For my birthday, my 6-year-old grandson made a card for me. He laid it out very well. Hallmark would be jealous, I'm sure.
The front had the greeting, "Happy Birthday Gada." Inside big bold numbers reminded me of my age. On the back he added, "That's old."
How can you not laugh at that? From his perspective, I'm nearly prehistoric.
Yet, when I shared this story with ladies older than me, they laughed because in their eyes, I'm a still a youngster.
I thought back to a night shortly after my diagnosis of melanoma.when I decided to let my hair go grey if I survived this disease. I realized then the privilege of getting old.
So when my grandson proclaimed "that's old," it's a badge of honor. I'm betting, up until he saw that number, he didn't view me nearly as old as he did once he saw the tally of years.
Age is a beautiful thing. The older you get, the wiser you become and the more you realize where to place value in your life. Sometimes I think it's a cruel joke that wisdom comes at a time when your body doesn't always have the energy or ability to implement that knowledge. However, therein lies the reason we mentor those younger than us.
To me, age is just a number, which I hope to keep increasing for many years. I work hard to physically offset the effects of aging by strengthening and I can tell when I've had too long a gap in those efforts. Add to that the sedentary nature of society and it's twice as hard to keep ahead of the years.
It's worth it, though. When a part of my body starts to ache and complain, strengthening those muscles is usually the best remedy.
That's part of the reason for my new-found passion of leading group fitness classes. People come to get stronger, to feel better, to function with more ease as they get older. After any life-altering diagnosis, that is more important than ever for gaining back your life, no matter what your age.
Since my cancer diagnosis, I've struggled to get back to the running speed I enjoyed before diagnosis. When I share my frustrations with my daughter she reminds me, "You're still running."
And that's all that matters, even if I am old — to some.