Aging slowly through experiences

Courtesy of openclipart

Courtesy of openclipart

Tonight we are celebrating the 70th birthday of an old friend. We haven’t seen him in a while and are looking forward to it.

I remember when 70 was really old. I mean like one foot in the grave old. In a sense, it still is if you look at total life span but not in the same way it used to be.

It’s key to be healthy. Without walkers or other visible aids, it’s hard to tell what age people are. Sometimes up close and personal you can see hearing aids peeping out or notice the orthopedic platform shoes (really wish they made those) but generally speaking, unless a person has a health issue, you can hide a lot with well-chosen clothes. (Note to self: Get rid of spandex when you reach 70.)

I have friends with chronic illnesses or who have survived bouts with cancer and you can’t tell their age. They are upbeat and young at heart and that is what you see. Medical conditions are managed so much better these days and a big part of aging is your mental condition.

Never, ever guess! It doesn’t matter what age someone is, it’s never a good idea unless you are running a carnival booth. Even then don’t do it to your friends. They will never talk to you again if you either overshoot their real age or are anywhere near it. If you must do it always subtract 20 years from what you think.

As a child I always looked younger because I was small boned. I hated it when someone thought I was younger. That started in first grade and included my entire 20s when I was constantly carded at bars and nightclubs.

I was carded through my 30s too. By the time I moved into my 40s, I looked young but certainly not under 21 so the carding stopped (which was almost as sad as always getting carded was annoying).

Some people think that men age better. That’s not always true. One of the biggest ‘agers’ is extra weight. Then there is the hair. If you can manage both of those you are golden no matter what sex you are.

There is the neck waddle thing. It runs in my family. Not much you can do about that. Keep that chin up and out (and try not to fling that skin around)!

I am anxious to see our friend and meet some of the other friends about whom I have heard outrageous stories. Some of the stories are so wild that I’m hoping that the perpetrators look like they could have actually happened.

Crazy stories about motorcycles just don’t fit when the guy is bald, chunky and using a walker. Hard to imagine him as a stud muffin but then again, we all have stories from our youth that no one would believe.

Sometime they are better left in our memoirs. Or maybe told at 70th birthday parties.

42 thoughts on “Aging slowly through experiences

  1. Happy 70th birthday to your friend. May he enjoy many more. For me, the subject of aging was a non-issue when Mr. Musser moved into an apartment in my Grammy’s home. I was maybe 6. He was about 86, but a very active. I’ve met folks in their early 30s who are O-L-D. They have no energy and no youthful ideas. Mr. Musser took me fishing, ran errands for our family and his. Wonderful man. He was 105 when he passed. He was a bachelor, very shy. It’s hard to imagine what he might have been like when he was younger but he was a wonderful man who I felt was young at heart. Another plus, he loved cats. 😉

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    • That’s so true. I always hold up my brother at 84 who I think of as my contemporary. My former in-laws were so active until the end too. They were my inspiration on the right way to retire. They lived about an hour or so from my former husband and me and we had a really hard time getting to see them because they had “activities” going all the time. We’d call and ask if we could come this weekend or that and it always, “Ah no, we’re going to the shore or Alaska or somewhere!” They were my idols! At age 80 my father in-law got sick and was dead in 2 weeks and his wife, who had beginning signs of dementia ended up in an assisted living place. Between 65 and 80 they lived a great life of freedom and community. Sounds like Mr. Musser could be a blog post….just saying.

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  2. Age…it runs my life. How many jobs do I lose because of it despite looking younger. I always laugh though…what…do they think I’ll expire in the middle of a work day? Of course most of the ad agencies these days are run by kids, so anyone remotely near their parent’s age is automatically old.

    I never ask anyone how old they are because I don’t like when I’m asked. Aging is not a crime. I’d like to meet the person who thinks they’re getting around it.

    Even Houdini ( I’m reading about him) couldn’t elude it.

    Nice piece, and Happy Birthday to your friend.

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  3. I’ve learned, as you say, that “you can hide a lot with well-chosen clothes.” Thank goodness I have a teenage granddaughter so I can buy her some to those cute fitted dresses that are in style now.

    I like the quote above from Ira Glass: “Great stories happen to those who can tell them.” I would add that great stories happen to those who recognize that what just happened was interesting enough to be a story. Although some people are definitely more wild than others.

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    • One of my friends is a sharp dresser. She looked fabulous both before and after her gastric bypass because she knew what to wear and how to pull it together. The casual clothes for teenagers is a lot of fun. Occasionally I will get a tee-shirt in that department. Yes, I take the large but it’s more fun.

