I hope that during this holiday weekend, my son and I get the chance to update my blog layout. It isn’t bad, I am just tired of it and it needs an update. Like all things, it has gotten old and I don’t want it to be stale. It is hard to believe I have been blogging for 7 years! With occasional updates to the look and layout, I hope to continue for a long time to come!
Yesterday I blogged about my experiences while out walking and in the post I referred to myself as old a few times. I quickly got several texts, comments and messages telling me I wasn’t old. Thank you for the words of encouragement and for reading my blog, but I beg to differ.
In the big scheme of things, I am old.
In some countries I am well past the life expectancy. Tim has always said people are on “bonus time” once they hit 65. Anyway you slice it, I am not young, so I must be old.
I just finished teaching a group of kids who were ages 8-18. Compared to them, I am old. Now, I had more energy than they did at times and left camp most days with errands to run or meetings to attend. I came home to cook and then I was exhausted. Many of the kids told me they went straight home and took naps they were so tired! I am WAY older than they are, but I have pretty good stamina.
I have a big, outdoor umbrella in a heavy metal and concrete stand on my back patio. During the winter I move the umbrella to the basement and put the stand by the cellar door. This summer when I got ready to set the umbrella back up, I could barely pick up the stand. So I went and got a hand truck from Tim’s studio and moved the stand that way. I am not as strong as I was in the fall evidently, but I am just as smart because I immediately figured out how to move the stand without hurting myself.
Old is not a dirty word.
When Jon was in kindergarten, I remember reading him a book about an old lady who wore bright purple and all of the kids loved her. When I was a child, I remember riding with my dad to the theatre and passing an old stone house where an old woman in a hat was always working in her beautiful yard. The lady in the book and the lady in her yard were things I aspired to be, even when I was young. Old never scared me.
Now to be fair, I have no idea how old the lady in her yard actually was. She might have been 40 for all I know. When I was 6 anyone over 30 seemed old to me. The kids I teach always want to guess how old I am. They often guess 40. That is flattering to me, I guess, but to them 40 is pretty old!
And that is my point. It is all relative. I am 60. I have friends who are 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90. It is what it is. There is no lying about it, no hiding from it, no pretending that it isn’t there. I would much rather keep changing, growing, and living as I hit those marks, than pretend they aren’t there and spend my time fighting the inevitable.
I enjoyed high school and did all that I could during that time to live it to the fullest. But it is done and I have no desire to go back. I know people who still try to live in those “glory days.”
I enjoyed my twenties the best I knew how, but they are gone and I am OK with that. I know people who long for the bodies and freedoms they had back then.
I could go on with each age and phase of my life. I have tried to enjoy each new phase for what it is. Being a newlywed, being a young mom, being an empty-nester, being a non traditional (older) college student. Each was fun, difficult, enriching and different. I am hoping each new phase to come will be even more of that.
I don’t lament being old, like my mom did. I see it as a new frontier. All she focused on was what she couldn’t do any longer and how tough being old was. I hope to try to find something new to fill in for the things I can no longer do. Maybe I am kidding myself, but so far, so good.
When I have had older friends say, “Just wait! When you get to be 50, you won’t think like that!” Well, I’ve been 50 and they were wrong. Now it is “Just wait until you are 60, you won’t be able to do that anymore.” Well, we shall see. Again, so far, so good! We are all different.
I am not afraid to say I am old. I am old. If you had asked me at 30 if I’d be old at 60, I’d have said yes. That doesn’t mean I can’t be current and energetic and hopeful. It doesn’t mean there isn’t lots to look forward to. I see no reason to be unrealistic and pretend I am 40, dress like I am 20, or lie about how old I am. So I am old! So what?
I don’t see being a gray haired little old lady quite yet, although I certainly could be if I quit seeing my hairdresser regularly! But refusing to say I am old is only perpetuating the myth that there is something wrong with being old. That owning up to being of a certain age is somehow saying I have done something bad. Quite the contrary- it’s great that I am still here! It is a privilege to be old- I will not be “age shamed”!
My life is not done! I won’t be done until you put my ashes in the eternal condo we bought at church. Until then, why pretend that old is always 10 years away. It isn’t- it is now. And I hope it comes with new adventures (more trips maybe) some perks (maybe I can get away with being more irreverent) and some new wisdom (I’ll never be too old to learn.)
Being old doesn’t mean I have to act old (except when I want to- one of those perks maybe?!) it just means I have the years behind me. And I am proud of that.
So yes- I am old. I have come to terms with what that means- it means I have survived so far. It means I have grown to this age and I plan to continue. It means that I can be what I want to be. It means that I see what the future can hold, what the inevitable is and I am not running away or pretending, I am facing it as honestly and open as I possibly can.
It means I have lived a life, raised a child, built a home, shared memories, lost people I loved and grown into myself.
I was a child for many years, and I embraced it. I was a young adult for many years and it was fun. I was middle aged for a season and it went well. I plan to be old for a couple of decades and then be really old a couple of more. We know what happens when we make plans, but I will keep going as long as I can.
Old isn’t so bad.