Parts of my body have been removed and/or replaced and others are definitely not what they used to be. I’ve lost much: muscle tone, the shine in my hair, the brightness of my teeth, and some stamina. My skin is thinner and even insignificant bruises can become permanent marks of experience. I don’t trust my night vision sufficiently to be entirely comfortable driving in unfamiliar territory after dark. It’s ironic then that I feel more confident and whole now than at any other time in recent memory. Aging has its blessings, wouldn’t you agree?
I’m not crushed, as I was at 14, if I hear about parties I’m not invited to. I’m not as ego-centered as I was at 20 something; I can be out in the world without the mask of make-up. I’m no longer struggling, as I was in my middle years, to prove myself through public achievement; I recognize my distinct strengths and see daily how they contribute to my self and others. I wouldn’t say I’m completely comfortable about the future, I have moments of great uncertainty about how changing circumstances could become challenges in a planetary and personal way. But I have an age-ripened faith that I’ve got what it takes to adapt or accept whatever is to to come.
For me, today, the word “integrity” brings to mind the related mathematical concept learned in elementary school: the difference between an “integer” and a “fraction”. Today I feel like a whole person, one able to stand by myself; one able to add something more to the total sum than would be if I were not present. It’s a good feeling to age into a place of integrity.