So much emphasis is put on staying young in our culture. People reach age milestones and they panic because they feel they are getting old. They search for the fountain of youth and products to make them look and feel younger. What ever happened to aging gracefully and enjoying our golden years?
In the past couple of years, the area we live in and the home we live in have reached milestones. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park celebrated its 75th anniversary 2 years ago. The Blue Ridge Parkway celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, and our home, The Windover Inn Bed & Breakfast had its 100th birthday. This year it's the 75th Anniversary of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest in the Pisgah National Forest and a century since The Windover Inn's first guest! These milestones reminded me how seldom people want to celebrate their later year milestones. It's made me take stock of what my own aging means, and to notice how much alike the aging process and it's impact is for all living and even nonliving things.
Is our aging and weathering much different than the forest, our home or the garden? As I'm slowing down, all around me I see my children blooming, our grandchildren sprouting. A strong foundation of a healthy lifestyle in mind, body and spirit helps me to adjust to the weathering that could make me more brittle and vulnerable in a storm. And yes, none of it comes without hardwork and TLC. But most of all, I find comfort in the examples of how the forest and our old house were able to be restored, and how the life cycle continues on without us - just differently.