Watching the years go by.
Blowing out the candles.
I have written about this subject before, but there have been a trifecta of ‘events’ in my life recently that have compelled me to write about it again. Sometimes the Universe sends you such strong signals you must listen. So what’s happened?
- Eight days ago the WordPress DP Challenge was all about the Golden Years.
- This past Sunday night Oprah — who recently turned 60 — had 3 guests on her new show Oprah Prime, and the topic was women and aging.
- I, myself, have a birthday coming up this week.
See what I mean? I’m supposed to be writing about this. Actually, what’s more likely is, I’m supposed to be reflecting on it; and coming to terms with it. And, sharing my thoughts. And, hopefully, triggering an interesting conversation.
So what do I think about it?
It’s fascinating. When I was young — really young, like 8 or 9 years old, I couldn’t wait to become a teenager. The years just dragged until I turned 13. When I was 15, I was absolutely besotted with a 21 year old guy. I looked more sophisticated than my age so he probably would have believed I was older than I was, but my parents said “no” when I wanted to lie about my age and invite him to a bar mitzvah as my date.
When I was 16 I couldn’t wait to be in my 20s. When I was in my very early 20s I dated a guy who was the same age as my mother. In fact, she knew him. They were neighbours when she was growing up. She was wise enough to know it wouldn’t last, so she didn’t freak out. She did gently point out how old he’d be when I was 50, though.
Not such a pleasant thought. And I guess she must have calmed my father down, because I did go out with him briefly. Not that there was anything they could have done about it. I was legally of age.
Funny, I was always attracted to older men. Maybe because I’m an only child and was in the company of a lot of adults. Now I’m attracted to younger men. HaHa!! Men my own age seem old, and it feels like we have nothing in common. Sorry, what can I say? Yeah, I know that works both ways. Younger men probably look at me and run, screaming, for the hills. Life can be cruel, can’t it????
Anyway, this desire to be older than I was didn’t last long. By the time I hit my late 20s I would have been very happy to stay exactly where I was.
My 50th birthday was an absolute nightmare for me. In truth, when I turned 49 I went into a slump. By the time I turned 50 I was almost catatonic. Advertising is a youth-dominated industry, so that could have had something to do with it. All I can say is, for the first time in my life, I was down in the dumps. Depressed. Scared. Miserable. Convinced my life was over.
You’ll no doubt be happy to hear my life wasn’t over. Far from it, in fact. Truth be told, once I gave my head a shake and got over it, I didn’t feel any different. I did notice, however, how ‘comfortable’ I was in my skin. How assured I was. How I didn’t angst over things I would have been bent out of shape over when I was younger. I never had ‘feathers on my tongue’ as they say — not even when I was young. But the by time I hit 50, I was only too happy to speak my mind. And, frankly, I’d acquired enough experience and knowledge by then to know where of I spoke.
Okay, there’s a couple of good reasons to embrace getting older. Like the commercial says, “You’re not getting older, you’re getting better”.
Yes, I was getting wiser. And more ‘settled’.
Which brings us to the present. Right. I’m not 50 any more. Now I’d jump up and down and buy champagne for everyone if I could be 50 again. What was once my worst nightmare now seems absolutely sublime. If only one could turn back the clock.
But we can’t. So here I am, stuck where I am. What’s it like?
Truthfully, in some ways it’s pretty good. In some ways it’s not so bad. And in some ways it sucks.
No, it’s not fun to realize there’s more of your life behind you, then there is ahead of you. Especially when you want to see, try, experience, visit and do as much as I still want to. One lifetime’s not nearly enough, but life after death’s a whole other topic. And it’s not so great to wake up and find your body is stiff, or your ankle is sore or there’s a dark, long hair coming out of your chin, or there’s no longer anything perky about your ass — even though Not Your Daughter’s Jeans help, or the clerks in stores have started calling you “Ma’am”.
However it’s not all gloom and doom. Other than the odd ache and pain I still feel the same. My spirit hasn’t aged a bit. My libido hasn’t left me for a younger woman. I’m still enthusiastic. I’m still passionate. I still get excited. Mentally I’m as good as I ever was, maybe even better. I can still write. I still get bombarded with ideas. I still get inspired. I still have dreams and hopes and ambition. I still make plans. I still look forward to the future.
Age IS only a number, cliche as it may be. And I have finally reached the point where I don’t give a shit what my ‘number’ is. It really has nothing to do with me, who I am, and what I am capable of still accomplishing. So there!!!