‘Not Quite Old’ Is Now Quite Old
A big one.
Dear God – could that even be true?
I’m not sure what 70 is supposed to feel like. But I didn’t expect it to feel like this.
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 …
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.