So far, being 60 isn’t as horrible as I’d feared it would be. But then, I’ve only been 60 since Monday.
One of the things that has always amazed me—since my early 20s—is the realization that despite our age, there’s a part of us, deep inside that is, in fact, ageless. Think about it for a moment. Focus on the you beneath the physical. Don’t you feel like the same person, inside, that you’ve always been?
Sometimes that sense is so strong, that it can be a real shock, looking in the mirror. And I’m not the only one to experience that, either.
One day, a few years ago, my daughter was going through her wedding photo album. My husband was close by, knew what she was doing, and had a look over her shoulder. Then he frowned, and in all seriousness, pointed at one of the pictures and said, “Who’s that old guy? I don’t remember seeing him there.”
My daughter just met his gaze and said, “That’s you, you fool.”
My husband mumbled something that sounded like “no way”. Then he sighed and said, “I was afraid you were going to say that. It’s why I don’t look in the mirror unless I have to.”
As we age, for the most part, it’s our bodies that change. We lose height and gain body mass (well, most of us do). Where we used to take a single vitamin in the morning, now we have those handy little pill organizers chock full of our daily doses of better living through chemistry. We use new and creative means and then resort to cuss words when we try to get our bodies to bend the way we need them to bend just to be able to put on our socks. One thing that doesn’t make any sense at all: why the floor has gotten so much farther away when we’re not as tall as we used to be.
We need afternoon naps much more than we ever used to—and earlier, too, beginning mid-morning. We used to walk for blocks, and now we just read the blogs, instead.
But it really isn’t only in the physical disciplines, or lack thereof, where our increased age shows. Some things that used to really annoy us don’t cause a single blip on our mental or emotional radar, while things that are really inconsequential in the overall scheme of things, are often causes for all out, bloody war.
We used to have no trouble at all with the concepts of tact and diplomacy when we were younger—yes you might have thought something, but you certainly never would say it. Now—for better or worse—our inner curmudgeon seems to have taken over. He—or she—isn’t so inner anymore.
I wondered about that last fact, and I decided that the real truth is, the emergence of our heretofore mute inner imp is, in fact, a reward to us. It is! It’s nature’s gift to us for our having lasted so long. It likely begins coming out around the age of 60 (imagine that!) but isn’t fully out of its cocoon and at full power until the mid seventies heading toward eighty.
Do you doubt me? Remember that friend who always asked you if a particular outfit made her look sallow and ugly? And you, being in your twenties or thirties would find creative ways of either not commenting, or telling one of those myriad little white lies to assure her she was beautiful? Because, really, what was the point of being honest?
Well, getting older seems to free people from the need to be quite so diplomatic. I can foresee a time when someone might ask me, “does this outfit make me look ugly?” and my response might be, “honey, the outfit has nothing to do with it.”
And no one will shush me because, well, I’ll be old!
One more thing getting older means is a slight change of perspective. When you’re older you look at the youth of today and realize they’re lazy, they have no respect, possess hideous personal hygiene, questionable taste in music and clothes, and are completely self centered.
Hmm. Come to think of it, I seem to recall hearing words to that affect from the elders of my day, when I was a twenty-something.