Just Because You’re Aging Doesn’t Mean You’re old
Getting old is a privilege many never have. They die young and pretty but miss out on a lot of living.
For those of us who live to grow older and eventually old, certain things happen to let you know your youth has hit the highway. The first time I felt the aging process was when someone addressed me as ma’am instead of Miss.
I’m still a Miss, just an older one.
It hasn’t been so much the way I see myself, as the way the world sees me and the assumptions they make. Youth is one thing. Old age is another, and there are a lot of those middle years in between.
But you know you’ve stepped on that ladder toward old age when certain things happen.
Doctors and Police Look Young
My mother always said you knew you were getting older when the doctors and police started to look young. I experienced this first-hand recently.
I called the police, and this young, handsome guy in blue responded. I took note of his name and realized he was one of my son’s classmates.
He used to sit in the back seat of my car when youth hockey occupied my weekends, a little boy every way. Now here he was ready to serve and protect.
Alright, mom, you were right.
The gray roots are the first things you see as youth turns to middle age. Yes, age begins with your hair. First, it was only at my part, then at my temples.
Next, the skin around my eyes crinkled, and my brow had shallow but distinct lines. Then the line between my eyebrows deepened. I developed my mother’s jowls and alas, the telltale sign of old age, the beginnings of the dreaded turkey neck.
Now my waist is disappearing in a menopausal assault complete with hot flashes.
Funny how you seem to age from the head down. And no, I don’t mean my brain.
So now my age is showing, and society has responded with kind acts reserved for us oldies.
Relaxing Rush Hour — Part 1
Last night, rush hour on the subway, I grabbed a spot at the back of what felt like a cattle car, away from the doors. I was on my way home from work and happy the day was over.
Then suddenly, I heard from below me, “Would you like to sit down?” The person speaking was a young woman probably in her 20s. This wasn’t the first time another woman had made this offer. I was flattered but perplexed. Why would she think I needed to sit down? Was I swaying or something?
I declined but decided to ask the question that was screaming in my head.
“Do I really look that old?”
She smiled, but she didn’t say no. I made light of it and thanked her but remained standing. I’m sure she was tired, too.
That was yesterday.
Relaxing Rush Hour — Part 2
Then again this morning, an attractive young woman and I were standing in front of a young man on a crowded train. He stood and said, “Sit.” He meant me. I needed to write, so I took it.
At the next train, a young man stood back and motioned for me to go first.
There it was again, twice in one day. In fact, it was twice in one trip.
Note: I say “young” men. Old guys my age push everyone out of the way to get on the train first and sit down. One even told people to get out of his way!
Medicare kicks in at 65, and to me, that is when you are officially a senior and entitled to save a dollar here and there.
While purchasing a ticket at the movies, the cashier asked me if it was for a senior. I immediately retorted, “No, I’m only 61.”
“Our senior discount applies then, ma’am.”
Oh no, there was that word again.
Now that other people are seeing it, I know it’s true: I am beginning to look like I’m aging. And I am.
It’s a new experience and one that snuck up on me the same way adolescence did over 40 years ago when the boobs started. It took me years to get used to that young body that drew stares from the opposite sex, now it’s slowly but perceptively changing its shape again.
But I’m strong and healthy.
I expected to get old. I didn’t expect it to happen so soon.
Youth is fleeting, and no amount of face cream, makeup, or exercise will hide the years. Do I want to look old? No. Do I want to look like Cher when I’m 70? Again, probably not, though she looks good.
For one thing, it would be weird to look that much younger than my siblings. They’d make fun of me and do it to my face. They are neither shy nor two-faced.
I want to look good for my age, but not 30 years younger. Nope. Leave youth to the young. Let them take it on with all its perks and setbacks.
I don’t envy them. They’ve got years of life and struggle ahead and a lot to change to make this world a livable place for man and beast. I don’t have the energy or desire, so I’m leaving it in their capable hands.
I’ll have to go with grays, the turkey neck, and the thickening waist.
I’ll smile and let the wrinkles show.
And I’ll take that seat on the train.