Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The joys of getting older

By S. Derrickson Moore LAS CRUCES — Some people think that life stories get less interesting and plot possibilities decrease as you get older. Those people are wrong. Some of the most entertaining children of a lifetime may come into an enlightened woman’s world after her childbearing years have passed, along with5/26/2012 passionate love, amazing adventures, unexpected, even startling success, and maybe even some extraordinary and revolutionary creative concepts. And as we get older and wiser (alas, the two traits don’t always go together), the more likely we are to see potentials, make connections and skillfully navigate the critical passageways of life. There is a delicate balance between striking when the iron is hot, and waiting for the right ship to come in. If you have a few miles on your sports car and notches on your belt, you can be more likely to make sound decisions and choices (and you aren’t so likely to fear the wrath of the mixed metaphor police). If you’re smart, you embrace new ways of relating to peers and new generations, from texting to tweets. You also know that communication sometimes trumps style, and sometimes, getting the point across is more important than proper form. On the other hand, you may be willing to fight for proper form every now and again. I try to send at least a few snail mail real letters and cards to my loved ones to preserve a cherished form and relay sentiments more permanently in an increasingly ephemeral cyberspace world. I still stand up for correct grammar, even when I know I’m being perceived as an irritating nag (and I appreciate the astute curmudgeons who chastise me and our editors when we goof up, in print or online). Anger is something else you don’t fear as much as you grow older. You learn when to turn the other cheek, but you also learn when it doesn’t serve anyone to let a bully have her or his way … including, long-term, the bully. And you also learn, if you pay attention, that there is also a great power in righteous indignation. Unlike the anger fueled by emotions like hate and prejudice, which ultimately destroy, anger on behalf of a just cause can be energizing, cleansing and even healthy. Since human beings are good at fooling themselves, however, it’s always safest to be sure your anger really is righteous, always easier when you are fighting for someone else, for a cause from which you do not benefit directly and intimately. Free-ranging, fearless friendship can be another dividend that comes with maturity. If you’re lucky, your life path has exposed you to diverse cultures and interesting souls of all ages. And you’re wise enough to treasure kindred spirits, but also be open minded enough to recognize that it’s more interesting to live by ponds where birds of a feather don’t always flock together. Free flights with odd birds could turn out to be the best adventures of your life. I’ve been pondering all this during a period when a fall has reminded me of my mortality and my slower healing abilities — the darker side of aging for a generation that has been slow to face up to realities on the near horizon. It’s taken Baby Boomers a very long time to admit we’re middle-aged. Many of us now have kids who are on the verge of middle age themselves and it’s time to acknowledge our new reality. How are we going to face up to the next age category? It’s clear that the protest generation is not going to go gently into that good night. Even if we’re tired and slowing down, we’ll speak up on many sides of crucial issues and fight for rights and causes that some of us risked our lives for in our younger years. I hope that aging will add polish and patina to our stainless steel souls, that compassion, understanding, well-timed humor and the wisdom of experience will help us age with grace and pass on what we’ve learned with patience and creativity. And a few more adventures would be fun, too. S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

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