The older I get, the more questions I have on aging, because without a doubt, all that goes with this aging process is affecting me, like it or not. I read nearly everything I can on the subject, and in some areas I believe the writer is on top of it, but there are others who I personally feel are so negative and so far out in left field, I don’t believe they are even in the same ballpark.
To begin with, I will not minimize aging or the effects it can have on all of us, but I would like to give you my perspective on how I feel about it, since I’ am often asked; then, you can decide whether I’m out in left field.
We all age from the day we are born; this is unavoidable. Some people are old at twenty, others young at ninety, and certai8nly I’ve wondered why this is so.
For a lot of people, it’s their attitude. They have little drive. Each day to them is the same and they make little effort to change it. They have a pessimistic view on everything and once they appear to let this way of thinking be part of their everyday lives it becomes a pattern they can’t break; hence when they turn middle age, the stage is set and they are “OLD”; and I mean really “OLD”. They look it and it’s because their way of living shows on their faces, and to turn it around at this point is all but impossible. When the aches and pains, losses and disappointments strike them, because of their already negative state, they aren’t able to handle it, and they get even further down into a slump.
These people are easy to pick out, because it shows not only in their faces, but also in their posture, and in the way they treat others. These people, more often than not, will be the ones who’ll get angry in stores and snap at other people. As you know, ninety-nine percent of the time their actions are not justified.
Just recently I read an article on aging in a Phoenix newspaper and I liked what I read. It was about women who have not put an emphasis on getting older; and have done remarkable things with their lives. Not only have they accomplished a lot, but they look absolutely wonderful as well.
In my life, I was given the very best example of how to age, and I promised myself, God willing, that I’d do all in my power to follow in this woman’s footsteps. This beautiful woman is my mother and she as is radiant today as when she was thirty. It’s all because of her attitude, because like everyone else, she too, she has had her share of ups and downs in life.
As for my age, I’ll be the first to tell it. I’m fifty-eight. Do I feel it and look it? I have no idea, because I am not sure what fifth-eight looks like and as far as feeling it, again, I have no idea what I’m supposed to feel like. I do know I’m happier now that I was when I was twenty. I feel I know where I am as far as my purpose in life is concerned and feel content. I call this feeling grounded. When I look in the mirror, what do I see? Well, to be honest with you, and I try to be 100% honest in all that I say in my books, there are days I think I look as I’ve been hit by a train, but then let’s be truthful, we al pick on ourselves and see things others don’t. For the most part, which is 99% of the time, when I look in the mirror, I just see Dee, the same person who’s always looked back to me and I don’t put any number on her, any more than I do other people. We are all just who we are; age doesn’t have to have a particular look. Age is just a number. What makes us all special is the person that we are and that’s what I see when I look at others.
I believe and I have always believed, we all encounter problems as we age. Some have more, some have less, but they don’t have to destroy us. The choice is ours. As we age, if we don’t like something about ourselves, bet it inward or outward, we can change it and I think this is great. Older – me, certainly I am, but let it get me down, never, because my role model hasn’t let it get her down. Maybe I, too, can be an inspiration to someone, just as she’s been to me. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if this is what all of us could do?
Excerpt from “Anthology of Dee’s Favorite Works by D’Entress Ratcliff