As I approach my 59th birthday I’m a bit mortified at the thought of turning 60. I’ve never known anyone that was 60 (or over) that I didn’t consider old. Clearly I need a mind change.
I’m not sure where the time went but I’m wishing I had spent some of it wiser. Aging hasn’t been a brutal experience, but I think it’s about to get a lot more contentious.
It’s painfully obvious that things are failing (and falling) at a more rapid rate. I need glasses to read, my joints creak, I have back and neck issues and I don’t bounce back nearly as well as I used to. Luckily I’ve mastered whining to an art form which has helped to take the edge off of things just a bit (well, at least for me).
I’ve always loved roller coasters, water parks and skiing the diamond runs in Breckenridge. These days I rethink climbing 3 flights of stairs at the museum. Times have changed.
In my mind I’m still the saucy minx that I’d like to think I’ve always been. Doors still open for me and men occasionally offer to buy drinks for me when I’m out with the girls. I’m thinking some of that is less “saucy minx” and more of “isn’t she nice”, but I’m surprisingly okay with that.
I’ve never been beautiful but have instead worn the “cute” label very comfortably all of my 58+ years. It helps having apple cheeks and a few freckles on your nose. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be a raving beauty like Elizabeth Taylor only to age and deteriorate. When the bar is set lower it’s a shorter fall. I find some comfort in that.
I enjoy good family genes and for that I’m grateful. I remember my father telling me around the 60th year of his life that he had to depend more on personality and less on his looks. He didn’t seem to mind; he still had plenty of both. I’m hoping the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
It occurs to me that my dog is actually 9 years older (in dog years) than I am. She is about 67 and yet she seems to be aging with a lot more grace and life zest than I can conjure up on a daily basis. There’s a lot to be said for being excited about going for a walk or a car ride and enjoying your meals as if they were the best thing you’ve ever tasted in your life. Nothing bothers her and she is sweet and loving no matter what comes her way. I could stand a little improvement in those areas. She helps to keep me healthy and social (we know every dog and their owner within a 3 mile radius) and she never complains; ever. I’m not sure I could pull that off for a week let alone a lifetime.
I planned my life with great diligence. Of course, things didn’t work out quite as I had imagined. I never planned for a divorce, illness, bankruptcy, unemployment, loneliness and being a single mom. I also never thought I could rise from the ashes to accomplish more than I had ever imagined for myself. Life has a way of working out despite our best efforts. I take the credit but I know that I was really just hanging on for the ride. I’ve often wondered if anyone else felt that way.
Remarkably, my mind doesn’t think that I’m a day over 35 which makes it easy for me to follow suit. Proving the old adage that mind over matter is truer than we think. Of course I avoid dark hair color, eye shadow with glitter, short skirts (damn it!) and the word ‘bikini’ is no longer in my vocabulary. All concessions I have no problem making.
I love that I still feel playful and sexy in my 50’s and I’m hoping the same will be true when I enter my 60’s. I’ve still got game and I intend to hang on to it as long as I can. I find that I have less of a temper along with a lessened tolerance for stupid people. I’m working on it, as it is painfully apparent that there is no shortage of ignorance.
Growing older has been an occasional pain but it’s a good goal to have. I have found it to be pretty wonderful too. I’m so much smarter now and patience has actually found a place in me (except towards the local grocery bagger who insists on calling me Ma’am). I’m far more forgiving and generous with my time and my experience for those who need either. I also find that being this age has made me a lot more grateful. A trait I evidently had pity little time for in my 20’s and 30’s.
Love, success, pure enjoyments are all things that find me easier in these years. I can’t help but think that it’s no coincidence. Paying ones dues should render big reward. It’s in the waiting that we find the difficulty.
Truth is I can’t help but bitch about things every once in a while. Old habits die hard. Having had my chops lifted I’m not a huge fan of plastic surgery but I reserve the right to do anything I please when I’m ready. It’s going to be a while.
As for my station in life, the love of my life, my family, my career and my future; well, I’ve done all right for myself. And I’m not done yet.
I still sometimes look to find the peace to be grateful for all that I’ve done, all that I’ve lost, all that I have and all that is yet to come.
