Age Delusions, I Recall
Recently my dear husband, affectionately known on social media as EW, mentioned meeting a gentleman he described as “elderly” with whom he discussed various boating issues. As he related the conversation, clues about this “elderly” man’s age emerged.
I smiled wickedly and asked, “How old do you think he was”?
“My age!” he growled and walked away.
Who am I to laugh? EW has 10 years on me, but I have experienced the same age delusions: What? Me age? How ridiculous!
Age Delusions at 80-Something
Years ago, when I was a preteen, one of my older cousins and I were talking with our great uncle Gerald when Willie asked the octogenarian, “When did you feel like you were really an adult? When did you feel you knew enough?” Our uncle replied, “Not done yet. Still waitin’.”
My “Oh-My-God-I’m-Sixty!” moment occurred six months after the significant birthday when we reached an important life anniversary: 15 years living on a boat. (See bio.) Fifteen years ago we made a giant decision, sold our home, and moved aboard a sailboat. On the anniversary, I perused photos of that time and realized that I looked different 15 years ago; “in the prime of my life”, more fit, thinner, healthier, and 15 freaking years younger.
For the first time, it occurred to me that every anniversary celebration means I’m getting older and inching toward “elderly”.
For the first time, I mourned a bit for that younger, thinner, healthier self.
Age Delusions at 60-Something
Fifteen years ago, I was a woman who joyfully sold our renovated home, got rid of most of our stuff, and moved aboard a boat. This milestone has nearly equal footing with our wedding day 32 years ago. There’s the disconnect. I haven’t expected to look like that 28-year-old bride for a long time but I don’t feel a day over 45. I think I believed that my physical self was holding in place; a fully mature adult, active, working hard and having fun, essentially done changing until “poof” she became old at 70 or 75 (or better yet—90.) I didn’t feel any different. Well, I didn’t admit to feeling any different. Just like my great-uncle and EW and the “elderly guy”, I certainly didn’t feel older. In fact, as we sailed and traveled and hiked and swam I felt younger every year we were cruising. (These two photos are roughly 15 years apart.)
Yet I aged. We aged. It just happened. It snuck up on us. We didn’t just get older, we kind of got—if not “old”—“oldish”. Huffington Post shared a survey to confirm we with age delusions are not alone — and that those age delusions help us be healthier. I’m good with that. Warning, like EW, I don’t plan to consider 68 to be elderly, either. What’s sauce for the 60-year-olds is sauce for the 70-year-olds.
What’re 10 Years Among Friends?
Just the other day, I was with three other 50-plussers (How’s that for a term?), driving around running errands and chatting. I mentioned a time right after college and said it was “Thirty years ago”. One of my friends shared her story on the topic, saying that for her, it had been more than 30 years. Like EW, I paused. I thought. I grimaced.
“Um.. it was actually 40 years ago. Almost exactly.” Age delusions.
Back when I was a kid, my great aunts and uncles seemed ancient, yet most of them agreed with Uncle Gerald, “I’m not done, yet.”
I’m not nearly done yet, either. But I may admit to being just a bit older, wiser, and—shall we say “well-seasoned”?
I don’t know WHAT the hell Barb is talking about…
Ok. I paused. I grimaced. Truth be told… yes, I do know what she’s talking about.
When I was a teenager I remember my Mom telling me that, in her head, she didn’t feel any older than when she met my Dad – some 20 years before. My 13 year-old self looked at my 40 year-old mother and thought “Oh, yeah – I don’t believe that for one second.” Mom was old. No way did she think or feel like a cool 20 year old nor have any memory (nor experience) of being a cool teenager. THAT I was sure of.
Well, here we are. Way past 40 and yes, now I get it. Mom was right. Again.
And, like Barb, you won’t find a big “A” on my chest, yet either. NDY – #NotDoneYet