"Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many." Unknown

I love Greek mythology. There is always a story that fits my daily life and thoughts.

Right now I’m quite into Oedipus (and Sophocles because one of my nieces is playing «Antigone» right now).

For those of you who are not this interested in mythology, Oedipus had a long life filled with tragedy. Well myths are seldom happy stories but they are filled with wisdom.

To make it short, Oedipus is travelling to Thebes. At the city doors, he meets a Sphynx.

(This creature asked a riddle to every traveller on his way toThebes. Since the answer was always wrong, it then killed its victim.)

The riddle: «What walks on four feet in the morning, on two in the afternoon and three at night?»

Oedipus’ answer:
«Man - as an infant, he crawls on all fours; as an adult, he walks on two legs; when he gets old, he relies on a walking stick.»

Right answer, of course. End of the Sphinx. Thebes is free again and the story goes on...

This riddle and its answer are the story of our life.

We are born. We grow up and we get old.

Some say that at the very second we are born, we start aging and we are on our way to death. Which can be true to a scientific mind but very unsatisfactory for people like you and me.

And then tragedy strikes.

Someone takes his own life.  Others die in accidents.  People suffer from cancers or terrible diseases. Wars and revolutions claim lives - children, adults and old people.

I remember lying on an hospital bed, 52 months ago, while emergency physicians were trying to stop a raging infection after some cancer related surgery. I felt so tired and feverish that I never even realized that I was dying.

Somehow a miracle happened and I survived.

I still had a very hard chemo to face and my future looked rather bleak.

Then Popeye (who hadn’t left my side for a long time) said something that I found quite interesting at the time and which has never left my mind ever since.

«From now on, every day of your life is extra. Now you have to live as fully as you can.»

Those of you who know me are already aware that I’m surviving from a very bad cancer.

To all of you who are alive, feeling good or sick, young and old alike, I only have one thing to say...

«Do not regret getting older. It is a privilege denied to many.»

I feel so glad my hair is turning white. I feel so glad I have lines on my face. (Well sometimes I’d really like to look much younger!)

I feel glad even though I know that I will no longer do a lot of things I enjoyed doing...

Because all this is extra and I AM ALIVE and GETTING OLDER every day.

Wishing I’ll get even older and older. And welcoming the very idea of getting older with so much joy.

Because so many people around me never had this chance and will forever be 6 months old, 9, 18, 37, 40, 62, 81 years old...

This post is dedicated to my dear sister Myrna who kind of woke me up with her last post. Thank you for writing about "Do not regret getting older."

This post is also dedicated to my dear Yvonne who should have been 82 today.

*Good Luck, and Good Night*


Layla said...

I love you and I an so grateful to have the opportunity to know you. You are quite incredible!

Myrna said...

I still don't know where Josie found that quote--it started us all thinking about the privilege of being alive, I suppose. I love you too, ma soeur, and I love you too, beautiful Layla! We are family! :o)

Nancy said...

I'm glad you are getting older, too. :)

It really is amazing, how quickly things can go from alive and well to alive and not-so-well or even to not alive at all.

We should all follow Popeye's advice and live each day like it's "extra" because, really, it is.