So much has been written about getting old – most of it is either trying to be funny, or it’s just plain sad. Since I’m turning 70 in a few days, I thought I’d try my hand at it.
I’ve found that there are some real advantages to getting old, as opposed to not being around at all:
#1: I finally realize that I’m good at what I do. I can play the piano beautifully, and I can write. I don’t need constant reassurance (well, maybe a little . . .). For so many years I questioned whether I was good enough. Soooooo, take it from 70YO me: That is a giant time waster. Just do what you do, and try to do it the best you can.
#2: I can do whatever I want. I’m retired. I can wake up when I want, usually when the cats start meowing at the bedroom door, or the crows start their annoying cawing for peanuts. I have my cup of hot chocolate, and plan my day around what I want to do, not what I have to do. My whole life had consisted of other people telling me what to do, from going to school, the nuns in the convent, my job, teaching, raising children. And now – freedom! I’m really grateful for it.
#3: If I forget anything, like someone’s name, or a date on the calendar, or if I don’t know how to use the latest app, or if I drive the speed limit, I have “old age” to blame. It’s the greatest excuse, and I’m planning on using it as much as I can.
#4: I have hundred and hundreds of books on my Kindle, and I should be well set for the rest of my life especially since I’ve forgotten the plots and characters of most of them. My plan is to pick two favorite books, and my children will just interchange them every few weeks in the board-and-care home, and I’ll think each one is brand new!
#5: I’ve never really cared much about how I looked. Now I care even less. I’m not at the pink- or blue-hair stage, and I haven’t worn my bra over my clothes yet, but other than that, I wear whatever I want. I live in a community that has some wonderful people in it, but it has more than its share of bloated lips and nail emergencies, including urgent Facebook requests for make-up help, and I’m glad NOT to be part of that. My closet is full of “what not to wear” in many different sizes, and I’m happy. Really happy.
#6: I’m not worried anymore. After Laura’s attack and my bout with cancer, I’m just very happy to have a life and a wonderful one at that. It only takes a few life-threatening incidents to help you break the worry habit. I no longer worry about how I look, or about home décor, airplanes, the weather, or the news (although that’s a difficult one lately). I’ve given up worrying about all the advice we receive every day like ‘no sugar, no carbs, yes carbs, no caffeine, wait, yes, now caffeine is good for you. But don’t drink too much, but also not drinking is bad.’ These warnings are usually under a headline that reads: “How to add more years to your life.” I certainly don’t want to add those years at the end of my life when I’m in the nursing home and down to just two books!!
Bottom line: I’m not going to waste my life worrying about what COULD happen –– because what DOES happen is never the thing we worry about.