Some time back while perusing facebook, I came across a status update from a friend whose grandfather had just celebrated his 90-something birthday. In the comments it was asked if he’d spoken of any regrets he might carry from his many years of life. The answer went something like this:
The one thing I regret most is having felt old in my 50s and 60s. I wasted those decades because I had convinced myself that I was too old to enjoy them in many of the ways I well could have.
To someone close to hitting 100, 50 is a kid only half way through, and with 50 more years on offer.
Although there is little to no chance I’ll ever get anywhere near 100, I’ve incorporated this man’s thinking and keep the words of Mark Twain handy:
Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
And the fact is, I don’t mind. I don’t mind my age … I’m really crap with numbers, and like Erma Bombeck, “As a graduate of the Zsa Zsa Gabor School of Creative mathematics, I honestly do not know how old I am”, and in dog years, I’m dead …. and I don’t mind the ages of the people in my life. I don’t mind that my youngest child is 5 and that my oldest is 41 or that my last boyfriend is 39 or that some of my friends are in their 70s and others are in their 20s. I don’t mind that my mother is close to 80 … although I wish she was more comfortable.
I do mind that my son died at 38, my father at 69 and the boy I could have grown old with at 19.
As that prolific sage, Anon, once said:
Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.
No. I don’t regret my years. In fact, there are few minutes that ring the regret bell for me.
I do, however, fear senectitude … not the numbers, but the toll … much more than I fear death, although both come in the natural order of things.
It is old age, rather than death, that is to be contrasted with life. Old age is life’s parody, whereas death transforms life into a destiny: in a way it preserves it by giving it the absolute dimension. Death does away with time.
~ Simone de Beauvoir
But I’m not there yet … neither destination … and although I’m faced daily with the evidence of my own personal senescence, I can still ignore much of it, so I do. I wear what I damned well please, parent little kids, dance with whomever I like, talk too much, sing loud, add tattoos to my collection, do tequila shots, take my top off at the beach … whateverthefuck I want to do, I do.
There is no pleasure worth forgoing just for an extra three years in the geriatric ward. ~ John Mortimer
Given that I’m single again, I have been giving some thought to just how many years of cute I have left in me, so was encouraged by an article in the news today that showed Jane Fonda, 72, and Raquel Welsh, 70, looking and obviously feeling good.
Despite their combined age of 142, Jane Fonda and Raquel Welch were still turning heads as they appeared together at a charity event in Beverly Hills.
Okay … it sucks that men get away with this all the time without anyone making a big deal of their age (Did anyone ever think Cary Grant at 70 or Gregory Peck at 84 looked anything but hot?), but this is Planet Earth in 2010, so I live with it.
I know people decades younger who are too old for me … lackluster, boring twits with little imagination and no curiosity, wastes of space and youth … and that’s depressing as hell. Thoreau was too right when he said, “None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiasm.”
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. ~ Henry Ford
I know that timing has been lucky for me. I’m a Boomer and people have been talkin’ ’bout my generation for decades. I’m aging along with the likes of Keith Richards, although he has years on me, as he wades back through his foggy past and reminds us all what a fuckin’ good time we’ve had … and how much fun we’re still having.
And because my generation has buying power, marketing is finally setting out to make us feel pretty … after all, we’re neither blind, nor stupid, so do know that what hugs a 20-year-old ass won’t ride quite the same on one that’s been ridden longer … and models in their 40s, 50s and 60s are making the point of beauty beyond presumed boundaries well.
‘It’s been really fulfilling to create shots that celebrate the wonder of getting older.
‘It’s important to challenge what we see in our media with a broader reflection of beauty.
‘Enjoy the magic of these women, their confidence, their attitudes and their allure.
‘These wonderful faces express the joy of getting older – not something we see enough of.’
Would I turn back the clock if I could? Nah, although I’m not opposed to a bit of the old nip and tuck to make it look like the calendar missed a few pages and may go that route someday. I see nothing wrong with someone opting for a trade-in on a new set of tits or less eye baggage. I, like Oscar Wilde, do have limits, however:
To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.
As Brigette Bardot so aptly put it: It’s sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.
Yes … I’m ripening, and I’m okay with that. What was once firm isn’t so much now, my hair has less brown in it daily and I don’t shake off a hangover with anywhere near the ease I did a few years ago, but I’m still here and I’m still cute and I’m smarter than I used to be. And I have a good bloody time.
Unless I’m lucky enough to have death sneak up and bite me on the ass, the day will come, however, when I’ll wake up one morning and know I’m old. I’m hoping it will be a false alarm:
There is always some specific moment when we realize our youth is gone; but years after, we know it was much later. ~Mignon McLaughlin
Call me delusional, but I’ve not yet experienced that “specific moment” and I plan on putting that off as long as I can. After all …
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?