Aging in Place

by Tracey Rich

Recently, on numerous occasions, I have said to Ganga that I am going to emerge from this seclusion looking like a sixty-three year old woman. It's one of my pandemic chic jokes. Having enjoyed usually appearing younger than my sixty-three years or at least looking pretty good for those sixty-three years, thanks to the privilege of Yoga, a healthy diet and most likely good genes, I am faced with an important meditation. This extended period of enormous external stress on everyone cannot be denied, even with personally insightful, often precious, unstructured time, stress is affecting all of us.

Staring in the mirror, over the span of these four months, I have seen the rapid emersion of time. It's as if all sixty-three of my years came home to roost at once. It's both morbidly fascinating and sometimes just plain morbid. It is like seeing chapters emerging that were once written in invisible ink now rising to the surface. They are familiar written lines, as if perhaps you've read this story before, and yet you haven't. You don't know if you are reading the last chapters first or the first chapters as they lay bare across your body and your face. It's a wonder, all the same. There are familiar characters from your past, perhaps ancestral, sitting there looking back at you. You sometimes feel inclined to introduce yourself as not to be rude, given that you stare unabashedly the same way you find yourself doing when you travel to a country where you don't speak the language. It seems your social inhibitions drop or for some reason it is an unwritten universal law that the rudeness of staring does not apply in these circumstances.

I actually like old things. As I round the six month mark on every birthday, when asked, I already begin to refer to myself as being the coming age. I like the lack of inhibition that age brings, the greater embodiment, the manifestation of what you could never know will be revealed that comes with time spent mining your life's work and the treasures and insights that brings. I've always said, I don't mind growing older, but I sure don't love aging, and I would wager this is fairly natural. Especially as a woman in Western culture, even one that has perspective on our culture. It's that catch twenty-two, that living irony, the koan within the koan. I appreciate the beauty of age on other people, and I always assure myself of the fact that life has not left me out.

If I am along for the ride, for the great uncovering, if I am in for the lifting of the veils, then I don't want to miss any part of living. As the death meditation, the mortality meditation, is upon us all universally, the only choice and blessing is to experience life fully. And to stare deeply, unabashedly in the mirror with the receptivity to evolve gracefully.