I’m hoping the third act is a real humdinger (yes, I really said that) because I’m up for a big finish. I figure I’ve got about another 15-20 years (God willing and the creek don’t rise) before I’m going to need help with things.
That’s plenty of time to raise a little hell. I might even do it wearing a mini skirt and glitter eye-shadow. Which brings me to another awesome fact about getting older: you really don’t give a damn what people think about you.
Yup, I’m on my way!
Joan Cooper - Aging – my favorite subject.
As I was aging, I knew it was happening but I was detached. Only recently did I really feel throughout my body (and mind) that – HEY – I’m not getting any younger. The sidewalk is dropping off – I have no future.
Having no future is the hardest part. With a future you always feel you will improve things – including the world. But now I know I will leave this world without leaving my mark on it. Sad.
You adjust with time, Tammy. You finally realize it is inevitable and you accept it. Pushing 60? You are still a girl.
Tammy - Hi Joan, I’m “adjusting” as I type. I’d like to be a girl again, that is if I could take what I know now back with me. Otherwise is would just be a royal pain in the butt. I’m hoping that whatever amount of future you or I have (as we are guaranteed nothing) that we live it with gusto, purpose and the appropriate whining. Thanks for the read and for your post. From one girl to the next … you’re pretty awesome!
malissa - Funny you have brought this up , I have been thinking a lot about getting older, going to be 55 . Not liking it either, looking at what my mom and my aunt have / are going through as they have aged has been an eye opener. I was thinking as i was reading this and seeing Joan Coopers statement about not leaving your mark or that you have less of a future, it is damn depressing. Also noticed wrinkles at the the corners of my mouth didn’t help my mood LOL!
I also was thinking, am i ever going to see England or some tropical place like I have wanted to do all my life. wow talk about a wasted life! (note to self in next life , live life better, more schooling, marry the right one first, have kids that care and travel). Reality sucks!
I’m ok and I will deal with it as I go , what else can we do? I will just have to try to find the funny side of it all.
From one old lady to another!
Ande Lyons - A woman is not old as long as she loves and is loved.” ~Vincent Van Gogh
Tammy… LOVE your reflections on aging. You are absolutely right… age isn’t what defines us… attitude is… and you have the BEST attitude for someone of any age!
Everything we go through as spiritual beings having a human experience is to deepen our intimacy with Self… and our Source. Our journeys teach us so much and we all matter… no matter what.
As Frank Sinatra used to sing: “The Best Is Yet To Come.” (Yup, that pun was intended foxy lady!)
One more quote for the road: “Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die of old age, but they die young.” ~ Sir Arthur Wing Pinero
Diane - Interesting thoughts. I can identify with everything that has been said above – depending on the time of day. It seems that most of my lifetime was spent doing what had to be done at the time. I don’t recall making a conscious decision to do anything particular for me, and it seems a little late to be doing that now (I’m 66.) However – this is what I have and I plan to pack as much life into the next 20 years as possible. I just ordered new dance shoes today and plan to wear the soles out before I go.
Tammy - Hi Malissa, I’ve always said that I may not have always made the right decisions, but I always made them for the right reasons. There is a lot to be said for that. Aging is a tough call. We never enjoy the process but we all hope to go through it. It seems to me we should pick a side and stick with it. I’m going to stick with enjoying the aging process but bitching about it along the way. It takes the edge off, don’t you think? We (you more than I) still have a lot of life to live. We know tons more than we did 20-30 years ago, so it should be a relative cake walk. I’ll let you know. Thanks for sharing your story. It’s what makes this little blog such a wonderful place to be. Thanks for that.
Tammy - Hi Ande, have I mentioned that I love Van Gogh? I’m not at all familiar with Sir Arthur Wing Pinero, but sure do love what he has to say. Perhaps it’s time we became acquainted. Love your pun (giggle) and your thoughts on aging. So clear, so spiritual, so true. As my grandpa used to say: you’re smarter than you look. Kidding, just kidding. You look to be as brilliant as you are. Thanks for being here …. a girl couldn’t ask for a better cheer leader. You’ve got to know how much I appreciate your weekly attendance and your mindful posts.
