Old Age is a gift!

Submitted by Charlene L.
Omaha, NE

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt. And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!) but I don’t agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life and my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly.

As I’ve aged, I’ve become more kind and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie or for not making my bed or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn’t need, but looks so “avant garde” on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon - before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60’s & 70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love…. I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to—despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one or when a child suffers, or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car?

But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it)

May our friendship never come apart especially when it’s straight from the Heart! May you always have a rainbow of smiles on your face and in your heart forever and ever!

Friends forever!

What is Beauty?

What is Beauty? Its not about the lines on the face or the gray in the hair - it's about the wisdom behind them. Rather than lamenting the passing of the years, celebrate what you have achieved, learned and earned, for your benefit and the benefit of others.

Andrew and the trains

Three year old Andrew enjoys playing with Ken's
train layout. Its the first thing he wants to do when he comes over our house. "Grandpa!! Lets play with trains!!"

Grandpa has a big model train set in the base
ment and Andrew is getting to be a Master Engineer when it comes to adjusting speed, blowing the whistle and pulling into the depot.

The Train Engineer Wannabe

Andrew's Grandpa Ken is a member of the Nebraska-Iowa RR model train club here in Nebraska and Andrew learned to love trains at an early age (yep, even earlier than his 2 1/2 years).

The club has a free train facility at Nebraska Crossing located on the Interstate between Omaha and Lincoln where the guys keep their trains and run them for the general public. Its a big place and has plenty of room for the trains and for the children and their parents to wander around looking at each of the modules. Members are always willing to discuss their trains, show them off, and invite the visitors to join the train club.  The facility is open on Saturdays from noon to 4:00.

The facility has 7 different train layouts each suited to whichever size model trains the members own.
Some are 0 scale others are HO, N and O27. Each layout has buildings and scenery, some have mountains and tunnels and enough track to run 2 or 3 trains at a time.

Andrew and I went to see the trains on Saturday. He was awed by the many different trains, but his very favorite was the Thomas the Train layout. Thomas, Percy, James, and Gordon w
ere all there.

Chick, one of the train club members, was in charge of the Thomas the Train table. He showed Andrew how to press the red button that made the train whistle blow and from then on he was Andrew's best friend! Andrew would stand next to Chick and would gently tap his arm and say "I blow whistle now?", Chick would nod "yes" and Andrew would have Thomas toot tooting all around the track.

It was a fun way to spend a hot Nebraska afternoon....in an air-conditioned building surrounded by model trains, train books and guys who were more than willing to pick up little boys and girls to give them a better look at the trains going around the tracks.

And, if you're lucky, you'll see a real train engineer dressed in his striped overalls and cap....he'll make his train toot-toot for you too!