You know when you are young and regard everyone say over thirty as ‘ancient’? Then comes the day when you pass the 30-mark yourself and suddenly they don’t seem old anymore. The same happens as you become 40 and 50, and according to my mum who will be 90 this year, even at 80.
I think the fact is that we, meaning that little person who lives inside our heads, never really change. We might advance in years, maybe become a bit more mature, possibly even a tad wiser, certainly more wrinkled, but the essence of ‘I’, at least in my case, has not really changed. Though my line of thought might be different, the echo of my inner voice still sounds as young and foolish as ever. I am still ‘just me’, even though I have always expected to wake up one day and be, if not somebody else, then something else – possibly what I believed a grown-up should be like.
Today I have lived for 57 years. Jesus! Fifty-seven!! That is closing up on 60. I am way beyond the half-life mark, and likely past the three quarter mark. Not that any of us know how long we will be around, but for those of us who are in our latter 50’s, we have to admit that we are talking a couple of decades. So one part of me calls out ”Wait a moment! I am running out of time.” Meanwhile the other me seems to be still sleep walking and wondering “Holy smokes, how did this happen? How did I ‘suddenly’ get so old!?!”
It shouldn’t really be a surprise. I have had hot flashes and I presently own three pairs of glasses. My hair is loosing colour and my skin gets more creased by the day, but I still am surprised when I see a photo of myself. “Who is that? It cannot be me…”
Make no mistake. I am not ashamed of my age. I have never been. I feel healthier and happier now that in my earlier years. Having had Crohn’s Disease since I was a teenager, I never thought I would live this far anyhow. Besides, the great thing about getting older is that you really don’t give a damn what people think. I don’t care if I am fashionable, as long as I am fit.
I don’t care if I have access to the latest music and movies, as long as I enjoy what I hear and see. I don’t care if I have the most advanced technology, as long as I can get hold of those I love. I seem to become more and more like my parents and though I dreaded this fact before, I am now grateful for most of the genes that they passed on. If I still can climb mountains, who cares if my runners are old-ish. So am I…
Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of giving away all my English teaching material to a university student who wants to follow that career. I will only be writing now. Besides, it is time to pass on baggage I do not need or use, to lighten my load for the last laps.
I might be getting older, but you certainly won’t see me wearing purple. In fact, I don’t like purple and will probably continue to favour black, blue and Mexican pink instead, even if I reach 80.
Life at this stage is good. I do what I want. I write. I walk. I keep learning and live with my husband in what we consider paradise. What more should one desire?
Age is liberating – you worry less about being something, and more about just being.