Tammy - Hi Diane, LOVE your newly purchased dance shoes! What a true life metaphor. Aren’t you the smart one?!! You know, I’ve always said that my life was filled with “have to’s”. Things I had to do, for my daughter, my husband, my business, my friends, my parents. There was no time for me and I got a bit lost in the shuffle. I’ve only recently discovered how to put me at the top of the list. Harder to say than it is to do. But oh, so awesome to live. It’s never, ever too late. I can bear witness to that. So very happy to have you here in my little corner of the world. I will be thinking of you … wearing the soles to those new shoes out. I’ll be smiling.
mercyn - As I move further into my 60s (turned 62 today), psychologically I feel older because my age sounds so old – as you state, people in their 60s used to be old. I think of my grandmother wearing a housedress and clunky shoes; didn’t she always have gray hair? On the other hand I see men and women in their 90s in my mother’s senior apartment complex with all their faculties and sense of humor. I think 90 is the new 75.
maureen - You always seem to be in my head….Next month I’ll be in New York – my HS class is throwing a 60th birthday party. It’s certainly odd, marking this major milestone with friend after friend. I had thought forty was the worst; that was when I believed I was officially hanging up my saucy minx hat. Ha -What did I know!?! I like your thoughts about this age and peace, wisdom and gratitude – may turn out to be a fair trade. Tho I did so like those saucy bits!
Cynthia - Oh Gawd! And to think that I’m 11 months older than you….this will be a tough year for my birthday, but you’re so right about attitude. I vowed never to lie about my age (as my mother always did) and I have kept that promise to myself…it really doesn’t matter. I feel young at heart…I just need to stop tearing and breaking parts of my body. XOXOXO
Suerae Stein - See… and here I am itching to get past 50 (I just turned 48), so I can get through this whole menopause crap! I do think 50 is the new 35 and 60 is the new 40. We are a lot “hipper” than our grandparents were at our ages! I love your post, as always, and your thoughts about aging. I think it’s on our minds as soon as we hit that first blip in our health or see those first few wrinkles (or as I like to call them – laugh lines). Never before did I think twice about a standard yearly blood tests or mammograms, now I nervously await the results. My mom says that she’s more accepting of things as she gets older. And she’s had plenty of health issues, and been to plenty of funerals, so I guess you have no choice but to accept things as they come. Thank you for yet another great post!
Tammy - Hi Mercyn, oooooh, I hope that 90 is the new 75. That would make me so much younger than my numnber. I agree, when we were kids, people who were 60 dressed like they were 90 and clearly were wildly against hair color. I know that when I go to buy bathing suits and look for a one piece, so many are huge fluffy things with large flowers on them. Ugh. There is hope, and you’ve helped to give it. Thanks for reading and lots of thanks for posting!
Tammy - Mercyn, almost forgot ….. happy belated birthday to you! And many, many more to come!
Tammy - Hi Maureen, It seems there are many of us who are in each others heads! Not a bad thing. I think (and hope) that our saucy minx days are far from over. We are what we think; that’s a fact. We are lucky, we don’t have to please the world. Just ourselves and the one we love. Piece of cake! Have fun at your HS event, sounds like it will be a hoot. I will hold down the fort here while you are gone, practicing to be at peace with this whole aging business, gracious and thankful. Fine … I’ll bitch a little along the way. So happy to have you here, Maureen. Thanks for the post.
Tammy - Hi Cynthia, I LOVE that you are older than me (giggle). Kidding, just kidding. I’ve noticed that as we get older, we seem to be harder on ourselves when our birthday comes around. Too bad. We always hold up unmet goals, wealth yet unattained. What we should be doing is thanking our lucky stars for our wisdom, our friendships and our health. Speaking of which, perhaps it’s time you stopped being a klutz. Who do you think you are…me? Ever so lovely to hear from you, my dear. Thanks for posting!
