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Escaping youth through freedom of age

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JULY 26, 2023

I often dream of my life coming to a close. 

I dream of a bittersweet symbolic and literal end, one that releases me from the silly trivialities of life. I want to be old and nagging, receiving movie theater and bus discounts for the suffering I have endured in my very human experience. 

I want to live a life that has already been lived for me. 

I want to have already done the hard stuff: gotten the girl, clawed my way up and through the rat race and learned who I am. I want to have already been screwed over. I want to be wise and absolutely obsolete.  

I want to grow old and older with the ones I love. I want to wake up every morning, being treasured and adored despite my dropping skin and wrinkle-covered face. I will wake up knowing that I am unconditionally loved for my abounding heart and soul rather than the body I used to reside in — knowing that I love her all the same, on my sleeve and unapologetically. 

I want to be comfortable naked, with the developing marks, spots and crevices that were never quite there before. I want to look back on old photos of myself and smile — finally able to appreciate myself and all the different imperfect forms I have taken, now that my being has evolved into her last physical shape. 

I want to be past the point of commodification and objectification — if there even is such a point in a woman’s life. I want to walk into a room and be invisible to the unwanted, lingering eyes of men. Then, when I am no longer a piece of meat, I may finally be deemed a person worthy of respect. I want to be a being without expectations. 

I want to learn and have learned that my collection of wisdom is three times as vast and twice as deep than I ever could’ve imagined. 

I want to be past my prime. Blowing my retirement money on painting and pottery classes, on elderly tango workshops and thanking God the work it took to collect those monthly checks is long gone. 

I want to spend my last years developing myself rather than advancing my career. I want to have lived my life for happiness, rather than success. I want to live out my last hurrahs, without even knowing they’d be the last. I want last kisses, last laughs and last questions — along with some last answers. 

I want to be a cynically hilarious and vaguely inappropriate old bat, who occasionally nags her children as well as her children’s children. 

Ironically, since at this point in my life I am not particularly inclined to be a mother, I do want to be and see myself as a grandmother. I’d be an old witch who lives in the scenic middle of nowhere, in a stretch of land between the mountains and the sea, who is affectionately referred to as “gumdrop” by her grandchildren. 

I dream of the melodic limbo, the joy, fear and the freedom — of a rope tightly strung, embroidered between our mortality and our potentiality. It is one that I happily dance upon, knowing that one day soon, I will, inevitably, misstep. 

So, with every passing day I dance bigger, looser and more fulfilled with the joy that collects in the presence of fear. 

I wish to savor bitter espresso, I want to ride roller coasters and I want a metal hip that sets off each airport metal detector. I want to fill up on bread for every meal, go to Olive Garden for lunch in the middle of the week and have a sense of humor that is an amalgamation of the intense life I’ve led. 

I want to grow a magical garden and be buried there as a legacy, decomposing in my own work — giving life to something else purely and selflessly, truly becoming a part of nature. 

I want to taste the breath of life for the very last time. Perhaps, my last will be my real first: a breath taken outside the vastness of what many consider to be the very essence of life.

I think I want all of this because I would like to be naive again, the way a child is about the rest of their life and what is to come. 

I want to be treasured and nurtured as if I was born anew. I want to collect the life I created in boxes brimming with old photos that I stash under my mattress like quick cash. I want to sleep directly over the life I created, next to the girl I love, with fast-fading memories and worsening eyesight. I want to sleepwalk through the final sweet moments I have of experience. 

I want it to be beautiful. I want it to be on the cusp of everything.

Jordan Montero writes the Wednesday column on the connection between physical objects and emotional expierences. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.

JULY 26, 2023