The New Normal

I almost said this, the other day, to my friend, as she was burying her beloved sister.  But I thought better of it – it sounded too cruel to remind her of her new normal – life without her best friend, her sister.

At the same time, I have often thought of my own “new normal”.  I am old. At 63,  almost 64, I am old.  Not in spirit, and not necessarily in capability – I can still benchpress at least 100 pounds, and still do the splits.  But I am constantly reminded of my age by something as simple as my hands.

First of all, they ache.  Secondly, they are puckered.  Gone are the smooth fingers and plump hands.  Left behind are well-traveled roads, so to speak. Or in other words, well-worn limbs that have served me well, but show the ravages of time.

While I wish to remain youthful, time marches forward, and we all have reminders of that tune.  There have been many “conversations” in my head about this aging thing.  Should I deny it and keep myself trim and fit?  Should I accept it and allow a little bit of fudge factor (a little bit of fat) onto my body?

What I have found is what I think most people who survive this long have found – be comfortable, be in the moment, and just love.  This requires that you let go of certain disciplines of the youth (that never-ending quest for the perfect body, for example), and that you just accept life as it appears on your doorstep. It does not mean you forsake common sense – you still have a body you must keep healthy through diet and exercise.  But stop obsessing on it, and start enjoying what is truly important in life – loving people and being loved by people. Even momentary love – that moment of kindness when you let a busy person go in front of you in line.  Or when a friend wants to have dinner (and you are on yet another diet), or when someone just needs you to be there at that funeral.

It’s the little things in life that count.  It is not the needs of the flesh that count, but the needs of the spirit that matter.  Our soul, while embodied in flesh, needs to be nourished more so than our physical bodies need food. Find your peace in this, and the world will be at your feet.