“You’re really brave to [fill in the blank] at your … age.”
I don’t hear this a lot (maybe people are actually thinking, “You’re really nuts…” while saying brave.) But I hear it some—most recently after we acquired a puppy.
I’ve heard it about my diving classes too. It’s like people can’t believe a person would begin diving lessons in their sixties. I usually get asked if I dove, ahem, in my youth. Once in awhile they ask how long I’ve been diving. “Almost two years,” I say, and they’re surprised.
Age is just a number. I don’t really believe that. And while I accept that in some ways I’m not getting older, I’m getting better, I bow to the new shape and demands of my sixty-plus self. At every age I’ve always marveled at how tired I could get. Now I marvel at how much I can keep doing despite my fatigue. Pick up a thousand scraps of shredded paper towel tube, wipe up a bowl of spilled water, clean up one more piddle puddle… These things have to be done and if you can keep (or replace) a smile on your face, you’re on your way to Grandma-hood.
At diving class I get along really well with the kids. The oldest is about 18 (though we occasionally have a college student visitor) and the youngest maybe 8 or 9. One little girl told me, “You remind me of my grandma.” “Is she pretty, young, and thin?” I asked. There was maybe a second’s hesitation before she said, “Yes.” Another girl said I remind her of her grandma because I’m so easy to talk to.
My husband attends as many of my diving classes as he can. He videos my dives so I can review them at home. This is supposed to help me improve as a diver (and it probably does), but its true function is to help gear me up for another chilly afternoon in and out of water for 1½-2 hours. In one of my videos you can see how a little girl changes strokes, copying me, as we swim out of the water after our dives. (I wanted to share it here, but I’m not sure how to make the girl anonymous.)
“Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.
“They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;
“To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”
Scriptures about old age are encouraging. They let us know that aging is part of the plan, not something to be avoided, despised, or thwarted. They remind us that God is ALWAYS with us.
“And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.”
I know these are sure promises. There have been many times I knew I couldn’t make it through diving class, couldn’t do another puppy clean-up thing, couldn’t couldn’t couldn’t—not on my own. When I remember I’m not on my own…then I can can can do more.