ordeal for me.
Simple things like finding the right cake pan, having to get down on all fours to retrieve it from the far recesses of the cupboard and then getting back to an upright position, were challenges that never used to get in my way. As I prepared our Thanksgiving feast I had trouble reaching things from high shelves, keeping up with the dishes, making sure things would be just right. The meal turned out fine, but I was feeling sorry for myself for being so incapable.
I wondered how I ever put on a Thanksgiving feast for twelve or more people. I know it may sound silly, but one of the things that has brought me down during this “time out,” is discovering my limitations. And then I thought about that earlier sermon. Even in our aging, God is in control. He walks with us through every aspect of life. He’s there when our bodies start to fail. He holds us up when we have difficulty standing tall. He never leaves us, even in our golden years. From birth unto the grave, God is always there. Even after death, He has prepared a perfect place for us.
I was glad to have my husband with me too, encouraging me to ask him for help when I need it. I have a very stubborn streak and like to be independent, so those could be considered fighting words. He couldn’t understand why I felt incapable. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t understand. It was ridiculous. It should’ve been laughable, but I shed a few tears over it.
I have since decided to heed my husband’s offer to ask for assistance. I will eat a little more humble pie and less cheesecake from now on and start learning to accept this thing called aging with more grace. I know that this world is not my final home and that gives me peace.