Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Old age is not for sissies

It's been a busy week. Haven't you heard? We started a new nonprofit. And with it, my stress levels are through the roof again and the fears and insecurities are back again. I didn't want to start another heavy topic today, because I would not want to draw attention away from the launch of FDAAF, as soft as it was, but I wanted to share with you what happened to me last week, if only briefly. As on any other Wednesday, I went to see a movie at the local arthouse cinema, just few steps away from my apartment. It's the college discount night and it's rarely busy. But the audience seemed pretty full when I got there. The film was called"Quartet" with who I assumed was John Cleese, but tuned out to be Billy Connolly, about the residents  of a home for retired musicians putting on yet another show and living life to the fullest. And if you looked around the theatre in what felt like life imitating art, there where crutches and walking sticks everywhere. The audience were mostly seniors, very animated about  the film, having a blast and very vocal about the scenes they did and didn't enjoy. They didn't bother to filter themselves or think about what was appropriate or what would a stranger think. Neither did the characters in the movie. They were there to have fun. And it made me think of old age as something you don't necessarily need to fear all your youth, but something you earn. A testament of your life. A life full of accomplishment and wonder - a life well lived. And yet, the characters in the film showed no signs of slowing down, they were all looking forward, perhaps more liberated from the constraints of the society, self consciousness and fear. And it seemed to me that so were the viewers. Not reminiscing their past for the most part, although past is something to be proud of and cherished, but being in the now and all about tomorrow. I needed something to get me out of that funk!  As earlier in the week I've discovered that Dana Marshall, a Cerebral Palsy and wheelchair champion and activist has passed away I have been in some ways contemplating my own life. There are things you expect when you have a disability as you age if you spend most of your day in a wheelchair. Pain and internal organ problems and more mobility issues. It's something  in the back of your mind even when you chase the dark thoughts away. I don't know what will happen- I decided not to worry about it. But as I watched the movie and I glanced at the audience I thought, "Those people know how to live!" Bette Davis, quoted in the film said "Old age is not for sissies". And it rings true, on screen and off.

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