On Turning Sixty… My Honest Look At Aging
As I turn sixty and step into another decade of life, I find myself looking inward to see where I’m at in this moment in time. While I’m grateful to have ‘made it this long’, I know I am on the downward slope. I had a reading awhile back, where the psychic used cards to represent the decades of my life, laying down 8 cards (averaging one lives to be close to eighty). Being In my fifties, she removed 5 cards leaving three on the table. When I saw all those cards removed and 3 remaining, it left me with the feeling that time was slipping away. Now turning sixty, I can remove one more card. Now I’ve only 2 cards/decades left – twenty years if I am lucky (or maybe more – depending). It sure puts a different perspective on life.
At some point over the decades, there was no defining moment, but I went from a Miss to a Ma’am. (Sometimes, there’s the absolutely horrible ‘My Dear’).
In my forties, I remember going to a pharmacy and asking for a feminine-type product. I was shocked when the sales clerk asked if I was still menstruating. “Why wouldn’t I be,” I had cursed to myself?
Upon reaching my fifties, a visit to the gynecologist with issues had him asking, “Do you still have sexual intercourse?” “Why wouldn’t I be,” I had cursed to myself?
It was also at this time, while over lunch with a friend, I remember her commenting, when women reach a certain age that we become invisible. I recall that feeling well, again there was no defining moment, it just seemed to happen. Where once I could hold my own with other gals when men glanced my way, over recent years, the glances are few and far between, if at all.
Recently, I’ve noticed that if I let my hair grow out naturally, with the beautiful silver/grey that it is, people do treat me differently, especially young people. Not only am I invisible, but if I am noticed, I am treated as a senior citizen – old, feeble, or needing help, sometimes ignored – it’s that invisible thing again. I still find it hard to relate to. When I hadn’t highlighted my hair after the summer, we were at The Keg. When I was leaving, an elderly lady (she was definitely in her seventies or older) came across the parking lot and said, “Oh, I thought you were my sister!” Geeze, I sure hope she meant her ‘younger’ sister.
It leaves me to wonder what I will notice over the next decade.
I’ll admit, I’m nervous. My body is changing. Perhaps a little too quickly for my liking. While my brain is still functioning at a 40 – early 50‘ish – who knows what age at any given moment – let’s have a fun time level – my body finds if hard some days to keep up. I can’t go crazy and spend hours anymore cleaning my house, as the next day it is very difficult to move. Standing in the kitchen cooking for hours at a time takes its toll on my feet and back.
On a recent vacation, I noticed other things happening with my body which were a little disappointing. Lack of muscle strength, sore feet, tired bones – they all became ailments as the days progressed.
So I look at these experiences and realize I have a choice today as I turn sixty. I’m at a crossroads as they say. I feel that I can give into this ‘aging thing’ and come up with excuses, where I refuse to do things because ‘I can’t anymore’, or I can try.
Actually, try is not a good word in any sense. How about I will. I will do something to increase my muscle strength and mobility. I’ll keep dancing and walking up and down stairs, finding opportunities for physical fitness in any form. I’ll watch my diet, and even though my metabolism is running at the movement level of a sloth, I’ll continue to learn of ways to increase it.
I don’t want to give in to physical or mental declining age. My mental capacity is excited for new adventures and learning. There’s still so much to be done, so much to learn. I believe I will drag my body along, kicking and screaming if necessary, but at the same time, I promise to be loving and cherish what she gives me today. For it is today that matters. Not giving into complacency on this day will assure me that tomorrow I will have a good ‘today’.
I agree everyone is different, everyone ages differently. Today is all about choices in how we choose to age physically, mentally, and emotionally. How do you choose?