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  4. The state of mind is important as one ages; positive thinking goes a long way! My hub is 84 and I’ll be 84 in November…time has been very kind to both of us. We both look much younger…thanks to being contented and happy. School reunions are a real ‘hoot’…we went to one in June and we were shocked at how old so many looked…they were only in their 50’s and 60’s but looked much older. Time changes things…changes us. But hey, it’s an awesome life! A good post and happy birthday to your friend. Love and life are good.

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    • I often talk about my brother who is also 84. He neither looks nor acts as you would expect for that age. If I had to guess I would peg him for 20 years younger. He is active and upbeat and that all counts. I expect that you and your husband are a lot like him.

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  5. At my high school reunion I gravitated to the ones who just didn’t seem to have changed. Others I had to honestly read their name tag to identify them. And then there’s my name…many commented I am the only one they have met with my name…I hope they remember me because I haven’t changed. I too, am small boned and my girls comment “You don’t look like other moms.” ( a compliment I think)…I agree about the clothes…I love Talbot’s and Chico’s. They understand who we are and provide the style to help us pull ourselves together.

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  6. My friend has been married 70 years! Her husband is 96 and still driving her around and taking care of things. He volunteers at a hospital gift shop and she plays bridge 5 days a week. And they still live independently in their own home. Imagine?

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    • That is so awesome! I hope they live many good years and when things are not so good, they go together. My mother-in-law was lost when her husband died at 80. Some bounce back really well and date and socialize but she didn’t.

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  7. 70! Wow – a great age!! Then I remember that I am about to become – well – just five years younger 🙂 I am round and don’t wear spandex. There is no hope for me it appears – but I do have some great stories!! 🙂

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  8. Happy birthday to your friend and enjoy! I am so happy to learn about someone who has memories that are wild and daring! Still at 70, alive and kicking with his memories of motorcycle adventures. I am like you, have looked younger than most, for many years (except the 40’s where I gained 40 lbs.) but now that I am ‘back on track’ I may be ok to go to my 40th high school reunion and ‘pass’ the grade! Ha ha! I left a long and rambling response about my German ancestors, on Jill’s post. I am sorry to tell you, Kate, that I go in spurts on blogging. I go to the library daily, but over weekends, I spend time with my grandkids. I enjoyed your answers in the interview, think you do look like Meg Ryan, also thought that you have a great sense of humor! I looking forward to learning more about you! Smiles, Robin

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    • Thanks! I have never attended any of my high school reunions but people who do enjoy them. I have attended as a spouse and they are ok as long as people don’t keep talking about old times (but what do you expect at a reunion?).

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  9. I have always looked much younger than my age too. Got carded into my 30’s. It was a real pain when I was managing a $3K business in my mid-20’s and I had to fire a number of my vendors because they didn’t take me seriously. So glad to know someone else who has had the same experiences!

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    • OMG! Business! I was giving a presentation on corporate training options to a group of division execs. Definitely an all boys club. The VP introduced me and followed with “the general office sent us this pretty little girl.” Thought I would die but I went on to be professional and I did get cooperation from them.

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      • I got cooperation too after I fired a vendor or two. It was in the book business and the used book buy-back guys were taking my work study students out drinking after work…totally unacceptable. Once people knew I wouldn’t tolerate such things all went smoothly.

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  10. Interesting observations about weight, but in my experience it’s the women and men who are thinnest who look the worst! By a certain age they look emaciated and sick– think Nancy Reagan and Ichabod Crane. It’s the other plumper people who look most vibrant and alive– like they still know how to have a good time. Just started noticing that in the last few years, in fact. It gives me hope about living into my 70s.

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    • I didn’t say no spanx! Those are engineered to make people smooth. I just can’t get into them or is it that I can’t breathe when I do. Either way I’m fortunate that my lumps aren’t too bad. Just thinking of those guys with the biking pants that look two sizes too small.

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  11. Although my life’s story wouldn’t be rated strictly PG (maybe PG-13), sometimes I envy those who lived their life outrageously. They may look worse in the end, but weren’t they the ones having crazy fun? Although I plan to continue to exercise, eat right, and get to bed at a decent hour, maybe in the 22 years until my 70th, there is still time for me to add an outrageous story or two to my legacy.

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  12. When I joined FB and hooked up with some High School friends ~> most of the girls looked great (slim, trim, full of vim and vigor). Except for a few that had “blossomed” in a BIG way.

    In contrast, most of the guys looked ancient. And old. Like gnomes.

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    • I saw that too. Sometimes it was just all the white hair with the weathered face from golfing (or whatever guys do outside). Women are more tuned into using sunscreen and it makes a difference.

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