[EDITOR'S NOTE: While I am away for a few days, five fantastic elders agreed to guest blog here at Time Goes By. Joycelyn Ward blogs at Maya’s Granny and is one of the best storytellers in blogdom. She titles this one, Waking Up Sixty and you’re going to love it. Please welcome Joycelyn with plenty of kudos and comments.]
Most of you have noticed that as we grow older we tend to become more comfortable in our own skin. When I was in my twenties, I worried about what strangers walking down the street thought of me. By the time I was in my mid-thirties, it didn’t worry me unless I was doing something I would rather not be seen doing: I worried about being seen carrying a Lane Bryant bag (someone might guess I was overweight if I were seen carrying a bag from a fat-girls shop, and of course if I weren’t seen doing that, no one would ever find out) or my skirt flying up when I fell down.
By the time I was into my fifties, my attitude had pretty much changed to, “if they don’t want to hear me sing, they can walk down some other block.”
I did fall one day when the sidewalks were so icy that I had to scoot on my butt to the curb and put my feet in the gutter to find a place where I could get the leverage to stand up. A young man carefully worked his way up the hill and asked me if I was alright. And I found myself answering, “Oh, yes. Nothing hurt but my dignity. Oh. Not even my dignity.”
That was me at 59 years, 364 days. Pretty comfortable with myself, unconcerned about my size or what other people thought - pretty certain that most people had enough things in their own lives to think about that they didn’t bother to think about me. Content with how I was living my life.
And then, on April 22nd I went to bed in that condition, woke up 60 and discovered a level of self-acceptance that somehow, in those few hours of sleep, had increased by a magnitude of hundreds. I went from accepting myself to celebrating myself. It was just the most amazing thing, to be me!
I found the level of increase astounding. There was a recognition of how important to my survival and sanity the most negative of my dark side attributes were. Of how natural were facets that had caused me embarrassment in earlier years.
And somehow, I wanted everyone to celebrate their natural selves. I began to praise my inner-bitch and invent new holidays. We could, for instance, have a day to commemorate the fact that your body can eliminate toxins - people would wear only brown and yellow. Or to honor our fertility by wearing faux maternity clothes with pristine tampon jewelry. Or folk skirts made with Georgia O’Keefe flower prints.