Los Abuelitos

Monday morning a bus from a nearby retirement home brings elderly people to our store to do their grocery shopping.  And as I bagged order after order of “paper, please,” and “don’t make it too heavy!” I really got a good luck at the people I was serving.  I took a good look at a woman who was moving at a slow pace to write out her sixteen-dollar check, and I began to study her face.  It hadn’t always looked this way; one day, she had been youthful- she had been the mere eighteen years, just on the brink of life, that I am today.  Had she been beautiful?  What color had her hair been?

It hit me then just how much I feared aging.  I feared that I would ache all day.  I feared that the plaguing aching would make me grumpy.  I feared that I would forget all of the wonderful things I had experienced- or worse, the wonderful people I’d met.  I feared what I would look like with my thin, grey hair and sagging upper-arm flab…

Aging isn’t beautiful.  Let me rephrase that.  Aging isn’t attractive.

It’s no secret that, yeah, aging brings about thin, grey hair, and sure, your upper arm becomes a sagging piece of flab.  In general standards of beauty, that’s definitely not attractive.  But the elderly, our abuelos, are the epitome of “It’s what’s inside that counts.”  The elderly can teach you so much if you’re willing to listen.  They all have a story.  And most of them are willing to share it.  The wisdom that the elderly possess is what makes them beautiful.

So, yeah, from this side of twenty, wrinkles look pretty frightening.  But I guess that each wrinkle could be symbolic of a story or a lesson that a person has to share.  If we don’t focus on the bad, there’s a lot of good to be had.  And I think we’ll find, at least, I hope, that as we start to move over that hill, aging doesn’t seems so terrifying anymore.

I guess that’s the wisdom talking.



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