“When you realize that you will never be this young again but this is the first time you have ever been this old.” – Kalyn Roseanne Livernois.
I am standing in the kitchen making Tea and listening to music, when suddenly I look at Junior who is sleeping about a feet away from where I am standing. This moment really got to my heart. Just standing there and the first thought that flashed in my mind, “How fragile his body has become, but spirits still high.”
Just then, I don’t feel at home in my own skin. There used to be the comfort of enjoying my evening Tea while Junior slept besides me; which I called “Me Time.” When I realized that Junior is no more a puppy, but this is the first time he has ever been this old. When I suddenly can’t remember how he got this old and is no more a young agile dog, and at the same time he is just as much energetic as he was few years ago.
Nostalgia hit me, and all the memories suddenly flashed in front me. The day I bought Junior home; a palm size puppy, so soft and fluffy. And as days passed, he grew up in no time. A big energetic dog who made his presence felt at every minute of the day. Destroying furniture, jumping around, zoomies, spilling water, etc., and most importantly, Junior jumping on me while I made Tea to eat lemongrass. At the same time, I was younger, and had all the energy to cater to him at all times.
My heartbeats are racing now with thoughts of getting old. Additionally, seeing Junior motionless just staring at me while I am drowned in my thoughts and staring at him back. His bones are weak now, his eyes no longer holds the bright sharp vision, his fur is getting dull, and his energy gets drained in no time.
I am feeling the cracking in my bones, the strain of my heart, and the aching that comes with growing up. The past 10 years of reminiscence of loving, lost love, adventure, a hunger for home (whatever “home” means), nostalgia, angst, etc. At this point of time, I just want someone to look at me in the face and say, “I know exactly how you feel and it is ok to grow old.”
When I was younger and Junior was a puppy, I thought aging would be an achievement. Each year that passed marked one step closer to adulthood. However, right at this moment, I realized I am not young anymore and neither is Junior. But I also appreciate the years we spent together. The ups and downs, the running around and bedtime, the tears and laughter, the hugs and sloppy kisses, the walks and drives, the illness and good health, the frustrations and patience, and the love and togetherness.
The sight of Junior portrays that he aged gracefully. And he helped me age gracefully. Aging is inevitable. So why not do it joyfully? Without realization, we did just that. The strength of pulling ourselves through all the bad times, yet with enthusiasm and still kicking it is a proof that we are aging gracefully.
Junior is not jumping on me to eat lemongrass anymore, but his presence is enough for me to keep going and do my best to give him a comfortable old age.
The song is over. The Tea is done. I am out of trance. I can hear my heartbeats. I am breathing in and out. Poured the Tea in my cup and I walk outside to sit on the couch. Just then, Junior got up and put his head on my lap and went off to sleep. Some things never change. I feel at home again. This is my “Me Time.” One day, we all will leave this place, but that’s not today.