On August 24th of last year, I turned 24 years old. Since this year was my golden birthday, I started to think about the topic of aging. Some people around my age are already starting to complain that they are, “getting old.” I look at them and I say, “Old? We are only in our twenties!”
In my opinion, we are far from old. What’s wrong with being old anyway? Each year should be viewed as an accomplishment, not an embarrassment. Whether your year was good, bad, or otherwise, you are still here to talk about it! Each birthday represents another year that you’ve survived in this difficult world. We always say that we are afraid of dying. Nobody wants to die young. However, many adults dread their birthdays. As each birthday passes, your life is being extended. You should be grateful for this extension of your life. If you do not want to die young, then you are getting your wish!
I refuse to succumb to the idea that after a certain age, I have to start giving up and acting, “old.” I have learned about too many inspiring older people to believe that lie. George Dawson learned to read at the age of 98 years old. He wrote a book called, “Life Is So Good” at the age of 101. Ernestine Shepherd is the world’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder at the age of 79 years old. Joyce Meyer, a Christian author and speaker, is actively completing missionary work at the age of 72 years old. These amazing individuals have convinced me that I do not have to fear growing older.
I am fortunate enough to have longevity in my family. My maternal grandparents raised my younger brother Jonathan and me while our parents were at work. My Grandpa Joseph lived to be nearly 90 years old. Shortly before he passed away, my mother was sleeping on my grandparents’ couch to help care for my grandfather. He got up from his bed in the middle of the night. He saw that my mother’s blanket fell down. He pulled her blanket over her, so that she would stay warm while sleeping. Even though he was dying, he wanted to ensure that my mother was warm.
My Grandma Rose lived to be 92 years old. I have a fond memory of my grandmother from when I was four years old. I fell in the snow, and I was crying. My Grandma picked me up and ushered me into the house. She took off my jacket that was wet with snow. She laid me down on the couch and put a heating pad underneath me to keep me warm. Then she made me cookies with milk. Twenty years later, I still remember the way that she comforted me when I was frightened. My grandparents lived their lives with courage until they passed away. I will not fear growing older because of them.
I hope that my genetics, combined with my determination, will allow me to follow in my relatives’ footsteps. Whether I am 40, 50, or 90, I will never be ashamed of my age. On my 90th birthday, I will still be dancing. I hope that you will be too. Do not let anybody tell you that you should be ashamed of your age. Also, do not let your life be a sea of regrets. I’m tired of hearing people say, “Oh I wish that I would have done that!” You can still take chances and make changes now, regardless of your age. Celebrate every year of your life. You deserve it.