| LifeTakes |

Good Old Age

When I am old, I have the luxury to live in the moment fully, without worry for the future, without regrets for the past

I like getting old. I like taking a nap whenever I want. I like it when the grandchildren come over and it’s loud and messy and kids are racing all over the living room on their riding toys. I like the noise, and the disaster they leave, and then — the silence.

I like the empty nest syndrome. It gives me time to experiment with food. Last week I made khachapuri (hidden cheese bread), and arancini (rice balls with meat inside), and manicotti. There was no one around to say, “Mom, can’t we just have pasta and ketchup?”

I like looking old. I’ll still offer the obligatory argument when someone offers me their seat on the bus — “Oh, no it’s okay.” But then I say, “Okay, thanks!” And I sit down.

Summertime in Eretz Yisrael reminds us of the slow drying out of life. Watering flowers and picking off the wilted ones used to be a chore, but now that I’m getting old, it’s an activity.

When I had children at home (it was plural, now it’s singular, and she’s barely home), there was always something to do next. While I was at work, I was thinking about what I’d make for lunch; while I was making dinner, I was thinking about putting the kids to bed; while I was sleeping, I was thinking about where to send my daughter to high school, etc.

Now, I try, really try, to live in the moment. I water the flowers and pick off the wilted ones, and that’s it — no need to justify how I spent my time. If the house is messy, but I’m paying attention to the flowers, it’s fine.

 

When I was young, with kids at home, my house was always a little bit messy. Nowadays, if it’s messy, the only one I can blame is myself. And if I’m in the mood, I have all the time in the world to make it clean. I can leave the dishes, or I can wash them, and also the floor, and the walls, and drive away the cobwebs. Or not, as I choose.

I like the color of my hair: grey. Of course, as an Orthodox woman, I cover my hair, but I mean to say that my grey hair does not scare me or worry me. I think shades of grey are distinguished looking; I worked for it, I earned it. My grey hair is my badge of honor.

Okay, it’s true, I’m not crazy about wrinkles. But I’ve gotten used to them. The wrinkles kind of match the hair: a twin set.

I don’t know how to knit, so I can’t knit sweaters for my grandchildren. I do, however, send over broccoli soup and homemade rolls. They seem to like it. You see? It’s fun to be old. They actually like what I cook, they don’t just grudgingly eat it.

I like getting old with my husband. He tells me the same old jokes, and I laugh. Yes, most of the jokes I know already, but they’re funny because they’re old. Like we are. Mostly, he does his thing, and I do mine. We meet a couple of times a day, in the hallway or at the diner, I mean the kitchen.

I like getting old. I like thinking, “I’m 20 years older than this teacher. She can’t tell me what to do!” I’m also old enough to know when to keep my mouth shut. That took me a couple of decades to learn. Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks.

Old also means getting closer to death. I’m not so looking forward to that one. But it does make me think more about how to live. I think the blessing for the new month is the ideal recipe for what my life should be, especially as l get older:

A long life

A life of peace,

goodness, blessing,

sustenance, physical health,

A life in which there is fear of Heaven, and fear of sin

in which there is no shame or humiliation

of wealth and honor,

in which we will have love of Torah and fear of heaven

A life in which our heartfelt requests will be fulfilled for the good.

Amen, selah.

When I am old, I have the luxury to live in the moment fully, without worry for the future, without regrets for the past. L’chayim to a ripe old age!

 

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 704)

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