Tammy - Hi Suerae, so glad you enjoyed the read. You know I meant every syllable. I agree with you; if we can’t change it, fight it, or deny it … best we accept it gracefully. We have no other choice. I remember Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show (I had a hopeless crush on Opey), and how she wore moo-moos every day, clunky black shoes and gray hair in a bun. Her character was supposed to be 50. Yikes, not on my watch. It’s what I grew up knowing about age. But I know things are way different now. Frankly, I didn’t know that age brought with it such serenity about things. Color me grateful for that. My grandpa once told me towards the end of his life “you don’t want to be the last one standing”. Most of his friends had already passed and his age was complicated by loneliness. It makes me sad to this day. So, no, I don’t want to be the last one standing. Second to the last will suit me just fine! Love, love having you here. Thanks for posting!
Jenny - I spent the last few weeks with my 20 yr old daughter. We have been on a mission to purchase some clothing, healthy snacks, various school supplies. She has some summer activities that presented her with some different challenges and when she asked if I would help I was more than happy to. We laugh, giggle, have some serious conversations all while going from place to place and checking off items from her list. There were times it would take us forever to get through a store because EVERY young male clerk would wander our direction. Now I’m not dumb with the reasons why they headed our way. They just wanted to help, right? Well this 50 yr old has had quite a good time messing with them. “Yes please we would like some help, looking for a supportive sports bra…” It would give us the giggles. We were very polite but after this one dude wouldn’t leave us alone I finally had to say “yes she is cute, no we can find deodorant on our own, yes she is seeing someone and know how you can help… leave us alone!”
Here is a way to look at the glass half full about getting older. We can go shopping and be left alone to get what we need, get out of there and enjoy the rest of the day.
Mel Glenn - As one who is approaching a BIG birthday next year, I could relate (happily) to your column. With wit and wisdom you look forward to a big finish. As they say, “From your lips to God’s ear.” I thoroughly enjoyed your article and look forward to more.
Tammy - Hi Mel, I thoroughly enjoy having you here. And, yes, I’m hoping for a humdinger of a finish … God willing. Let’s hope He’s listening. So happy to have you here; thanking you for the read and the post.
Tammy - Hi Jenny, funny story. I’ve had similar experiences with Amanda. Still do. I think they are pretty funny and call on us to have a sense of humor with a dash of tolerance. I remember saying to one guy “take a picture, then move on”. Some boys can be so goofy and not realize they are staring. It’s all good, pretty things deserve a second look. You’re right, I do go to the store and get out without be gazed upon or detained in meaningless conversation. I think that’s a good thing, I’m not quite sure. So happy you enjoyed the read and related to the subject. Even more happy for your post!
Kellie - Oh yes I watch my 11 year old Lhaso Apso Abbey and her and I walk just about the same way and make all the same noises. Too scary.
Ande Lyons - My pleasure Tammy… really! ♥ Ande
Tammy - Hi Kellie, you and Abbey … me and Maddy. The world can burn as long as we still have them. Well, not quite, but close. They say we often look like our animals, but the walking and sounding like them adds a new dimension. Wonderful! Thanks for the read and the post.
Gerri Bowen - Loved your post, Tammy. The body getting older sucks big time. (How could this happen? I was just twenty-two!) It is the attitude that helps, and the wisdom we’ve picked up along the way that helps us, me, along. And you pegged dogs perfectly, too!
Tammy - Hi Gerri, so glad you enjoyed! As they say “it’s better than the alternative”. Haaa! Sometimes I have to wonder. Yup, I strive to age as gracefully as my dog, Maddy. I’m not sure where the time went, but I’m pretty sure I wasted a bit of it worrying about stupid stuff. No worries, I’ve got it down now! It’s that whole ‘wisdom thing’. So happy you dropped in for a read and thanks for your post!
Charity Kountz - Wow, I keep forgetting – you’re almost 30 years older than I am! You’ve got game – most definitely! I hope you’ll still be sharing your amazing insights and humor in the next 15 – 20 years. Your posts make me laugh out loud and this one gives me hope that one day, I too, will learn the difficult art of patience and tolerance. I’m already better than I was but still have a long way to go.
Tammy - Hi Charity, yup, I’m an old fart. Ouch. I actually winced as I typed that. It’s all relative, really. I’ve got game where it counts, and the wrinkles and cellulite to prove that I don’t really give a damn what other people think. Well, at least not most of the time. So happy you enjoyed the read. Thanks, awfully, for your post. Love having you here!