notquiteold

Nancy Roman

‘Not Quite Old’ Is Now Quite Old

Another birthday.

A big one.

I’m 70.

Dear God – could that even be true?

Seventy.

I’m not sure what 70 is supposed to feel like. But I didn’t expect it to feel like this.

Like …

Nice.

I just received a card in the mail from a sweet cousin. It made me laugh out loud.

Oh, it’s true. It’s too late to be young.

But – entirely unexpectedly – I don’t want to be.

I have spent the last ten years – or perhaps fifteen – trying rather desperately to stay young.

But I turned 70 anyway.

And to my amazement, I kind of LIKE the idea of being old.

It feels …

Easier.

Certainly, it will be easier to look old. Not that I don’t love fashion and makeup and being in style. So I’ll still be stylish – just ‘old’ stylish. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet, but I’m pretty sure being stylish at 70 has got to be easier than being 60 trying to look 40.

For one thing, I don’t have to weigh what I weighed in high school. Or wear stilettos. Or give a minute’s thought to the perkiness of my lady parts.

More importantly, I feel the burden of ‘accomplishment’ falling from me. Oh, I can still have goals, and I do. But I don’t feel much pressure to accomplish anything more in my life. I wrote and published three novels. I think there is a fourth novel in me – but three is good enough. A fourth will be a bonus. A pleasant surprise if it happens. But I am not a failure if I don’t write it.

In retirement, I’ve rediscovered the joy of painting.

My watercolors please me. They are even profitable. But the second they stop being a pleasure and start being a chore is the moment I stop. I don’t anticipate that happening, but I don’t fear it either. When I paint a portrait, sometimes I don’t succeed. It doesn’t stress me out. It is paper and paint and a little bit of time. I throw away my failures and try again. Did you know that you can try as many times as you want? How easy is that?

No one cares if an old person’s house isn’t spotless. No one cares if an old person’s hair needs a trim. No one cares if an old person’s library books are overdue. And if by any chance there is someone out there who DOES care – well, they just can offer to help out. My mother’s neighbors fight over who gets the privilege of shoveling her drive. I will let my neighbors fight over me.

I will ask for a senior discount on everything.

I will laugh when I want to laugh and cry when I want to cry, and say no whenever I want to. And everyone will love me anyway. Because everyone loves old people.

Not so, you say? Old people are invisible, you say. Well, I’m okay with that too. If no one can even see me, I can do whatever I want.

Except for maybe the neighbors doing my chores, it seems that I could have had most of these pleasures long before I turned 70.

I just didn’t know it.

I’ve been writing this blog for nearly ten years. And every year, on my birthday, I post an unretouched selfie.

I’ve always said that the reasons are two-fold:

1. To say that getting old isn’t so bad
2. To say, “Screw you, Mother Nature!”

But I find that I am down to just one reason, since Mother Nature and I have reconciled.

Getting old isn’t so bad.

Me. 70.

41 Comments

  1. Oh, I am absolutely in agreement with you on ALL of this. Congrats to the 70! In a few days I’ll be 61 and I’ve been saying for years that I am so OVER the struggles of being young. So yay for you. Enjoy life free from all of THAT! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. kayehs

    Best blog yet. Like an episode of Grace & Frankie. Soooo true and funny!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Congrats on reaching 70! It’s a nice round number. I’ll be 65 in April, doesn’t seem to be the accomplishment that 70 is. Happy birthday!

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  4. Happy 70th birthday Nancy! 🙂

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  5. LA

    Happy Birthday!

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  6. Dawn Allison

    Beautiful! And you Should be so proud.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Deborah A Zotian

    Yup. Never really cared about age. I’m old. Deal with it. Sometimes, you can get away with more because of your age. Sometimes you can’t. Right now, I’m enjoying it. Sixty-five is the new 40? Who knows, who cares. Not me!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy birthday to you! So funny; this morning I was thinking about turning 66 in a couple weeks, and I had similar thoughts as yours. This ain’t so bad! Had I only known then what I know now, perhaps I’d have appreciated my firmer more flexible body, but instead I am learning to appreciate my older, perhaps achier self, still not in bad shape, still liking what I see, accepting that it, too, shall pass onto an even older version. Great post!

    Like

    • Good to appreciate all the good things that our bodies are and still do for us.

      Like

  9. Happy Birthday! You look great, and your painting is beautiful

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  10. dragon

    Happy Birthday. As a child of the 50s and 60s, I’m not sure I expected to see 60 much less 70, which is now a year and a half away. Last year I self published a collection of fantasy stories set in the sort of area of where I live. There’s a proof copy peeking over some other stuff at me. And I’m working on a novel that three other short stories are turning into, with a LOT of editing You’ve been an inspiration. And I think you’re right, I’m old enough to relish having finished the work and stuck it out there without worrying about whether anyone notices. Thank you. And have a wonderful day leading to another incredible year!

