Have you noticed the amazing differences in perceptions of what is ‘OLD AGE’ – as seen through the age of the eyes of the beholder? It varies considerably, I can tell you.
Once, when our young grand-daughter was about 8 years old, she was doing a serious ‘makeover’ of me – starting with my hair. (I will leave it to your imagination what she did to my face!) Having thoroughly wet all of my hair with the help of a spray bottle of rainwater and some gel, she proceeded to comb it into a most incredible and freakish version of a Mohawk. Of course, the ‘wet’ look also transformed my silver-grey locks into a charcoal grey (almost black) tone.
It was at this point that she stated, “Oh Gran – you look beautiful. I made you all young again!”. Well-ll-ll, er-r-r-r??
Then there was the time – long ago – when I was sweet 16, and working in a large, open typist pool in an insurance office. I would come home and regularly and bitterly complain to my parents about the Office Manager – “…that OLD George Brown”, and his strictness about tea-break times, and trying to rush us girls through important chores like maintenance and renewal of faces and hairdos. And that same ‘OLD George Brown’ resented all our girlish giggling and gossiping – and for some reason, seemed to wear a perpetual frown, which tended to make him look much OLDER than he already was.
At last, my Mum wondered out loud – “So, how OLD is George Brown?”, whereupon I answered, quite nonchalantly, as I remember, “Oh, he’s REALLY OLD – he MUST be at least 30!” Well-ll-ll…..we won’t linger there!
Suddenly you’re 60 – and if you thought Life was rushing by up until now – I have a newsflash. NOW the years actually whirl by your eyes like a hurricane (and can leave similar wreckage!) And you can hardly believe you are in the here and now, at this place and time of history – and at THIS age, already so soon.
On a lesser day, you may feel a few creaks and groans, as old ‘war’ wounds come back to haunt you. It may even happen that these things will start a ‘feeling sorry for yourself’ episode, and cause you to forget all the positives. Until – in the mail – comes an invitation to a combined 85th birthday party!
And that REALLY shocks you back to reality – and so you travel the long distance to share their special day with them, and all your other mutual and ageing friends. And at this ‘antique’ gathering, the stars of the show tell you how young you look and how they wish they were still your age!! Well…ll…ll.
So you see, no matter the perception – what REALLY matters is how you view yourself. I love an adage I collected somewhere along the way –
“It’s not about what Life does to you,
– it’s what you do with what Life does to you’
I suggest we all accept the inevitable ‘march’ of the years, and embrace the potential that lays at our feet – to finally be able to do exactly what we choose, when we choose – and solely for ourselves, if that’s what we choose. No guilt, no regrets, no ‘what-ifs’ – just grab each day and ‘hobble’ along with it, enjoying it with all the diminishing gusto you can summon.
Mark Twain said it in a nutshell – ‘Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it don’t matter’.
© 2011 Christine Larsen All Rights Reserved