“I can’t wait to be an old lady!”

February 28th, 2023

This is what I said all the years of my growing up! I had several elderly aunts that I was inspired by.  They didn’t mean to be inspiring, they just were. Incredibly funny, they seemed to love life and live it fully. Getting together, these sisters told stories of growing up in the depression, and they turned life’s struggles into stories that captivated me. They laughed a lot! 

I so admired their shining, silvery, white hair. To my little girl eyes, it looked like a crown or halo. Their styles were not modern, just this soft white sparkly-shiny hair that framed their faces. I couldn’t wait to have the funny, carefree life they had – and to have a fluffy white crown of glory around my own face! 

I still feel much the same way as I now approach my 80th birthday! Except there are some things that come with aging that I didn’t know till I got here. 

We lose hair where we want it and grow a few stubbly ones where we don’t want them! Wrinkles abound, and we often are surprised by the stranger looking back at us in a mirror. Or in photos! 

We don’t focus as well anymore and multi-tasking becomes a chore, if we can even do it at all! 

We tire more easily and no amount of strong coffee or self-talk gets us energized. 

The first few years of all that are a bit hard. In fact some people never get over the shock and continually fight it, using up time and energy. 

Initially, maybe for the first year, I tried to forestall what was happening to me, but then the amount of work and money I was putting into it didn’t seem to be worth the tiny bits of results I saw. 

Remembering those precious aunts, I began to embrace this stage of my life – just as I had embraced motherhood, had embraced empty nestedness, had embraced retirement.  

There’s a lot to be said for this. This being content.  The younger me fought to make an impact and to make everything better in the world.  And the world didn’t get better! 

When I stopped fighting aging, I noticed a whole bunch of benefits!  I no longer need to chase those ads for the newest and latest miracle cures of aging. I no longer have to struggle opening doors when I have an armload of packages because some younger person loves to do it for me.  I am often now offered a better place in line at the grocery, and cars in the parking lot wait for me to cross.  I find people caring for me in little subtle ways that never happened before. It feels pretty darn good. 

There are tweezers and scissors that deal with those pesky hairs that pop up where they shouldn’t, and Vaseline makes the wayward eyebrow hairs lay flat as they are meant to.  Easy solutions, right at hand, have given me freedom to just go do something else.  

If you follow me at all, you know that there are wonderful “something elses”.  I love to challenge myself with vigorous hikes. Last summer I went camping alone along the Allegany River, in bear country. Had to hike in to my campsite, lugging all my gear. Sure, I have to stop for 5 minute rests if I’m on a really long strenuous hike, and that’s ok.   

I enjoy my life, even though my hair hasn’t grown  into that beautiful white crown I so admired!  Doesn’t matter. 

Because somewhere along the way I have learned some really important things about happiness and relationships and contentment. And maybe about what does really make a difference. 

The older me just wants to help younger folks make the world better.  Or not, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just enjoy being older and taking naps and reading. Maybe I’ll just tend my garden, have people over for dinner, cook yummy stuff. Write blog articles about what I’ve learned or am trying to learn.  I love that I don’t have to have an excuse for a nap. 

I have learned to enjoy being alone and being quiet. Enjoying all the things nature has to offer. And I notice what other people have to offer – happy people or hurting people. I now find them all interesting because,  maybe most important of all, I now know that I don’t have to fix everything that is broken. 

Not everything needs to be fixed or changed, and I’m ok with that now. 

I love being 80!   

And you will too! 

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