We can hardly expect the generation that brought us Woodstock and The Beetles to go quietly into the night. The Baby Boomers broke all the rules in our youth so dare we expect less as we age?
I have decided to change my approach to this aging thing. After all, we’re all doing it from the day we’re born to the day we decide to jump out of a plane on our 80th birthday – hopefully wearing a parachute!
It’s high time we reframe the whole idea of aging. Rather than associating it with deterioration and shutting down, I propose we turn it on It’s head and forget that tired old axim about aging gracefully. I’m sick of the term “age-appropriate” dressing and joking about “senior moments”. Call me then Queenof Denial if you wish, but my new ambition is to die wearing stilettos…while pole dancing…at age 104! (Well, not really, but I overheard a frisky eighty-something say that and decided to revise everything I believed about aging.)
No one grows old by merely living a number of years. We grow old by giving up our dreams, sitting down and waiting on the grim reaper. Aging with attitude means you don’t let age keep you from going after your dreams regardless of your age. (Ok, so your dream might be to walk to the end of the driveway and back. That’s okay.)
Whatever your dream is, you can always reach some level of achievement. You can do something every day to be a little bit better. This month my dream is to kneel and get back up without bringing down whatever I happen to be holding onto. The reason for this is simple. I embarrassed myself last Easter during a Holy Week ceremony when I knelt down before the cross and could get back up without the help of three nice young men. I’ve been practicing squats for months and this year I’ll kneel and pop right back up. You wait and see – and that popping sound is my knee rebelling.
Our culture is so afraid of growing older that some people undergo painful surgery to undo the wrinkles caused by laughing, crying and living or buy expensive “hope in a bottle” creams which never work. It’s time we change our cultural programming regarding age. Let’s all get together and refuse the dreaded senior discount and never joke about “senior moments” again, And never ever send black balloons on someone”s 40th birthday! That just perpetuates the myth that aging is a dark comedy.
After all we know people who are young at 90 and others who are old at 45. Age is irrelevant unless you are a cheese or a cheap bottle of wine.
This is a great time to be alive at any age and an occasional pain in the elbow or hip is a small price to pay. “Old” is not a four letter word and we must never think it’s too late to be what we could have been before we got the way we are. We’re here for such a short time, and I for one, do not intend to waste another day whining about my age or my infirmities. I may have a few dents and scratches from having lived through the loss of loved ones, professional and personal failures, ill health, at least 15 cat one tornadoes and 6,582 bad hair days, but it makes me appreciate each moment a little more.
My new mantra is “have more fun!!!” I refuse to sit around the house all day watching other people live exciting lives on a TV set. I think I’ll throw a party and invite people who have nothing in common. My role model – Elizabeth Gwin – did that all the time and she had some fabulous wing dings up into her 100 something’s.
I’m committed to doing something that scares me at least once a week. This week I’m attempting creme brûlée because I’ve always wanted to wear goggles and use a blow torch.
In fact I’m considering founding a new club called “Bodacious Boomers” and the only requirement is that you do one outrageous thing each week (anything “legal” that is) and report to the group. Before you know it we’ll be doing outrageous things together and put a whole new face on this thing called aging.
Ay, you gotta problem with that? (Just practicing my new attitude.)