Young Enough

Most days, I manage to forget just exactly how old I really am.  Never mind the fact that I’m always a little bit shocked when I look in the mirror, especially first thing in the morning when I’m not wearing any make up and my face is still puffy and my hair looks like what we used to call a “rat’s nest.”  Or that my trips to the mall tend to focus only on stores that cater to women of a certain age, which means that the clothes they sell are designed for maximum coverage and almost always feature a “control panel” somewhere in the mid section.  Or that I can no longer read anything without a pair of really strong reading glasses.  Or that I am now routinely offered senior citizen’s discounts by clerks who don’t look old enough to hold a job.  Denial is a wonderful thing, and over the years, I’ve gotten really, really, good at it.

But every once in a while something comes a long to remind me that my youthful days are now ancient history, and today was one of those days.

Ann's photoMy daughter had a birthday today.  I knew it was coming, since it lands on the same day every year.  I also knew how old she was, since it’s not that hard to count to thirty-two.  (Although I admit that up until a few days ago, I was under the impression that she was going to turn thirty-one, so I probably shouldn’t be bragging on my counting skills.)  Yet there’s something about knowing that my daughter, whose birth I can remember as if it happened just yesterday,  is turning thirty-two that just makes me feel old.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that what I’m really concerned about isn’t the actual number of years I’ve been on this earth.  I’m just trying to avoid behaving the way I have always thought old people did:  longing for the “good old days,” afraid to try new things, becoming obsessed with my health, and in general, letting the “young” people do all the important stuff and have all the fun.  Which, if you think about it, is just plain silly.

People of all ages are still actively engaged in the world around them, working hard to help others and contributing to their communities.  People of all ages are still having fun, still pursuing their interests, and still making new friends.  I think that the time has come for me to stop being afraid that turning a certain age means I have to somehow let go of the essence of who I really am and how I want to live my life.

Yes, my body isn’t as strong as it was and I have far more sags, bags and wrinkles than I would like.  But I can live with that.  It’s just the price I pay for the privilege of having lived for over sixty years, and all that I have experienced and learned in that time.  Underneath it all, I’m still me and always will be, no matter what my age.  Which means that getting older might not be so bad after all….

102 thoughts on “Young Enough

  1. I refer to the “good old days” when I think about people who held their tongue and smiled rather than lash out, people who cared about civility, people who held old people in esteem and honor. But, you are right, Ann. There is no reason for us to think old. You will be just fine even when you hit 70.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yes, there are some ways in which the “good old days” really were better! But I guess at this point all we can do is behave the way we know is right, and do our best to be the kind of “old” people we want to be. Thanks, Larry!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My daughter will be 41 soon.
    Wait! Your 60s are going to be a real revelation of what awaits you in real old age land.
    Hang in there and hold onto your sense of humor. You’re going to need it. Badly.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I need to repeat what cindimatography had to say before me. Our eldest son turns 51 in September. That will make my wife and me over 70. Nothing has changed much in our way we live. Last year we attended the wedding of our middle son, this year we rejoiced over the arrival of our fourth grandchild, we play bocce, we argue peacefully about little things no less than fifty years ago, in short we enjoy life. So what have a few wrinkles and a bald head to do with getting old? Not much, I would say!

    Liked by 4 people

    • That’s exactly the attitude I want to have, Peter! We may be getting older, but we’re still the same people we always were and are certainly not too old to live full and meaningful lives. It’s all about attitude….

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I know how you feel, my eldest just had a big party to celebrate her 40th (somewhat, but not totally, relieved by so many being surprised I was her mum lol) The really important thing is how old you are in heart and spirit (some youngsters I’ve come across would fit the joke died at 30 buried at 60). Each phase of our life is to be embraced and lived to the fullest. I like the analogy of vintage wine, matured, steeped in flavor, to be sipped slowly and with relish.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. It still gives me a jolt to look at recent photos of myself and see how badly I’ve deteriorated in just 8 years. 8 years ago, I still had a visible jawline and a trim waist; now the waist’s gone, so has the jawline and I have all manner of flaps and sags where you least want them. But the great thing is I haven’t lost my capacity to laugh myself silly. It still takes very little to tickle me. Whatever else age has begun to take away from me, it hasn’t taken away laughter. I can still laugh over the silliest things.
    And I’m real glad for that.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think as long as you can still enjoy life and laugh at all the silliness, you’re going to be just fine. As for the deterioration, I think it does happen in phases. We’ll go along for a few years with no visible difference, and then one morning, we wake up to all sorts of new wrinkles that we are sure weren’t there the night before….

