Let’s Dance.

by misslampa

I just got myself a pension-cum-insurance plan, one that I’d have to pay with dear money for the next five years, and one that would take another twenty to mature. It feels like the adult thing to do after joining an established cooperative and investing in stocks, but at the same time, I can’t help but laugh at myself because it was something I wouldn’t think of doing five or ten years ago. And it wasn’t just because I was strapped for cash.

Thing is, when I was between the ages of 17 and 21, part of my great, grand plan was to die at 55. I wanted to live a long and glorious life, but leave before decay and senility got the better of me. I wanted to grow old enough to be considered wise but not too old so as to be deemed irrelevant, and I hated the thought of having to weep by my husband’s coffin. Too much drama for my feeble heart to take, I told myself.

I wanted to go at the ripe old age of 55, when I can already use age as an excuse to be frank and candid and even accusatory, but way before people can dismiss any of my ideas as nothing but the ramblings of an old, cantankerous woman who can’t deal with the fact that she’s past her prime. No, I had no plans of committing suicide, and I wasn’t going to provoke someone into killing me either. It’s just that for some reason, I was convinced that the universe will conspire to have me dead at 55.

Weird, right? Utterly, unbelievably weird.

It couldn’t have possibly been because of my life then, because although it wasn’t always perfect, it was almost always dandy. I remember having good friends, being active in several clubs, acing my exams, doing well in my first job, and making good memories with friends and family. I remember being happy in real life, so it must have been all those depressing films that I watched after I graduated from high school, when I thought I knew what loss and sorrow meant just because I’ve seen way too many movies and read way too many novels with protagonists who died miserably and unexpectedly.

I’m 27 now, so it’s actually not that long ago. But for the life of me, I really can’t remember why I wanted to die relatively young, and why I thought being old meant being lonely. I know I’m not the only one who used to think like this, though, and I’m sure many others still have this mindset. After all, Gerascophobia, or the fear of growing old or aging, is a legitimate dictionary entry, and so are all the anxieties which are associated with it.

But so are life and living it joyfully, thankfully, truthfully. So are awe and wonder and travel and adventure. So are love and forgiveness and the kindness of strangers. So are faith and failure and the grace to laugh at oneself before trying again. So is the soft and soothing pitter-patter of rain on my roof on a cold evening like tonight, when I can’t help but be thankful that in the last six or seven years, something in me changed. That now I can look life in the face and say, “I think I get you now. We can keep doing the tango until I’m old and gray. I just got myself insured, you know.”

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