What exactly is “oldering”? I recently heard this term for the first time, and in the context I heard it, it was about being older, not being old. The message is clear to me, however; it implies a progression toward older, even old.
Of course, it may not actually be a word, but it should be. It fits this in between, progression time.
I don’t imagine any of us want to think about growing old. It feels like a time of lesser abilities, of restrictions, and the final part of our journey here on earth.
But “oldering” feels okay to me. It feels like I still have a lot of life in me- lots of steps ahead, many opportunities still to come, and journeys to make.
Still, there are some slow-downs, some detours, even some changes. But in this stage of oldering, I’m still on the move.
May Sarton says, “One thing is certain, and I have always known it – the joys of my life have nothing to do with age. They do not change. Flowers, the morning and evening light, music, poetry, silence, the goldfinches darting about.”
And from Mary Oliver, “Are my boots old? Is my coat torn? Am I no longer young and still not half-perfect? Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly about standing still and learning to be astonished.”
Just think about that idea of learning to be astonished. Just what does it take to be astonished? And do we have to learn how? Sadly, I think some do. Not me. One of my favorite words is “gobsmacked”. I learned that word on a trip to the Isle of Iona, Scotland. While it’s considered a slang word in the British Isles, I find it an extraordinary way to describe being astonished. Just look around – and look outside ourselves.
Just now I stepped outside my front door and saw this sight- a reminder that I have astonishing sights within steps of my front door.
Or this on my almost-daily walk.
A recent facial skin surgery got me thinking about the tapestries of our bodies. Just as the landscape of a tree provides details of the life of a given tree, so too, does our body provide a tapestry of a life lived into oldering.
“A gray head is a crown of glory; It is found in the way of righteousness.” Proverbs 16:31.