“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

-Viktor Frankl 

Last week I noticed I was running low on shaving cream. In the old days — and I don’t mean the ’60s — I would have tucked that away in the back of my mind and, eventually, I would have remembered to buy some more shaving cream, probably as I was already standing in the checkout line somewhere or perhaps as I was already driving past a local Walgreen’s.

However, there are two difficulties with the above scenario: First, what I nowadays tuck away in the back of my mind sometimes just gets stuck there.

Second, in this time of flattening the curve, I don’t go shopping in public.

As chance would have it, I was about to fill a prescription online and have it delivered to my front porch. I managed to get shaving cream included with that Rx delivery, but the selection was pretty thin since most of the familiar shaving cream was out of stock online. No Gillette Foamy, no Edge, no Barbasol.

I was forced to purchase oatmeal-based shea butter shaving cream, something I’d never even heard of before. Who knew? And guess what? It works really, really well! One of the smoothest, most comfortable and enjoyable shaves I’ve ever experienced.

I started to think, with regret, about how many thousands of shaves I’d had with the old, clunky, mainstream Gillette stuff. And about how few shaves I might have left with my new-discovery shave cream. I wished I’d known about this stuff years ago, and look what I’ve missed out on! Too bad this discovery came so late in my life.

But wait, I thought, even if I get just a few years or even just a handful of outstanding shaves out of this, they each feel so smooth and easy and bring a smile to my face. It’s better to have the experience than never at all. 

I realized that the value is not in how long we get to savor an experience but in knowing the possibility of such experience exists. It’s never too late to have a really smooth shave!

This is the opportunity that aging affords us. Indeed, this is one of the gifts we can give to ourselves if we age with intention.

And I was grateful that I had to order some weird shaving cream online because of the pandemic. I appreciated that, even with its horrific downside, a crisis can provide both danger and opportunity.

Oh, and here’s three more things I no longer take for granted:

I have health insurance so I can get an affordable prescription.

I have a home to have the Rx and shave cream delivered to, and where I can shelter-in-place.

I have a pension and a credit card to pay for the delivery.

Stay tuned:

The Wabi Sabi Film Festival is going digital! Our April 24 screening of the documentary Alive Inside at Classic Cinemas’ Lake Theatre in downtown Oak Park had to be postponed because of sheltering-in-place. Later this month, Growing Community Media and A Tribe Called Aging will present Alive Inside online, free to the community, immediately followed by a ZOOM group discussion. Stay tuned for details. And don’t forget the Wabi Sabi Film Festival’s July 24 screening of the powerful documentary GenSilent.

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