A few short weeks ago, I was brainstorming a possible new post that would revisit the main idea from one of my favorite posts from two and a half years ago, “Cinnamon, aging, and Einstein…” Back then, I used a container of cinnamon as a metaphor for aging. That with both things – cinnamon and life – we start off feeling that we will never run out. Then, at some point, the truth hits us. That our years on this planet, just like that cinnamon, is finite. It was a painful realization that I thinly disguised with humor.
The post that I was recently composing had a much sunnier point of view. Aging doesn’t have to be about having less and less of anything as long as we keep actually living and growing. In fact, instead of judiciously using the little remaining cinnamon to make it last longer, pour it directly and generously into your oatmeal and coffee each morning. When the container is finally empty, just go back to the farmer’s market and buy yourself another container!
Then came Covid-19. All of sudden I was being told that I was vulnerable simply for being 65. I was incensed! Surely they weren’t talking about me? After all, I’m a wellness coach and a personal trainer. I do bootcamp twice a week with a small group of other women, some of whom are 25+ years younger than me! But then the number of cases in Atlanta started to climb. I forced myself to read first-hand accounts of those who had fallen ill. I could no longer ignore the concern for me I heard in my daughter’s voice. I woke up. I got frightened.
For now I am healthy and for this I am incredibly grateful. But I’m also experiencing a sense of loss at giving up the pretense that my actual age doesn’t matter. Like other parts of myself that I keep in the shadows, I’ve been denying the fact that I was born in 1954 and it is now 2020. I still don’t know how to label this reality as I don’t feel old but I’m realizing that it is a reality I need to bring into the light. It needs to take its place alongside all the other many things I am; not an out-sized place but an equal place. Suppressing any part of who I am takes up valuable energy and denies me the opportunity to be truly and wholly authentic. So, moving forward I will continue to pour the cinnamon generously each morning but I will also work on not flinching when someone asks my age.