I have been thinking a lot about who I want to be as I grow older, with front row seats for our parents as the aging process is thrust upon them like an unwelcome heat wave. We watch as they slow down physically, cognitively, and emotionally. Filters fall away. Their truest, unmasked selves burst forth. The best and the worst of each go hand in hand. Like a rewinding of a clock, ticking all the way back to their years as young children. While another clock presses them further along. I catch glimpses of who they must have been in their earliest years, clinging to their mama's apron strings...as they cling to their failing memories.
My son sent me a message this week. He's been watching from a distance. Hearing how this has been playing out. Processing this season of our lives as we take this journey with our parents. His message was so tender, and it made me stop and think. If he walks this rugged path with us when we embark on ripe old ages, who will he encounter in me? Who will my truest self be?
I don't know. But I hope I can influence who I'll become when my filters fade away. I hope that intentional choices I make now and in the years to come will mold and shape me into someone who is easy to love and care for.
Because one day, God willing, I will be sitting with my son or daughter. All my filters will be gone. And my truest self will shine through, in all its glory and flaws. As my own outer clock ticks forward...while the the internal one flies backward, I want the best to shine through. This is the gift I want to give my children.
What will I be like if I just let nature take its course? Who might I be if I approach this process prayerfully and intentionally? Who do I want them to see in me? I want to age gracefully. I want to be someone my family will enjoy to the very end.
"Beautiful young people are accidents of nature, but beautiful old people are works of art."