I have lived, even by the most optimistic projections, at least three-quarters of my life. So whether people think I look my age or not, whether I am more agile than some, or have on occasion a modicum more energy, I am elderly.
And I must say that I am finding it one of the happiest, and fascinating periods of my life. Admittedly, I am not suffering from overwhelming physical pain, financial anxiety, or dementia. How well I would (or will) stand up to any of these possibilities in the future I do not know. What I do know is that there is a beauty in old age that I find almost breath-taking. It can bring with it a kind of joy and peace and even wisdom that I didn’t so much as imagine in my youth.
Several days ago I stumbled on this you-tube from a group whose music has for many years delighted me. They are a group of Cornwall fishermen who have been singing together now for more than two decades, and I have watched them age. Their latest release demonstrates for me just what I mean about getting old. Although I am sure their average age is well below mine, I can see that joy and letting go of conflict that old age can offer.
Just watch this video. There is the physical beauty of the landscape, and the hypnotic rhythm of the tune they are performing. But for me, the most beautiful part lies in the faces of the singers. They are simply having a wonderful time. One of them is even collapsing with laughter.
There’s a beauty there that all the make-up products and hair salons in the world cannot produce. All those signs of aging don’t have to be rubbed out for someone to be beautiful.
My hair hasn’t turned grey yet. But when it does, there’s no way I’m going to try to hide it.