“A heart never broken is pristine and will never know the joy of being healed.” Warren S. Patrick, Townshend, VT
A Letter to the Editor of the Brattleboro Reformer from Mr. Warren S. Patrick of Vermont.
Growing old and enjoying it
Editor of the Reformer:
I am often asked how I feel about growing old. My reply is that I don’t truly think of myself as old. It is an interesting question and I have given it considerable thought. I ended up by deciding that old age is a gift to be treasured. I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be.
Oh, by the way, I don’t mean my body. Although I am in fairly good condition physically and mentally and stay active in both areas, I sometimes regret the wrinkles, thin hair and growing paunch. I am very aware of that guy looking back at me from the mirror. But I don’t agonize over it very long. I am what I am. I would never trade my body or my life experiences, my loving family or my loyal friends for anything.
As I have aged, I have become more kind to myself. I’ve become my own friend. I don’t chide myself for eating that extra cookie or having a banana split. Or for buying that silly gecko that hangs on my wall. I am entitled to being a little messy, a bit extravagant, to eat some things that perhaps I shouldn’t.
I have seen too many friends leave this world before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging. I will dance with the women when there is an opportunity. I will play a joke or tell a funny story for a laugh which helps everyone forget their troubles for a moment. If I wish, I will recall precious times spent with my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren.
Young people may think I am an old fogey, but they, too, will grow old. Now, at ninety-nine, that’s 99, I am young at heart. I know sometimes I am forgetful, but then, some things are best forgotten. I will always remember the important things in my life.
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 near you or far away is suffering? But broken hearts are what gives us strength and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and will never know the joy of being healed.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair, what there is of it, turn gray and to have laughs etched into my face as wrinkles. So many have died before their hair turned grey and they missed the pleasure of growing old. I count my blessings every day and thank my God for the Guardian Angel sent to watch over me. My prayer is that your God will be with you, too, and likewise you will fully enjoy his blessings.
Warren S. Patrick,
West River Valley Assisted Living, Townshend, July 12