What’s life like when you’re 90 years old? What will the world be like roughly 30 years from now, when I turn 90? Growing old freaks me out a little bit. Having to depend on others to walk you to the bathroom, having someone else cut up your food to eat, experiencing a weakening of your senses slowly, gradually. Growing old is inevitable. It is, to me, a bit scary.
My grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday a few days ago. She’s an elegant, beautiful lady who’s had a lot of happy milestones in her life. More than a hundred people came to her birthday party last weekend. Friends and family flew in from all over the country and the world to share that milestone birthday with her. It was extremely touching.
Part of the celebration was a surprise video from one of the grandchildren. The 8-minuter showed pictures from various parts of her life — as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother, a friend, a sibling. There was hardly a dry eye after the video was done. It was truly a celebration of her life.
What stood out in the video was the bond of family. It showed how the family grew from just her, my grandfather and their eldest child to the clan of over thirty we are today. It was what was consistent through all photos — the love of family, the power of good relationships. “Friends come and go but family is forever.”
“Are you happy, Maymee?” I asked her towards the end of the party. “I’m very happy, Toni,” she said, her voice cracking, her eyes shiny with tears. She emphasized her happiness by touching my wrist and shaking it a bit, then nodding her head at the same time. “Very happy.”
Perhaps that is what can keep me from being scared of aging — the knowledge that family will always be there to celebrate with you, whether it’s your 37th, 50th or 90th, whether it’s a birthday or simply a celebration that an ordinary day went by without a hitch. Friends have indeed come and gone from my life, but family ties have stayed strong. I cherish the friendships I have, but my relationships with my sisters outweighs those. My bond with my parents remain solid. Cousins are also friends. Best of all, my husband is my best friend, along with my little boy. No matter what life brings, for as long as I’ve got my family, for as long we’ve got each other, we’ll be okay. I’ll be okay.
Aging still freaks me out a bit, but I know I can count on my sisters to shout a little bit louder when my hearing goes. I know I can count on my husband to remind me of things I might slowly start forgetting. So here’s to 90 years, to long life, to aging gracefully and happily. Growing old is inevitable, but who says you shouldn’t enjoy the road to old age? And when you’ve reached old age, who says you shouldn’t carry on enjoying it? Certainly not my 90-year-old grandmother. Her family makes sure of it.