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Perspective: Happy Birthday To Me


I am writing this on my birthday, September 15th. It’s a little shocking to look into the mirror and see this grey-haired woman, shrunken by an inch and wrinkled in places I never knew existed.

In my mind’s eye, I am youngish, healthy, and very strong. In real time, I am not as strong as I was at 30 (no surprise there). My mind has not caught up with my body. Age is a story we made up.

I am alive, living a life I love, surrounded by people who care about me, watching our family grow, adding great-grandchildren to our growing family. How is it I struggle with being at peace around aging? I know the American culture little values the wisdom and experience of elder people. We push anti-aging products, turning wrinkles into wounds rather than badges of honor.

As I age, which is better than the alternative, I am aware of the world around me, the joys, the sorrows, the fear of having enough to live out my life as I choose, while knowing my family will help with whatever comes. The possibility of death is closer now. I know I bring a wealth of knowledge and life to the table and I am grateful when my family and friends invite me to share my wisdom.

Today I celebrate being born, I cherish it all -- the pain and suffering of the past, the joy of the present and the promise of the future. It’s all here on this the happiest birthday of them all.

I’m Lou Ness and that’s my Perspective.

Lou Ness has been working in service to people for decades. She has headed church-based programs in Rockford and served as Director of the Rockford Police Chaplains Program. She was an early pioneer in the domestic violence community.