It depends. On one hand, from where I sit at a small hostel in Ulaan Bataar, having just finished five weeks exploring Mongolia with a guide or two, life’s pretty interesting. In five more weeks I leave to ride in Ethiopia for another three weeks, and then back to Africa in February. Body parts bark, my left knee is right mess, and my face has yet another year (my 67th) etched on it. I’m a far better writer, far better speaker, and with any luck I might have a modicum of wisdom. However, the tradeoffs for which I paid for these include tight skin, a smooth face and and the currency of pretty that I carried all my life. I still have some of that but in every way I now notice that those around me who are indeed young and pretty enjoy the fruits of their faces far more than I now do. I am relegated to aging, and while I am doing it extremely well, the simple truth is that the inevitability of time carries its own weight.
The weight that I used to carry when I was heavy now results in a bit of loose skin on my belly. That belly is steel drum tight still but the skin is looser.
If I worry, seethe and agonize over these things I miss the point entirely. I am incredibly fit, strong and my endurance is legendary.
But that physicality will eventually pass into something else, too. For these things have given me this life, an extraordinary one, and I must needs give all that back to Nature someday.
So as I age, I learn to better negotiate. I refuse to turn to vinegar, but since I don’t drink, I would prefer to age like a grand old tree that continues to reach skyward, nest lovely birds in her branchs, and when she finally dies, the nurturing of her body serves to feed the saplings around her in the forest to perpetuate the cycle.
So, do I take joy in my aging face, my body, my lessons, my learning, my mastery? Or do I resent the daily chipping away of what society seems to value far more than those things, the perpetual lie of eternal youth, so full of angst but without the cellulite?
I’ll chose the joy, thanks. Besides, consider the options. If my life causes me to limp a bit, I guarantee you there’s one hell of an epic story behind it.