When I was a teenager, I couldn’t imagine being 64 years old–ever. Like every other teenage girl, I was self-absorbed and very conscious of looks, fashion, and so on. I remember how terribly important it seemed at the time to use the right mascara, eye shadow, lip gloss; what outfit I wore to school, and whether or not I looked “cool.” Like many girls my age, I slept with my hair in those torturous wire and brush rollers, so my hair would be fashionably poufy the next day. Who needed sleep anyway?
My mother, impatient at me for being nearly late for the bus because of all my primping, would say, “You know, the entire world is not holding its breath, waiting for you to stroll out of the front door like Loretta Young! (see picture below)”
But that’s how youth is, and youth can’t imagine being old. In my teens, I thought that “old” meant being over 30. At that time, 30 seemed so far away. And you know what? At this age, 30 still seems far away–only it’s gone the other way….
What I couldn’t know then was that your outlook, attention and focus change as you get older. You accept yourself as you are, from head to foot, warts and all. (That may take a while, but it does happen.) In fact, when I looked through our family album recently I said to myself, ‘what the heck was I worried about? I was a good-looking kid!’ Funny, isn’t it? You never give yourself credit for who you are when you’re young.
However, getting older is a whole lot more fun than I could have imagined. These days, I actually don’t give two hoots about what other people think of me. In fact, it’s hard to remember when that did matter. Once you grow up, have some real life experiences–many of which are big and scary–you change your focus. These experiences change you in that you become more aware of your mortality; that your time is limited and you’d best get the most out of it.
There are definitely things to look forward to as those birthdays begin to blur by. So, at the surprisingly glorious age of 64, I am grateful for all the “perks” I have, such as:
- Family–it is EVERYTHING
- Senior discounts (love them)
- Less makeup to wear (trust me on this one; less really IS more when you’re older)
- You buy shoes for comfort, not for looks
- You cherish people far more than things
- You notice nature a lot more and appreciate it
- You read for pleasure and for information
- It’s a lot easier to spot people who will only bring you pain, problems and bad karma
- It’s very satisfying to hang up on people you don’t want to speak with, i.e., political surveyers
- You realize you don’t need to waste time with people you don’t like
- It becomes fun to give your stuff away
- You laugh with people your own age because you realize you sound just like your parents
- If you haven’t worn it, used it or even remembered it in a year–toss it!
- Bad jokes are even funnier than when you first heard them
- You learn to agree to disagree with good friends; it’s the friendship that really matters
- You view those silver hairs as your own personal tiara
- You realize that you don’t ever, EVER have to do something you hate because someone else wants you to
- You find it’s really ok not to clean and dust every single day
- You take up some new fun hobby and enjoy the very hell out of it
- You take a good hard look at your Bucket List, and transfer some items to the F***it List (hey, you weren’t ever going hike Kilamanjaro, were you?!)
So, there you have it–age is what you make it. And there are all those perks, too!