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  11. Congratulations and happy birthday. I’m just a few years behind you, but I’m learning the best part of getting older is most people do not expect you to have any filters…and I live up to the expectations. Cheers.

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  12. ellen e schmidt

    You are the best! I only wish you had written this in time for My birthday last week! I was still coming to terms with it but your words made it suddenly easier.
    Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I am in my 70’s and quite happy being old. There are perks…all that you mention and more that come with time.
    Have a wonderful day of celebrating You. Happiness makes good selfies.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy birthday. I mostly love the “old card.” I use it whenever I don’t want to do something and there is no guilt.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Growing older has so many benefits, as long as we are healthy! You look terrific for 70! Have the best birthday.

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  16. Have a wonderful birthday, Nancy, and an excellent year! I find your reflections to be so very interesting, since I’m only a bit behind you in age.

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  17. Happy Birthday, and you look great! I’m just a couple of years behind you. By the way, I loved your abecedarian post last week and have written my 26-sentence story. It will be my blog post Monday, Feb 18 if you’d like to see it!

    Like

  18. Happy birthday Nancy. That is one awesome portrait.

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  19. Doug Landeen

    Happy Birthday… You look great.

    Like

  20. Raven Eyz

    Happy, happy birthday Nancy! My wish for you todayis that it’s one of your best days ever. You bring so much joy, laughter, and deep thoughts to all of us. I also wish you many, many, many more happiest birthdays as well.
    Loved this blog post and your beautiful selfie.
    Thank you for the daily laughs and deep thoughts that make me think. You are such a treasure!
    Happy birthday again!
    Dara
    aka RavenEyz

    Like

  21. The best people were born when you are. Happy Birthday beautiful!

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  22. Pat

    I’ll be 70 in three months and you know what? I don’t care and it doesn’t bother me at all! 30, 40, 50, and 60 all bothered me. When I turned 30, 40, 50 and 60, I was more concerned about how to stay young looking. It was stressful because it seemed like so much work. Don’t get me wrong… I’m not going to let myself go. That’s not in my DNA. I just don’t feel that I have to work hard to make myself look younger than I am. Reaching 70 is feeling like a weight was lifted from my shoulders. I guess 70 is considered old and I’m happy that I’m “old”! I don’t feel old… for the most part! I consider myself a pretty lucky little old lady!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so interesting. I sense a theme here…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Pat

        It is interesting, Rachel, isn’t it? Maybe 70 is the magical number when we come to terms with the fact that it’s more stressful to worry about something we can’t change than to accept it and live life to the fullest.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Looking good for 70 , my mum said at her last birthday she is at last old she is 81. 80 wasan;t old 81 is though

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  24. What a relief, ay? And how interesting that you should switch directions almost suddenly. (No doubt the change of attitude has been sneaking up on you for a while.) I think you will find your 70s a sweet spot in life. (I did.) I will be thinking of you at my MeetUp on Saturday when we discuss four ways to approach the rest of your life. Because this relief must not be uncommon, I’m thinking. A delightful post.

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  25. S, Dereski

    Happy Birthday! Love this post, your painted portrait and your photo!

    Like

  26. Dear Nancy, congratulations on your 70th birthday! I love the photo of you, you are beautiful! And I love your painting!
    sending lots of love from sLOVEnia,
    Klara

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  27. cj

    Still fabulous as ever! Happy birthday!

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  28. Not only do I have all those “old” advantages you described so well (I’ll be 76 in May), I have one more “out” when I need someone to cut me some slack, forgive a lapse or whatever: my husband (3 1/2 years younger than I am) has Parkinson’s, and I’m raising a 14-year-old handful of a granddaughter. Overwhelmed as I often am, as my neighbor told me the other day: “Don’t lose yourself in all this.” Self-care, baby!

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  29. I think when you are young at heart, that comes through in so many ways…and even though I don’t know you, other than from your blog posts, I do think you are young at heart.

    Happy birthday! Continue painting and blogging. Both are excellent activities for so many reasons!

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  30. Happy Birthday !

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  31. And 80, or 82 as I am, is even more liberating. I still care about how I look but know which clothes no longer suit my grey hair and wrinkles. I now love being older but I hate the old lady skin on my arms.

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  32. Happy Birthday! Your water colors are terrific, and you’re right, there are many advantages to growing older. We just need to embrace them!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. lydiacrosswaithe

    Happy Birthday!! 70 is looming out there for me. It’s my next big one. Thank you for the heads up. I turned 67 in December and even at this age I still miss never having a sister. I think you might be it.

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  34. You look gorgeous! I have to tell you your water colours please me a great deal as well. Happy Birthday!

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  35. HAPPY BELATED BRITHDAY

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  36. Happy Birthday dear friend. You look wonderful, you sound wonderful, and it is all we can do to live each day to the fullest. I know at 68 I’m right behind you. And we shall keep on going!

    Liked by 1 person

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