Lifestyle

A musing

Sharon Vander MeerThoughts on aging

I am old but it pisses me offmakes my blood boilgrinds on me… is a rude awakening when people treat me like I’m old. Even worse, I recall treating old people the same – or worse – when I was young. The following is a short list of comments I would prefer people keep to themselves.

Isn’t she sweet. Puleeze. Some of the crotchiest people I know are old and they have every right to be crotchety. Nothing works the way it used to. Sometimes peeing is the priority and there is NO BATHROOM IN SIGHT! Your kids rarely call. You spend way too much time wondering how time got away from you. The bucket list sprung a leak a long time ago and all your dreams drained away. You would be crotchety, too.

She sure is feisty. What the hell does that mean and why is is applied more often to old women than anyone else? People with a few miles on them have learned the value of persistence, hard work, dedication, and self-denial. There’s nothing “feisty” about that. It’s plain common sense.

Let me get that for you. Yes, it is nice for people to lend a helping hand, but sometimes it makes older folks feel helpless and hopeless. Age-related changes become more evident when you can’t bend over and pick up something you’ve dropped, or the door to the post office is too heavy for you to open on your own. You appreciate the courtesy of kind gestures, but it irritates you as well because someone decides you can’t do it for yourself. Go figure.

Is that appropriate attire for a woman your age? Oh, it’s never said that way outright, but subtly raised eyebrows or a snicker behind the hand conveys volumes without a word being said. I’m delighted the fashion of the ’50s that put women in house dresses with no thought to style has come and gone. Women no longer must fit a mold. I don’t care if leggings are only meant for young skinny women; I’ll wear them anyway. Life is too short to let anyone dictate one’s style.

You don’t look your age. Gloria Steinem famously said to the person who told her she didn’t look 40, “This is what 40 looks like.” This is what aging looks like. Telling someone they don’t look their age when they clearly do, is an insult. Mom used to say, “I’ve earned every wrinkle and gray hair.” So have I. Life is good, even joyful most of the time. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. No one does. I do know I will be about the business of living fully and with anticipation. I believe that no matter what age you are, you can have hope for new adventures, even when the adventure is a trip to Charlie’s for a cup of Starbucks.


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8 replies »

  1. Great post. I don’t look my age, well at least not according to the high school kid at the IHOP the other day. She wanted to give me the senior discount. But I have probably had the senior discount look for 15 years now and I am not even there yet. Good thing about looking old already is that nobody notices when you really get old.

  2. I don’t mind the appreciation for how flexible I am, or that I don’t look my age, but I sure share your disgust at being treated like I am too out of it to understand “modern” styles and social behavior

  3. Great advice and insight into an aging persons journey. We all have to do it (if we’re lucky) and it helps to be understanding and not undermining or presumptuous of ones ability or age based on appearance.

    • Thanks and yep. I don’t think I realized as a young woman how important it was to older people to be respected. I wish I could go back and listen, really listen, to Dad and my grandmother. I was too impatient.