Growing older, growing wiser, and everything in between

This letter was sent to us by a dear friend, Mrs. Greta Heugel. Greta received the letter from her son and she updated it as it applied to her own life. She plans to read the letter at her church circle meeting in March as part of her devotions and will dedicate it to a beautiful 93-year-old friend of hers. Thank you, Greta, for sharing your words of wisdom with us.


I want to dedicate this to all the over-90 persons I know.

I was asked the question: “Do you like being old?”
How dare anyone think I am old. Older, perhaps, but not old.
I am older than most of you, but being 90 is no big thing.
I thought about the question before I answered.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon, before they understood the greatest freedom that comes with aging. Whose business is it, if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 am or sleep until noon.

I will dance with myself (even with a walker) to those wonderful tunes of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s and if, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach (if I can get someone to drive me there) 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 of 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, eventually, I 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 gives 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 blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn white 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 to silver or white. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less what other people think. I don’t question myself any more. I’ve earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question:
I like being old.
It has set me free.
I even like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever, but while I am here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been
or worrying what will be.

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