Growing Older: Reader Essay by Agnes Griffiths

From Minnesota Alumni Magazine Winter 2017

It’s an early, sunny morning, the beginning of another day. I take a quick glance in the mirror and turn away as another wrinkle has homesteaded on my brow. I pick up the early edition of the daily hometown newspaper and as I am doing so I look at my hands, which now show bulging veins mimicking railroad tracks, brown aging spots, and the indent of a wedding ring removed long ago. My hands have experienced countless touches: the smoothness of a baby’s face, cradling my son as death was nearing, turning the pages of a favorite worn-out book, mixing cookie dough, suddenly realizing that my hands have become liberated of so many tasks of daily living. I go to the mailbox wearing my favorite well-worn pink nightgown, I rest in my easy chair a bit longer, I sip another cup of coffee, and ponder my day. Have I aged along with my liberation? Definitely.

Another sunlit, autumn day and I rock just a bit longer. My mind travels back in time to a high school teacher’s words, “You should become a teacher.” I realize I have been a teacher throughout my life. I have taught my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren the wonders of reading, observing, exploring, kindness, humility, empathy, kind deeds, courtesy, honesty, and myriad other valued traits that my years of aging have manifested.

This crisp October morning I awake to the sound of a cardinal near my window and I say, to no one in particular, how did I get to be 85 years old?

- Agnes Griffiths, Mankato

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