A comment made by Laura Linney in Frank Bruni’s wonderful profile of her in last week’s New York Times Magazine, stopped me in my tracks.
“The undertow of it deals with all of the stuff I’ve been obsessing about anyway: time. Living. Aging. Mostly, the privilege of aging.”
Those last four words “the privilege of aging” brought me up short, instantly putting my greying hair, creaky joints and and crow’s feet in perspective. Because it is a privilege to age. To wake up each morning, however stiffly, and see my husband asleep beside me. It is a privilege to have passed around the sun enough times to be comfortable in my skin, even if I occasionally bemoan its lost elasticity and those little taggy things that seem to crop up out of nowhere like mushrooms after a summer rain.
It is a privilege to have aged years enough to see my kids graduated from college and leading lives of creativity and promise. It is a privilege to have turned hundreds of calendar pages, aware of the passage of time as I filled them up with notes about PTO Book Fairs and orthodotist appointments, Bar and Bat Mitzvah lessons, reminders to send in a check for drivers ed lessons and graduation photographs. Now I jot down the homecomings. The red-eye from LAX and the one from LGA.
I’ve aged so many years that our family room couch is now on its third re-upholstering. Perhaps that says less about the years and more about how tough we are on furniture but still, one of me, three fabric selections. I’ve gone thru so many fashion swings that some of the things I held on to are now back in style. Time is the magic wand that transforms yesterday’s clothes into vintage; but only by virtue of the privilege of aging.
This aging thing is scary. I look in the mirror and worry: is that spot on my cheek age or something the dermatologist should check out? Where did that bruise come from? Why can’t I remember how to spell apocryphal? Changes in our energies can be cause for lamentation or the opportunity for revising and renewing. None of it possible without the privilege of aging.
None of us knows when the privilege will take its leave. So for now, I say, “Thank you.” And also give a nod of thanks to Ms. Linney, a brilliant actress, as wise as she is talented.