I find that happening with my age. The time markers - childhood, university, marriage, children, career, retirement - have all been there, merely ignored. Now I am startled to find myself in my seventies. When did that happen? Of course, the clues have been in front of me all along and increasingly so of late. I cannot deny these clues - the subtle aging changes evolving over time in my personality and in my body.
Raised in a home where solemn considerations of, What would the neighbours say? were the 11th Comandment, I find myself caring less and less what others think. I promise you, Who gives a s**t is extremely freeing! Once talented at biting my tongue and keeping opinions to myself, I am now increasingly prone to speaking my mind, more recently forcefully so. God bless family and friends who just mindlessly nod with frozen smiles at my ranting pronouncements. Thank you. When it becomes incomprehensible babble, I will be old and you have my permission to put me away.
Forget designer outfits, nylons and high heels. Did I really wear those? What happened to Dress For Success? Meh! Now I crave comfortable clothes - jeans, socks, loafers, t-shirts, leggings and sweatshirts. I do care about how I look, but no longer give a damn about the label. Oh, and makeup? I should be able to locate a tube of lipstick...I think! Don’t worry; I do still remember how to dress for special occasions. When I graduate to elastic-waisted pants, then you may consider me old and you have my permission to put me away.
My body? I still chew with my own teeth. 👍 But no matter how active I remain, grey hairs are beginning to pepper my head, wrinkles invade my face, and the most critical parts of my body sag. Gravity is not just a good idea, it is the law. Without reading glasses, I may be able to read a STOP sign. My most frequent recent practice is walking into a room and forgetting why I am there. When I forget my name, then I will be old and you have permission to put me away.
I admit to preferring opera and classical music. I admit to loving a comfortable chair, a cup of tea and great book. I admit to earlier bedtimes. I admit that I am no longer able to imbibe much alcohol. Instead of the huge dinner parties Jim and I used to throw, I admit to now preferring more personal dinners of four or six. I admit that organizing our family Christmas feast increasingly throws me into a tizzy. Thank heavens for my talented sous chefs, Chris and Matt. I admit to taking longer to perform tasks - gardening, cleaning.....whatever! Am I slowing down? A bit. When I completely stop, then and only then will I be old and you have my permission to put me away.
Here’s the thing! In my heart, I am not old.
I do treasure life more. I understand how precious being alive is. No longer in a rush, I work at living in the moment. Moment? Forget your parties and clubs, just give me a glass of wine, the company of my husband and a sunset. That is not old. That is wisdom.
George Burns once said, You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old. Wise man.