My grandfather was 65 when he sat down to talk to Mrs. Saltonstall. She is seated more comfortably than he, in a padded armchair, while he perches on a piano bench. He shows by the tilt of his head his willingness to hear what she had to share. She speaks with assurance, her body appropriately aged, her viewpoint clearly worth listening to.
As my generation spends more and more money on anti-aging skin treatments, “plastic” surgery, and “bucket lists” of extreme activities, we seem to have lost sight of the benefits of aging. Erik Erikson said that the task of old age was “ego integrity vs despair.” Despair manifests as endless attempts to deny the reality of age. Ego integrity embraces age and allows one to say, “I have lived through a lot and I have a lot to share with you.”
May we speak with the authority we have earned living through our years.