I consider myself anchored in reality. Maybe. Most of the time. My age starts with a 7 followed by another digit. (Yeah I know. I can’t believe it either. Such a perky thing like me!). I can’t in all honesty call myself middle-aged anymore. Not unless I intend to live to 140. I avoid calling attention to my age but once in a while I use it to set expectations and for the occasional senior discount.
The other day I was talking with a person who wasn’t understanding what I was willing to do or what my limitations are. I am healthy but I lack the energy I had in my youth and I do not do risky things. That includes anything I don’t want to do along with high ladders, heavy lifting or activities that may break a bone. I also don’t want to do a lot of consecutive hours of intense work.
She spent time telling me I’m not old (do I need a birth certificate?) She did all those stupid platitudes. “You’re only as old as you feel!” “You are (fill in the blank) years YOUNG.” “It’s only a number!” Gawd, gag me with a spoon! (Does that date me?)
The reality is that people age. It’s okay. It’s better than the alternative (which I told her). I’m not embarrassed about my age but I don’t like people freaking out about it so I keep it on the down low. One problem (if you can call it that) is that I don’t look my age so people assume I am much younger. They expect things from me that I just don’t want to do.
Part is my gene pool. My brother is 91 and he looks about 70. If he could hear better he would pass for even younger (that’s a different post). His wife is 92 and she looks younger than many of my contemporary friends who have decided aging is an excuse to loosen up the grooming habits.
How I look is a result of things I have no control over like health, access to good foods and the gene pool. Pick your parents carefully!
Back to my theme. It’s okay to say you are old. It’s not an excuse to get out of things (well, maybe sometimes) but to let people understand that I am not 50 so no, I don’t want to sit in bleacher seats for a concert. Nor do I want to sky-dive. That’s just me though. I know there are 90-year-olds jumping out of planes. I wouldn’t do it at 30.
There are house projects I wouldn’t do at this point that I would have done twenty years ago. They are too hard, too exhausting or would take me so long the project would outlive me.
Please stop telling people to not say “old” or try to sugar coat with silly platitudes that no one believes. It’s not a bad word. Many people don’t live long enough to call themselves “old” so buck up buttercup and wear it with pride!
Words like “frail” and “ancient” are the ones you want to avoid. They imply something worse than years of life. Ancient will always be 20 years older than I am. Always!