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I’m not scared of aging anymore but that doesn’t mean I have to like aging.
In fact, aging sucks.
There is no question about it. It f*cking sucks. I mean, who are we kidding? There is nothing even remotely romantic about having lines on one’s face that show the world every single experience you’ve ever had. And who wouldn’t want to travel the world, imbibe several cultures, meet amazing people, and have life-changing experiences, but still stay a perennial 27?
There is nothing joyous about watching your loved ones go from being dynamic humans to become shells of themselves…just because they got old. Even the strongest of them, the most forward-thinking and positive of them all, eventually get so weak and tired that they simply want to let go.
It can gut you when you see the change and havoc that aging brings on people, including our own selves.
When I hear stories, especially from celebrities who have botoxed their faces from showing any real expression and look like a scarecrow whether they laugh or smile, work out every single day so that their bodies are like a 16-year-old but their faces, their necks, and their hands, show visible signs of just how old they are and then pontificate on how “age is just a number,” I want to break my TV.
But there is one amazing advantage to aging.
And that is the maturity that comes with it. Now that, I’m on board with.
Interestingly, a dear friend recently told me, “Roops, you have changed. You’re a lot calmer and more introspective. You measure your words now.”
Given that this friend has known me for over a decade, I get where she is coming from.
I have changed. I feel it palpably within myself. That doesn’t mean I’m any less crazy or passionate or impulsive or contradictory than I was before. Nope, I’m still all of that.
I’m an agnostic who doesn’t believe in superstition. But I will still walk around a ladder because I figure, why risk it, right? I think reading one’s horoscope from a newspaper is taking mumbo jumbo to a whole new nonsensical level but I still read mine every time I see one of those columns online or in a magazine.
I’m a true-blue Scorpio who epitomizes her star sign and feels everything passionately, from the ache of close family members who shoved me aside after my big tragedy in December 2020 to totally judging male celebrities like Chris Pine, Daniel Craig, and Simon Cowell for looking weird AF with all that Botox and fillers in their faces to applauding PETA for the stellar work they do toward animal rights and then wondering if they’re quite all right for talking about animal welfare in a country where children die of hunger and malnutrition to wanting to throw my TV against a wall when Tom Brady wins yet another Superbowl—I’m full-on, in your face, passionate about it all.
But there’s still a definite change I’ve noticed in myself, same as the one my close friend observed over the past decade. I’m a lot gentler now. I’m quieter. I’m not nearly as quick to respond or retaliate against anyone or anything. I like smiling and laughing and making others happy more than arguing and wanting to be right all the time. I take my time and allow for and analyze multiple perspectives, even if the other perspectives are the exact opposite of what I believe in and stand for.
In the space that I’m in, I’ve realized that I like happiness and spreading laughter a lot more than wanting to be right. That doesn’t mean I suffer fools or that I let others get away with being sexist, misogynistic, racist, or ageist. But for the regular, day-to-day, normal issues, I’m okay letting others have their small wins if it means they’re happy while my core fundamental self hasn’t diametrically changed or been impacted.
I’m also a lot more level-headed when it comes to dealing with other people.
Two mutual friends are currently fighting, and fighting hard, over something fairly trivial. The old me would’ve gotten irritated and blasted the holy hell out of them. I would’ve said something like, “Both of you are too old to not know better. Get your sh*t together and grow the f*ck up. Life’s too short to waste it on fighting over ridiculous issues!”
The new, more mature me realized that all they needed was someone to vent to. Eventually, they’ll realize on their own just how trivial their issue is and reconcile. For now, all they need from me is to listen to both of them separately, without any judgment. And that’s what I’m doing.
And when it comes to the many family members who dumped me after my big tragedy in December 2020, the old me would’ve called them out and maybe created a ruckus. The new me writes about my issues without naming any of them and hopes that with time they will understand what they did to me on their own. The new me also understands that they might never realize how much they hurt me, ever. And that’s okay too. I might be almost too zen about that.
The old me fought for everything I believed in, clung to relationships that had clearly ended, and always hoped that things would change and get better. The new me carries no baggage whatsoever, and genuinely believes in letting things go. If it’s meant to be, what you desire will come back to you. If not, it really wasn’t yours anyway.
This, I guess, is true maturity. The journey to get to this mature moment in life comes for each of us, some early and some late. The journey was a long and hard-fought one for me. But I’m here now, and it feels good.
So, no, aging still sucks. But the maturity it brings with it rocks.
What about you? Where do you stand on the aging vs. maturity spectrum? Let me know in the comments below.
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