Sixty. I will be 60 years old next month. It is so strange because in my mind I’m still in my 20’s. How is that possible? One quick glance in the mirror will remind me that I’m NOT in my 20’s — and watching my age spotted hands on the keyboard is another grim reminder. Still, being young in my mind helps me to not really feel old. I still like to “play” and laugh. That’s the best part of having grandkids, you get to play with them and be silly. My husband hasn’t been prone to silliness since 1965.
Of course, when I try to do things a 20 year old might, it results in sore muscles and a possible injury or two. I spent this weekend cleaning windows and floors on my back porch. It was exhausting work. As a 20 year old, I could have done the whole thing in a day AND vacuumed the house afterward but as an almost 60 year old, it took me two days with a multitude of rest breaks. As an aging generation, these are the things we can accept. We can’t do EVERYTHING that we used to do but we can slow down, take breaks and continue to roll.
For the most part, I feel pretty good about aging. I am in fair shape, although I know I could do more walking, stretching and SHOULD be eating more vegetables (yecch). I have pockets of fat in new places — but they can be covered with a flouncy shirt. My breasts went south for the winter and stayed — so an extra supportive bra was in order. Let’s just “pretend” they are perky. I have the “turkey neck” skin and LOTS of wrinkles on my face. Lots of new skin blemishes throughout. I won’t even go into the more intimate aging markers — suffice it to say there is plenty of positive proof that I am no longer in my 20’s!
As part of aging, my husband and I are participating in the usual old-age indicators. Reading obituaries and announcing who has passed. (“Oh geez, I thought he was already dead?”)! My husband is falling into the “old codger” role quite comfortably. I have to remind him it is NOT a necessity — but he fades in an out. He complains about the government, other drivers, the weather. (Again, with the WEATHER! What is the obsession?). I obsess over having to look my age – should I continue to dye my hair? What makeup can I use to cover the wrinkles and LOOK like I’m only 50? (Answer? NONE – putting make-up over an older face just makes you look like you have a lot of make-up on an older face…) I can still fit skinny jeans but should I wear them? Every time I go shopping for clothes I resist shopping in my own department – “women”, it just sounds so prehistoric. For my “age” group there are the sequins, lots of bold decorative stitching and elastic waist bands!
Even more than the physical losses and changes are the mental changes. Sure, we are getting forgetful. We walk into a room and forget why we came. We go to bed early and get up well before the sun. We can be content to sit on the porch with a summer drink – for hours. And we are fading into the background, slowly but surely. It happens. In the beginning, we are the center, the parents – we make things happen. As everyone matures into their own lives, we become the outer circle and, eventually, the afterthought. No wonder old people get cranky!
My husband and I made a pact when our kids started to leave the nest. We would live our lives, learn to do things together and try to keep growing, learning, having fun even as we got old. The hardest lesson was in knowing that FUN at 60 is different than fun at 20, 30 or even 40 — and that’s okay. To each their own. (And try not to become cranky…)