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m about the same age as your daughter (I’m 30) bust of the time, people think I’m a lot younger (I wondered for a long time why I got strange looks when I mentioned my daughter was 7 until a coworker pointed out I look like I’m in my earlier 20s so I looked like a very young mom- not a 23 year old first time mom, like I was, then a coworker who had just graduated high school mistook me for being his age when I joined in a conversation with the phrase “Back when I was 21”
    Then yesterday, someone referred to me as the “older woman” and that hit me hard. It didn’t help that I already have pretty bad (at times) Osteoarthritis and I had the flare up of my nightmares- I was sitting down crying from the pain and every time I moved my leg, it felt like I was being stabbed.
    Times like that remind me I’m no longer a teen but also scare me for the future. I’m far from being old, but my body is already aging due to a genetic condition I was born with. I’m already scared of aging and showing my age. I know it’s stupid to worry about, but I don’t want to look like I’m middle aged when I get there, nor do I want to look old when I am. I’m also afraid of the ego hit of having a husband leave you for a younger woman (although my husband said he doesn’t understand why men do that after we met a woman who had it happen- he said he’d be ragged and old when I am, so he won’t be going anywhere and even though I’m “older” I’m only older by 2 years, so we’re basically the same age)

    I was given the advice to play the field before I got married, I also heard the advice to travel before settling. Traveling seems to be something that would be better at middle age- when you’re an empty nester and have the finances to travel. I have seen some older people who didn’t do much after their kids left the house, but they didn’t do much when they were younger and wee happier that way. I have read about and met quite a few older adults who were taking advantage of being empty nesters to go on those adventures and enjoy their time together. We’re just starting out (2 year old and a 7 year old) but when I’m middle aged, I’m planning on living up as much as I can- if the kids want to join, they can.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, aging can be intimidating throughout our lives, whatever stage we happen to be at. But the thing is, once we get to a certain age, we usually realize it’s not nearly as bad as we had feared. I hope the same thing is true for you and that you enjoy your thirties as much as you possibly can. And yes, the first time we’re called “ma’am” or are grouped in with the older people, it does smart a bit! Thanks for the comment.

      Like

      • My favorite quote is ” I don’t know how to act my age because I have never been so old.” 🙂 I was called ma’am when I was 21 just because I got married at 21. I was very upset then. To an extend that I thought I did a mistake by marrying at that age.
        Now, I am happy going to my older kid’s (13)school because I look younger than the mothers who come there. But when I go to my younger one’s (8) school, I see that I take a little more effort to look younger. It’s crazy the way it plays with our psyche isn’t it…

        Like

  7. Having a grand-daughter comfortably over 20 … yes, age does confront one periodically. I find it even more disturbing when celebs/friends/relatives of my generation range pass on … and some are younger than I! The writing is most certainly on the wall but, until I can see that wall… it’s full steam ahead. Today I am alive and so will enjoy doing whatever makes me feel of value (= happy)! Today I have no medical issues that prevent me from living a normal (?) life. Sure I am taking an assortment of meds, but that is simply to allow a more comfortable life. Tomorrow? Assuming I am alive to appreciate it, then I shall do whatever makes me feel of value again (= happy)! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Meh, my philosophy is any day on the upside of the dirt is a good day! I think about the people who will never have the privilege of knowing old age & all of the things they will miss in not having that time. We must embrace life each & every day as it is truly a gift.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I had my kids late in life and was 10 years or more older than the other Moms. I never mentioned age and was able (in my head) to extend my youth. But, now the magic sixties have caught up and like you, I wonder who is looking back at me in the mirror. Most of the time I feel like there is a much younger person looking out at the world from inside my body. If I could just stay away from those mirrors!

    Liked by 4 people

    • I know! Mirrors do shatter our illusions, don’t they? But I guess we get to a time in our life when we need to pay more attention to what’s inside than what’s outside. And as long as we are still able to enjoy life and live it in a meaningful way, then we are hanging on to our “youth.”

      Liked by 1 person

  10. My sister and I were talking about someone (whom we don’t particularly like) the other day and we both agreed our villain“doesn’t wear age appropriate clothes”. Then we both laughed at ourselves realizing we are both of the same age and wear the same style of clothes as our villain. But we don’t FEEL that old!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know! I don’t feel as old as I am, either. I still remember when I was in my twenties and shopping with a friend. I headed straight to the Junior Girl’s department, and she stopped me with, “Ann, you’re not a Junior any more.” But honestly, I still see some women my age shopping in stores that are clearly meant for younger women. I guess we get to wear what we like, regardless of our ages, and that’s a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Life is a precious gift from God and every age has its own joys..I think the older we get, the more we appreciate what is important. I will be turning sixty this coming fall and I loved hearing your perspective on simply embracing all of it…the good, and the not so great. In reality, if we are honest with ourselves, every age had its own challenges. And without those challenges, we would not be the people we are today…stronger, wiser, and definitely braver!

