Waxing Philosophical

Following in Dean and Diva’'s footsteps, here is my attempt to answer the question Wheelson posed on one of Diva’'s posts .

"Do you think as we grow older our years will continue to get better (with a few dips along the way) or do we max out and then start heading down hill?”

I think the answer to that lies with the individual. For me, it'’s certainly the former; my life is much richer and more satisfying now than at any time in the past. It’'s partly circumstantial -– I'’m living with a wonderful man, and we have bright, loving, healthy children -– but mostly mental. I like who I am more now than I ever have. I am starting to value my strengths and accept my weaknesses. And I’'ve found that distance and experience have allowed me to put the rough times in perspective without diminishing the joy of the good times.

I still feel anger, sorrow, and pain as deeply as I did when I was younger, but I am better at dealing with them so those feelings diminish faster and affect me less afterwards. And I am more conscious of feeling joy, love, and pleasure so I can deliberately grasp those sensations and hold on to their memory. I prefer to dwell on the highlights, not the lows.

And that was a decision I made about 10 years ago, at my 10th high school reunion. The saddest people there, to me, were the former '‘in crowd’'. Listening to them reminisce, it was clear they considered 1984 to be the best year of their lives. They peaked at grad, and were facing a 60 or 70 year slide into obscurity and faded memories of glory. And I thought, with my 27-year’s' worth of wisdom and maturity, how terribly sad it was to burn out so early. I liked high school well enough, but I certainly expected more out of life even at 17.

I still do. I look forward to growing old with Dean, to watching our children grow up, to trying new things, seeing new places, meeting new people. I know there will be pain and sorrow in my future, but I do not fear them. They will come, and I will deal with them as best I can and move on, knowing that the joys that follow will be all the sweeter in contrast.