On a recent camping trip, I stopped to smell the roses and learned a lesson about aging. A rose by any other color…no, that’s not how Shakespeare said it.
The day dawned with cloudless blue skies. Joy! I would spend the day with my sister who was driving from Lincoln City to the campground in Silverton. We’d hike the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park.
We’ve hiked it before. About seven years ago.
She texted the night before to say what time she thought she’d arrive. At the appointed hour (or in this case half-hour), I walked toward the place I told her we’d meet. Along the dusty gravel road frequented by RVs of every size, color, and weight class, the owners of the resort had planted rose bushes.
These miniature roses screamed joy and beauty.
“Look at the different colors. I wonder if they smell.” I walked over and poked my nose against a bright bubble gum bloom and sniffed.
But the mystery of the color variations became apparent at close range. The buds were darkest pink, nearly fuchsia. Healthy blooms flowered in the deep pink of Hubba Bubba. Those flowers past their prime faded to a carnation pink and even to white. A few plain petals clung tenaciously to a brown fuzzy center.
“The older ones lighten up.”
As the words exited my mouth, they burrowed into my ears. And even deeper.
The older roses on the bush got lighter in color. Do older people “lighten up.” Too?
In the sense of, “Lighten up a little. Stop being so serious.”
Immediately, I recounted numerous ways I have grown less dogmatic as I’ve aged.
- I don’t have always be right
- The way I’ve always done it might not be the best way. It certainly isn’t the only way
- My opinion has no more value than that of any other person
- If people aren’t on time, it doesn’t mean they’re disrespecting me or the event
- Success isn’t about money or status. It’s about meeting goals and attaining a higher standard
So many older people from my childhood didn’t lighten up as they aged. They became more dogmatic and less diplomatic in the way they stated their opinions and beliefs. I never wanted to be that way.
I choose to be like these older roses, lightening up. I can still be identified as a rose, but there’s no reason my color should infringe on the perceived beauty other have in their lives.
A rose of a different color is still arose.
Can’t we appreciate the beauty of a world where the rightness of one person doesn’t have to declare wrongness for another