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are so right. As we age, we tend to idealize our youthful years, and forget that we faced some very real problems at every stage of our life. But each stage also brings its own unique gifts, and if we’re smart we will focus on enjoying those. Because you’re right, life is a precious gift from God, at any age!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I’m right behind you. I like how you used the word “essence” of who you are. So true. Apart from the body, we are who we are and will be “known for who we are”. Otherwise, I see our agings as stripes we’ve earned. I’ll take those discounts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I think realizing that who we really are is not limited to our aging bodies helps. And once I got over being offended, I too decided that those senior citizen discounts weren’t so bad at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. As someone said at the top of the comments – it beats the alternative! The worst thing to me about getting older is that the more there is behind you the less there is ahead. But none of us ever knows what’s round the corner so best to get on with life cheerfully as you (and I) are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This post was very relatable and inspirational. My daughter turns 32 in two weeks (how did that happen?). My favorite line for some reason was “Denial is a wonderful thing, and over the years, I’ve gotten really, really, good at it.” If we deny becoming
    ‘old’, we”ll stay young! Thanks for a number of wonderful reminders! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “People of all ages are still actively engaged in the world around them, working hard to help others and contributing to their communities. People of all ages are still having fun, still pursuing their interests, and still making new friends. I think that the time has come for me to stop being afraid that turning a certain age means I have to somehow let go of the essence of who I really am and how I want to live my life.”

    Hi Ann. Beautifully said. You nailed it!

    Neil

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Neil! It was sort of an “ah-ha” moment for me when I realized that what bothered me most about the thought of growing of wasn’t the physical deterioration, but of having who I am fundamentally changed. And yet that doesn’t have to be a part of aging at all!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I love this time in our lives! And while I won’t don a red hat (remember when that wasn’t associated with MAG?), I will wear what doesn’t itch, and try things i didn’t have time for, when I was younger and always striving. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  17. As long as I can avoid unfortunate selfies (and just about all of them are “unfortunate” nowadays) and looking at my image during a Facetime or Skype chat, I have very few issues with the age I am now. And, since I don’t have kids bringing me back to reality, I can remain in complete denial about getting older. I feel as if I’m living in a sweet spot right now. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, you are in a sweet spot!! And I agree about selfies and Facetime. I have a sagging chin, which looks about 100 times worse in selfies and Facetime. Which means I refuse to take selfies or use Facetime or Skype. I’m okay with my age, and I accept my wrinkles, but there’s such a thing as not going out of my way to dwell on them…..LOL!

      Liked by 2 people

      • So glad to know I’m not the only one who is reluctant about selfies and we-fies. I conducted a training session the other day with people about a decade younger than I am and we took a we-fie as part of the documentation. I took a fit seeing just how I looked with my chin sag. It was worse than I thought.

        I got back to my fitness regime right after that. It might not help with chin sags but what the heck, it’ll help with other things!

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Your post says it all! I don’t necessarily feel old when I realize that my youngest “child” is 34. However, when I stop to think that my oldest will be 47 next month, then the old part hits me. But it’s all okay–at 68 I’m fine with where I am and what I have accomplished and am still accomplishing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s funny how it’s different things for each of us that brings home the reality of our age! That being said, I think the realization that we are getting older is tempered with the knowledge of what we have accomplished and learned, and the desire to make the most of this time of our lives. Thanks for the comment!

      Like

  19. I enjoyed your post. Let’s see, class of 76? I remember many kids from that year. I’m from the class of ’74, and my sister was ”75. In some ways that’s more relatable to me than actual age numbers.
    I decided a long time ago that I was going to fight this age thing with everything I’ve got! I think I’m going a pretty good job, although there’s always reminders. I wake up every morning thinking OK, I’m 30…no 40…, wait….62!!!! But it doesn’t last long. I don’t know, Ann, I honestly do not feel my age and try not to think about it. Talk about denial! But like you, I”m still me, regardless of age, and always will be. I really liked that thought. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I was class of ’76! My older sister also graduated in ’74. Turning 60 did seem unreal to me, but for some reason having a daughter who turned 32 really hit home. But then I realized that I still have reasonably good health, I have a grandson (one of the biggest benefits of aging if you’re lucky enough to get one!) and I have lots of time left to do the things I want to do. So maybe we’re not in denial, maybe we’re just acting as young as we feel? That can be a good thing! And yes, it helps to remember that we’re still the same person, no matter how old we become. Thanks, Des!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I laughed at the part about people not looking old enough to work. I’ve noticed the older I get, the younger and less experienced people look. I once asked a bank teller if he was old enough to have his job lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know! The first time I had to deal with medical professionals who were younger than I was, I was sort of in shock. I remember thinking, “Where’s the doctor, and what’s this teenager doing in the exam room?” Now I see that as a good thing, because the doctors and nurses my age are beginning to retire…..

