What Are The Three Most Surprising Things about Aging?

 

It happened this week.  I was minding my own business when out of the blue, with no warning…I turned 58.  (Yes, I’m one of those women who tell their age.  I say to hell with it.)

If you asked in my teens or twenties, what this time would be like I would’ve conjured up those old women in “Zorba the Greek,” all bent, dressed in black and shaking their fist at the sky.

Instead something odd happened.  This time of life isn’t what I expected.  I keep waiting to feel used-up and done and regretful, but somehow that keeps eluding me.  Here are three things which surprised me the most…

I’m happy.  I expected my late fifties to be spent looking backward, poring through old photo albums, living out memories from the past, most of the fun over.  I expected them to be full of melancholy and what if’s?

What I didn’t expect was to be still excited about the future and strangely content with the present.  In many ways, I’m cheerier than my angst-ridden twenties, tired, young parent thirties, and “Who the hell am I?” forties.  Life is good.

I’m healthy.  Okay, healthy isn’t the same as perfect.  I have a few medical issues and unexpected aches or twinges I always assume are life threatening.

But I have to say, for the mileage, this jalopy’s purring along pretty well.  I never expected to be doing yoga everyday and sprinting up the occasional staircase. I never expected to still be wearing jeans and tank tops and high heels.

I’m still young.  Okay, maybe not on the outside, but inside.  I used to think I’d be sidelined in my late fifties, watching those crazy kids have all the fun.  Who knew I’d be one of them?  My bucket list keeps getting longer, not shorter.

I was ambitious and serious when young, plunging single-mindedly toward a horizon, which never quite materialized.  Now little things bring enjoyment – having lunch with friends, reading with my cat on my lap, watching the seasons change in my backyard.  Who knew? The things I used to rush through on the way to real life turned out to be real life.

And yes there are things that suck about growing older.  I always avoid surprise mirror attacks, like the other day in a store when I saw this beleaguered older woman who turned out to be me.

Or how in movies 70-something actors are paired with females young enough to be their great-granddaughters.

Women are always bombarded with the message we only count as eye candy and if you’re over 40, you’re way past your shelf life.

But eff-it.  Before my grandmother died, she told me not to tell her new boyfriend her real age.  “He doesn’t know I’m 87,” she whispered.  “He thinks I’m only 82.”

And maybe that’s what growing up is all about.  It’s relative.  We’re as youthful or old as we believe.

And if we’re lucky, at least on the inside, we’ll keep getting younger.

 

What are your thoughts on aging?  Comments are always welcome and if you’d like to receive postings by email, just enter your address at the top.  Thank you so much for reading and sharing!

22 Comments

  1. I LOVE this piece!!! Your attitude is great. Love the unexpected aches and twinges you assume are life-threatening – isn't that the TRUTH! Agh – make myself crazy worrying. And love you spotting the beleaguered older woman who turned out to be you – hysterical. You write with truth, insight, and spirit. Thanks for this one! Timely for me…XXOO

  2. When I was about 14 I remember my mother was driving me somewhere, she turned to look at it briefly, and then said: I know you look at me and think I’m old but on the inside I feel exactly your age.
    That has stuck with me since that day and I think about it over 30 years later all the damn time.
    I feel so Young on the inside – – and I hope that never changes.

    • Laurie Stone

      Carla, I think the inside keeps us young. I know people who always feel old inside, and they look it. Attitude is everything.

  3. I have to agree with Haralee. Attitude is a HUGE part of this! I refuse to allow myself to feel like an old lady. At 48, I’m still feeling in my 30’s. Wish I could say the same for my hubs. 🙂

    Thanks girl! Keep at it!

    B

    • Laurie Stone

      Bren, Wait till you hit 60! I was expecting to feel all horrible and old, but surprisingly I feel good. Daily yoga helps a lot. It always has.

    • Laurie Stone

      Roxanne, Thank you so much. I’ve had to learn to slow down a lot over the years. Sometimes its easier than others, but it always helps in the end.

  4. My parents were in their 40’s when they had me, so old has always been a fluid number for me, it’s always been 10 years older than my parents. My mother is 97, so old is now 107. I do find that I’m less self-conscious the older I get, but that doesn’t make me old!

    • Laurie Stone

      Jennifer, I love how old is 107! Perfect. I agree, old is always older than my mother who I still think of as youthful. She’s 82.

  5. Boy, isn’t it the truth?! How we raced through things in our 20’s. I am continually surprised at how happy, confident and COMFORTABLE I am in my 50’s.
    I had a great-great-great aunt who never stopped enjoying life. Even when she was unable to live alone. She chose to move to a nursing home because ‘that’s where all my friends are’!! even though we had a place for her with us. She had a blast those final years -was the ribbon cutter at the towns first McDonalds!
    May we all live like Hattie!

    • Laurie Stone

      Laura, Your great-great-great aunt sounds adorable. Its all about love of life, which doesn’t go away with age. If anything it increases. Thanks for sharing about wonderful Hattie.

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