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!