      Liked by 1 person

  21. My grandmother once told me that she still felt in her mind like she did when she was 16 but the mirror told a very different story. I can relate to that now that I’m 60… I have to remind the 10 yr old me that the 60 yr old me shouldn’t climb that tree or slide down that ravine!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I remember when people older than me would say that, and I just thought it was odd. Until it happened to me, and then I knew exactly what they were talking about. A coworker used to have a little sign by her desk that said, “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened!” I think that sums it up nicely!

      Like

  22. I thought you were spot on when you said, “Longing for the “good old days,” afraid to try new things, becoming obsessed with my health, and in general, letting the “young” people do all the important stuff and have all the fun.” I’ve become obsessed with my health and it really gets in the way of things. It just sort of “happened.” Thank you for your inspiring post!

    Liked by 1 person

  23. A beautiful, wise, funny, empowering post that I’m sure many of us, myself included, can relate to. We have so much to be thankful for (even with the declining eye sight, yikes, I can relate too). Let’s embrace all of who we are, whatever age we are, and simply live each other to its fullest. As I’m sure you do. 🙂

    Like

  24. This is great, Ann. When I think of the unsettled chaos I went through in the decade between 20 and 30, I wonder if I had nearly as much fun as I sometimes say I did! Being older definitely brings a certain kind of calm and happiness. Now is the time to try something new, right?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think you are right…we tend to remember the past as being much better than it was. Yes, we had younger bodies, but we also had so many insecurities to deal with. Some things are definitely easier at this age!

      Liked by 1 person

  25. This reminds me of my Mom. She’s so lovely & sweet but she’s not a big fan of being called “Grandma”. I remember asking her why? She said it’s because it makes me feel so old! I have 8 nieces and 2 nephews that we all love them dearly. They’ve never called my Mom ‘Grandma’ instead they call her “Mama”. :):)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can see her point. No matter how much she loves being a grandmother, she probably has a mental image of a grandma as a little grey-haired old woman, and that’s not how she sees herself. So “Mama” it is! I think your mother found a good compromise!

      Liked by 1 person

  26. Ann, you can find many examples of people reinventing themselves, learning new hobbies, hiking, dancing and traveling in their 80s. You are far from old. I think what matters is the aliveness in your heart and actions. It is about the sparkle in the eye. Is there something you always wanted to do but haven’t yet?

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I’m 61 this year. I didn’t have many expectations about what it would be like to reach this age, and I have been pleasantly surprised to find I am enjoying it.

    Of course, I would trade in my body for the one I had at eighteen (minus the hormone overload), but not my mind and not my spirit. I understand so much more now than I did even ten years ago. I look forward to learning even more about life, myself, and other people in the coming years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s been my experience, too! I had always thought 60 was SO old, but now that I’ve reached the milestone, I don’t feel all that old. I’d much rather have the strength and stamina I had in my teens, too (although not the hormones and angst), but I do appreciate the wisdom and acceptance that have come with the years. This can actually be a good time in our lives, even if I sometimes have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I’ve been on this earth for 60 years…. Thanks for the comment, Paul!

      Like

  28. I don’t have the reminder of my age from any children growing older (as I don’t have any kids) but one look in the mirror quickly tells me that I’m not the age I feel I am. The older I get, Ann, the more I long for bright colours and being me as I was in my teens and early twenties. While I’m a pretty sloppy dresser, I really admire women who can hit their last few decades and get away with being themselves. Have you seen the website Advanced Style? If not, do have a look at it. http://www.advanced.style/ Particularly look at the blog there.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. So very true. Ann. It’s easy to fall into the mindset you describe. You have to want to continue to learn, move forward, spit in the wind.
    My oldest daughter will be 44 soon and my middle one just turned 40. I have a hard time getting my arms around that one..:)

    Liked by 1 person

  30. I’m still in my 30’s but already feel quite old sometimes when I notice that there are quite a lot of people around me who were born after the year 2000! Or when some actor I’ve had a crush on in my youth suddenly turns 50! 😁 Aging is a funny thing, and with luck most of us do it gracefully. Accepting body changes is a huge part of it, to be honest, octogenarians who run around in the park like there’s no tomorrow just to look like they’re 40 always make me feel queasy. There’s nothing wrong in living healthy of course but all in its own measure.
    But maybe we should talk about all this again in 15 or 20 years! Lol! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Yes, aging is truly a relative thing. I remember when I thought someone in their 40’s was incredibly old (I was in my 20s at the time) and now I think of 40 as quite young. I think the key is just to live the best life we can at what ever age we happen to be, and not spend too much time mourning our lost youth. PS: Just wait until an actor you had a crush on turns 70! Now that is a truly sobering moment.

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.