65…A Love-Hate Relationship
I turned 65 on Friday. Yikes…I am now officially a senior citizen, an old person. But when I look in the mirror, I don’t see an old person. But, I didn’t see a young person either. So begins my love-hate relationship with my age.
So even though I am officially a senior citizen, I am here to tell you that being 65 is not the end of the world. Life experiences have taught me a lot. That I’m very happy about. I have more confidence now than I ever had as a young person. There is no substitute for decades of dealing with “growing up”. I wouldn’t go back to being younger for anything. I would never want to relive the challenges of figuring out what it is I’m supposed to be doing, of people telling me what’s best for me, of striving to be the best friend, the best daughter, the best I can be. I wouldn’t go back to striving to make the best decisions for myself. I survived all that in one piece, surprisingly, and today I am so lucky to be living my life the way I want to. I think it took until my fifties to actually figure “IT” all out. Finally, I know who I am, what I want out of life. I don’t care so much of what others think of me. This is me…take it or leave it.
And it feels so much better than being anxious all the time, of being fearful, sad, and mad at myself for not following everyone’s rules, unsure of myself, of being pressured into being something I’m not, of not liking myself. Finally, I like me…and my life.
I believe there is this unmistakable myth that at 65 you suddenly get old. You slow down or become less interested in having fun and adventure. I know that isn’t true. I am happy to report that I’m still having fun and will continue traveling, learning and doing anything I am able to. I am still working until the end of the year but that’s my choice.
I know I am one of the lucky ones in that I am in excellent health, and am grateful every day for that. Right now I am still going to the gym and work out with people thirty years younger than myself. I may be a little slower and can’t master that surfer get-up, but I’m there and having fun.
The Hate part of being 65 are not my thoughts on being 65, or my lessened capabilities or when I look in the mirror I see my white hair or a few wrinkles. The Hate part comes from other people’s perceptions of what 65 is.
- I hate constantly seeing articles on Fashion for women over 60/65 touting rules for dressing, or the new footwear we should be wearing. Should I hang up my jeans, what about leggings? My God, why do I have to dress any differently than I ever did? I like looking my best and still care about being fashionable. My new favorite store is the same one as my 15-year-old niece shops at; my 20, 30 and 40-year-old friends shop there. If I want to wear jeans or leggings I will. And you will never find me in velcro runners.
- Constantly being reminded and asked about how much money I have saved for retirement. Are you sure you have enough money? Spare me the lecture on saving more…that train has left the station. I have earned and I have saved and will manage. I will have a place to live, I will eat and I will pay my bills. And I will LIVE.
- People saying to me, “65!! You look good… for your age”. Those may be the worst dreaded words a woman can hear…along with “you can’t do that “at your age.” If you say those words to me you better tread lightly.
- At this point, “you don’t look 65” almost becomes insulting. I am 65 and this is what I look like. Sixty-five is not a bad thing. We all age differently and I was blessed with good genes. Thanks, Mom, and Bus.
So, if you too are 65, celebrate with me. Raise a glass to a different and evolving idea of aging. Toast to the beauty of experience and of being oh so much wiser than we were at 20. Find joy in showing the younger generation that we can still live our lives in a meaningful way and that we can pave the way for them. We can have a wonderful time appreciating what we are and all we have. We are changing the concept of aging. I love it.