I saw a bumper sticker a few days ago that read: “Remember your grandparents were at Woodstock” and it got me thinking.
It may be difficult to conjure images of today’s gray-hairs adorned in tie-dyed rags, torn jeans and stringy long hair, smoking pot and getting jiggy with it while rolling around in muddy fields, but I’m convinced it happened.
And those from the Woodstock generation can back me up.
Now, they’re older and retired, after spending a life of doing who knows what; those youths of promise and vitality long passed.
Palm Springs may be awash in a sea of gray, but one thing I’ve learned from these desert dwellers is to never underestimate the power of that gray.
These fires run deep.
Dylan Thomas once wrote: “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
I never understood what that concept meant until recently.
I was hiking up the Frank Bogert Trail and came across an elderly couple making their way down. It was a bit of a steep hill, so I was surprised to see them coming down – and at quite a rapid pace I might add!
This caused me to question my assumptions of aging – they appeared to be in their seventies, yet they were bounding down that hill with more vitality than any 20-year-old. I wondered how they made this mountain trek seem like wading through so much tissue paper.
I was also reminded that I hike, practice yoga, frequent the gym, and take long and splendiferous walks. All these activities make the getting gray part more agreeable. My friends ask, “Why the intent? You certainly don’t look like Superman.”
The only response I can provide comes from deep within – this is me raging against that good night.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d say I’m closer to the early side of a sunset; still have a ways to get to that good night and close of day.
But, I know it’s in my future – and I’m gonna put up one heck of a good fight before the knock out.
I have two friends who are 70, which to some may seem ancient, but when you meet them you would swear they are both in their early sixties. Both are vital, current and can be seen at Bruno Mars and J-Lo concerts.
I uphold them as archetypes of where I want to be in 10 years, you know the hipster g-parent role model. They are a far cry from my own grandmothers at that age: all roll-up knee high stockings, comfortable smocks and house slippers.
Times certainly have changed – and for the better too I might add.
I don’t think folks feel as compelled to “act their age” any more. I mean, who created these definitions anyway?
I see what a vibrant community Palm Springs is. How those in their sixties bloody each other at pickle ball and can be seen cruising down Palm Canyon Drive on street bikes. They are out enjoying long evenings over the warm summer nights and strolling arm in arm at VillageFest.
This is how life should be regardless of age, but with them it takes on added weight.
I’m sure in the back of their minds they may be hearing, “Old age should burn and rave at close of day!”
The fact of the matter is they’re living their lives with as much vitality as they have. They are determined to make the bestest, mostest, happiest, whateverest remains of what is left.
I have come to admire that, and as I age, I am indeed aware of how deep these fires run – and how they will not be extinguished without a good fight.
And with that, I end this as “Poolside From PS.”