An antique covered bridge delivers you into the tiny center of Cornwall with fanfare, as the booming sound of tires on wood reverberates around you. The tiny village sits seemingly sheltered from this century, in the northwest corner of Connecticut, surrounded by mountains and a river.
We always take this detour off the main road and over the bridge. We pull over by the river, Dave and I, with our coffee and cameras. He goes to the river’s edge, to get the perfect shot of the Housatonic passing under the bridge. I stare at the antique buildings and surrounding gardens, trying to see history, to see the town as it once was.
I compulsively take pictures antique homes and buildings. I love the history, style, details and charm.
They’re old, yet beaming with beauty. They rarely show signs of giving in to modern ways and tastes, yet they’re full of charm. And best of all – they have stories. They sit on the side of a river, telling me of slow, quiet days. They say that age brings great value, beauty and charm.
Also, they say that getting old doesn’t have to suck.
And this proves to me that Dave is WRONG. The day before we drove across the bridge with our coffee and our cameras, we climbed a little mountain. At the top of the Melville Path (where Herman Melville was inspired to write Moby Dick), Dave made an entirely depressing statement.
You see, I stood dreamily on the mountaintop , trying to absorb the magical writer essence left in the rocks where Melville and Hawthorne toasted to their success when Dave said…
“It looks like it’s all down hill from here, just like our lives.”
He laughed a little, but he wasn’t exactly kidding. Seriously? I spent the remainder of the hike harassing and questioning him. He may be aging, but his boyish immaturity is still completely intact. I swear, I tried to stop him from peeing off the side of the mountain. I was tempted to leave him with his obvious kin folk at Devil’s Pulpit. He embraced the idea.
I tried to convince him that the best is yet to come, but he refused to buy into my optimism. God help me, I married a realist! It doesn’t matter.
I know that I’m just getting started. And when I’m actually old (because middle age doesn’t qualify), I plan on being lovely and wise. Like an antique home.
It takes time to become a lovely antique, full of charm and character and quirkiness. I’m working towards something great. I’m already unreasonably cold in the winter. My foundation already appears a bit shaky at times, but I don’t crumble. I’m set in my discontent-yet-idealistic-at-heart gen-x ways, refusing to give in to trends like not being repulsed by bearded men and using the word bae.
I don’t expect everyone to love me or even like me. Not your taste? Prefer something more contemporary? I’m more than okay with it. I’m happy about it. Those who love me? They see past my frown lines and appreciate my other qualities. Certain qualities can only be obtained by weathering a variety of storms for a good long time.
So, the next time someone tries to tell you it’s all down hill, or the best of your life is behind you, or a mirror takes an all up in your face attitude, do what I do. Look past the wrinkles and stray gray hairs. See your charm, wisdom and character. It’s there and it’s expanding every damn day.
And know that there are mountains to climb and coffee to drink. So obviously, the best is yet to come.
*The Melville Path and Monument Mountain are located in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. You can read more about it here. Learn more about the historic West Cornwall Bridge here.