Subtitle: Why I love getting older.
Yes – that’s us white water rafting in North Carolina. I was letting Marie and Jill do all the paddling. We were about sixty that year and who knew more good times were still ahead of us. The best, really.
Let’s face it. From the moment we’re born, we’re growing older. But don’t expect me to commiserate about the negatives of aging. I choose instead to dwell on the good side of the condition and I find more to appreciate with each passing year. Seriously!
Embarrassing moments – wig off center and bra straps showing. Marie, Heard and J. J. handled their wine like champs despite our advanced age.
Okay, so I’m the queen of denial but what’s wrong with that if it keeps us chugging along the road to happy destiny? We have chosen to focus on celebrating each passing year and I find that the benefits of aging far outweigh the pitfalls. Below Barton, Marie (right) and I celebrate Mardi Gras last year which was held on Norma’s (seated center) sixty something birthday. Wasn’t that nice of them?
Blogger Kimberly Inskeep has a great list of “the things I love about being over 50”. I’ve adapted them to an additional decade which I find is the best yet. To paraphrase her wisdom of the ages, “Regardless of our age, these things apply more broadly to the beauty of getting older in general, and when embraced can perhaps allow us to skip some stages” and find joy in whatever age we happen to be.
Here are twelve advantages my friends and I have perfected after almost seven decades of experimenting: (Note- it helps to have friends who have been with us since grade school proving that “old” friends truly are “gold.” Left Hence, Tinker, Norma, standing Olivia, Marie and Hazle, and Beth (seated right). We were lunching at our old favorite “The Ritz” where we spent every Saturday during the l950s and 1960s watching (sort of) a double feature, serial and “The Roadrunner” cartoons. Please note: Hazle and Tinker won “Best Hair Award – completely au naturelle which takes guts.
1. Life’s embarrassing moments no longer embarrass me so much and they shift automatically to my “hilarious memories” file.
2. My children don’t expect me to be the one who knows how to work anything remotely mechanical. In fact they don’t expect me to operate the remote on the satellite television which now requires two.
3. My relationships are deeper. Friends and family members who have endured my heartaches, triumphs, loss, conflict, or just a bunch of normal Tuesday’s have stuck with me for 68 years. (Bless their hearts.)
4. Glasses have become a fun fashion accessory (albeit a total necessity). They are also a handy prop for slipping into my philosophical alter-ego, should the need arise.
5. I’ve learned how to make really amazing chili because I no longer feel captive to a recipe. Charred turkey is a new specialty.
6. Now that my children are all grown up I get to spend my time in awe of the men they’ve become instead of worrying about what they might have become.
7. I’ve learned the art of speaking up or shutting up at the appropriate times although I need to work on the “shutting up” part.
8. I’ve found it liberating to go through drawers and closets letting go of “stuff.” Locks of my children’s hair are not “stuff” and are more valuable than precious jewels.
9. If I overreact or get all teary-eyed during poignant moments I can explain them away by muttering something about “hormones.”
10. I’ve let go of “balance.” It really doesn’t exist. Instead, there is a willingness to let go of what doesn’t matter for the sake of the things that do.
(to try to achieve more balance, we took art lessons during one of our weekend escapes to the cabin. That’s Ruthie perfecting her technique with a couple of pears we decided looked more like upside-down old lady boobs. Ruthie also wins “au naturelle” hair award, brave girl)
11. With time comes more great stories. I have a treasure trove of “true” stories of our many adventures, embellished freely. (I never ruin a perfectly good story with the truth.)
12. Research has shown that cognitively, we are at our highest point between the ages of 40 and whatever age we happen to be at the moment. We hide it well by pretending to have memory problems which we don’t really have. (I also have learned to lie without guilt especially if I’m trying to talk my way out of a speeding ticket.)
My friend Jack who left us in December lived by the principal that you will never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul and he was beyond generous so he “could live to enjoy seeing the difference it made.” I’ve decided to adopt his theory as my own. Anyone need a good used fifteen X make-up mirror. I don’t have the fortitude to peer into it any longer. And those are laugh lines, not wrinkles.
(Jones’ new book – “Aging Fearlessly” is expected out in September – assuming she can find the manuscript which has mysteriously disappeared into the black hole of her home)