Here is the scenario. I am in another room. The television news is on because, one, I love the news…. and two, I like to have background noise on these days, since I am usually living alone. It feels kind of friendly to hear background noise. The newsman is announcing a sad story about a 62-year-old woman who drove to a national park to take a short hike. She has been missing for 24 hours. I shake my head and think to myself how terrible for this poor old woman. I wonder why this old woman would go hiking on a Sunday all by herself. She’s old for heavens sake and she should only go hiking with another person in case she has an emergency due to her advanced age. Then, I stop, and think, and all of a sudden it hits me that I am older than this old woman who is lost in a national park!!!! HOW IN THE WORLD DID I GET TO BE OLDER THAN THIS OLD LADY WHO IS MISSING??? Not me? I am still young and vital and I have a son in college and I’m not someone’s grandmother. Ah yes, it still shocks me that somehow I am a senior. Holy Cow!!! I am a frigging senior!! How did that happen to me??? Where is the girl that flirted with Hugh Hefner? What happened to the woman who went back to college to get her second degree at 28 years old and had to turn down dates with 17 year old freshman boys because they thought I was their age? Where is that woman who would work all day, go home and swim laps … then shower and dress and go out with the girls having martinis and wine and singing and flirting and not getting home until all hours? Then this same woman (me) would wake up in the morning fresh, clear skin, no wrinkles, smiling and off young Sue would go, back to work!! Where is she? What happened to her?? TIME + LIFE + Loss = AGE! I know the math now.
Flash, you meet a man and Boom, you get married. You are a young, married couple and you have 60 years ahead of you. Travel, work … Zoom, you have a new baby… work, move, have worries, Zoom baby number two. You’re a mom, volunteer at school, do homework with the kids, pick them up take them to golf, swimming, tennis, on and on school meetings. More worries … Zoom you go back to work. Boom, the kid’s graduate. Separate from your husband, kids growing, you get up at 5:30 A.M. work, shop, cook, clean, walk the dog, do laundry at midnight. You are still working and how did you not notice that you were 57, then, 58, then, 59. Whoa, THEN WITHOUT LOOKING somehow, YOU ARE 60 YEARS OLD! Now, when you go to pick up a prescription and you tell the girl behind the counter at the drug store your birthday. She doesn’t flinch. She looks at you and she thinks you are absolutely over 60! Why doesn’t she say, “Oh no you can’t be over 60…. you look 20 years younger. There must be a mistake.” NO, she doesn’t say a word. She hands over your medication for that cold that you caught by going to the doctor for your “well check up” and the lady standing next to you while you pay for your doctor visit… coughs in your face.
How can we avoid being 60 years old? Well, you can die before you hit that age but I was against that idea right away. You can get plastic surgery… that really seems like a good idea but it is expensive, you need to take time off for that and I really hate pain. If I can avoid pain, I will avoid pain, at least for the moment. You can pretend that you are in your 50’s, except everyone can look up your age these days so that doesn’t work. You can ignore your birthdays however; there is always someone around you that keeps reminding you. Yes, and on Facebook… and I love Facebook, but Facebook reminds everyone that it is your birthday and that you are in your 60’s and getting older by the minute. I even had to take down my pictures of when I was a young woman because young men kept befriending me and asking to meet. I couldn’t keep their hopes up so I told them that I could easily be their mother but that I would be happy to give them motherly advice.
What have I learned? Well, there isn’t any easy way around it. We have to accept the fact that we are aging. Yes, I am in my 60’s (I am wincing as I write that) and hopefully I will keep growing older if I am lucky enough to keep on living. I have said this before and I will say it again … I hope to make the last third as interesting as the first and second part of life. Let’s push on with enthusiasm. 70’s and 80’s, ready or not, here we come!
Until Next Week…