Does Hollywood Ageism Have Anything To Do with You and Me?
Happy Holiday Weekend – Independence Day 2015

60 is Not the New 40

Nor 70 the new 50 but people are still trying to sell that to us.

If you pay too much attention to media chatter, you can easily be convinced that old age is a nice, smooth continuation of midlife. If you do it right – that is.

Drink gallons of protein liquid, spend three hours a day at the gym, drop hundreds of dollars on brain games, stand on one leg while washing dishes and you too can climb Mt. Everest.

More: if that 91-year-old can finish a marathon, so can you. Or start a business; everyone's an entrepreneur these days even if they don't know what Six Sigma is. Oh, and if you pump yourself full of enough Botox, no one will know you're a day over 40.

Of course, all this is twaddle, hogwash and most of all, wishful thinking. Old age has been stigmatized for so long that the young people who write all that advice for old people refuse to believe there isn't something they can do to prevent it and they want us to be their guinea pigs.

Perhaps, they must think, if they goad us hard enough and long enough into continuing to live – or try to - as we did 20 or 30 years ago, they will learn how they can live forever.

When my professional life came to an end 11 years ago, nothing changed. I had already begun this blog so I just segued from 15-hour days (including the four-hour commute) to – oh, 10- to 12-hour days doing all that was needed to churn out these pages.

That sentence makes it sound like this is chore. It is not. I enjoy this as much as most of the paying jobs I had over more than four decades and because none of them were nine-to-five jobs, for these past 11 years, long hours have been nothing different from what I had always done.

Until recently.

As healthy as I am (and I do not take that lightly), I'm slowing down. These days I notice the hiccups in my brain, the nanoseconds it takes sometimes to get to the next thought when I'm writing. That's new.

Nor is my focus as pointed as it once was. My fingers can be flying across the keyboard as they always have translating thoughts and ideas in my head onto the page, when I suddenly “come to” realizing I've spent three or four minutes wondering if there might be a better synonym for one of the words I just typed.

By then I've lost my train of thought and I have finally learned that I might as well go do something else for awhile before I can get back to it.

I am more easily distracted these days and distraction is, of course, the enemy of focus and concentration. All of this is due to age – I'm 74 now, compared to 63 when I started Time Goes By.

It takes longer for me to clean the house nowadays and it also takes longer to think. For quite awhile, I had been spending more hours to get the same amount of work done on the blog, always scrambling for time, always behind, always dropping something I wanted to do which is why, a few weeks ago, I cut back publishing days to four instead of six.

After about two months on this new schedule, I almost feel reborn. The biggest difference is time, time to read at my leisure, time to write without rushing, time to choose topics more carefully.

Most of all, there is time to sit quietly with myself; time to let thoughts drift by while I watch them come and go; time to think about if and how all this information about ageing I've been collecting for 20 years applies to me; time to reflect on some of the big life questions.

While I wasn't looking, my life has become simpler. I take care of my daily needs – food, exercise, sleep, laundry, etc. I pursue my curiosity about how we age, enjoy writing something about that in these pages and I have returned to some other intellectual interests I had let slide for too long.

Although I miss living in a big city, New York specifically, I have arranged the details of my home so that it pleases my sensibilities to be here. Aside from New York, I've lost interest in travel but for a drive to the Oregon coast now and then.

Small as it sounds, a big pleasure during the season is shopping the weekly farmers' market and how agreeable it is each week having a short visit with some of the vendors who have become a certain kind of friend over our mutual enjoyment of good food.

Compared to the hustle and bustle of my 40 mid-years, it is a quiet life and from the outside it undoubtedly looks boring. But it is far from that on the inside and I like my life – particularly now that I have created this new breathing space.

I don't see how old age could possibly be intended as an extension of midlife. Even though, as I described above, my thoughts are a little slower, my mind is exploding with them.

I am gaining insights into myself, my life, relationships, beliefs and more, with a depth and detail I never had when I was younger – nourishing my soul you might say. I'm peeling away layers that for a long time kept me from even trying to understand some of the events and people in my life.

Except that I arranged for the time, I don't know why all this activity is happening right now but surely it is more important than skydiving at my age or trying to prove how young I can appear to be so that others might be more comfortable with the idea of ageing.

Old age is an excellent time to make sense of ourselves and the world around us. Don't let anyone pressure you out of it.


Thank you! You have said what I've been thinking these past few years and wondering why all of a sudden we older folks are being so pressured to "DO" and "BE" so much younger. I think you hit it on the nail when you said:
"Perhaps, they must think, if they goad us hard enough and long enough into continue living – or try to - as we did 20 or 30 years ago, they will learn how they can live forever."
Great insight--thanks again!

Good morning Ronni,
Great post as always. Wanted to share something with you.

I shared the link to today's post on my Facebook timeline, had meant to share it with group. One of my younger friends.. she just turned 60 "liked" it and commented how much she appreciated reading the post.

She especially liked one paragraph and quoted it.

To use one of my favorite sayings.. "you did good!"

Thanks for this post. So many older folks I meet have to "keep busy" and I am just the opposite. I love this time for me after years of raising 2 generations of children and working full time. Now I do what I want when I want answering to no one. It's a good time of life for me at 71.

I think we are less accommodating and more aggressive in our working life. We appear far less intimidating as elderly folk and therefore walls come down and casual friendship become more rewarding.

Diane: I too so appreciate being able to do as I please.

On a personal note: I find myself getting angry when people tell me to "keep busy" I guess it's kinda like when I ask people if they are on social media and they reply "NO Way!" To each their own.

I have no interest in looking or acting younger. I have the money and time to go anywhere and do anything, but I stay home, because I'm already doing exactly what I want to be doing.

I was recently involved with a business which doesn't have any "on-line" presence. They aren't doing that well, as they cater to a tourist trade that is also not doing that well in their location. As an elder who is all over the internet, within my own limited interests, I just felt that time was passing them by. It doesn't show as much as the empty storefronts next to them, but to me it was obvious. I truly felt bad about it, but who knows if lots of use of web pages and face book posts might have made a difference.

Geez, the new 60 is definitely not the new 40!Our only is nearly 38 and she is afraid of aging, yes she is, but knows it is inevitable and that to be happy one must do what one pleases, she is single and does what the you know what she likes, we are 67 and my hubs 68 soon, we do what we want! My hubs wants to travel so we do what we can on a limited budget the house takes time and money and efforts, but we cannot find decent housing for our limited budget..My hubs Mom died at 86 1/2 and lived miserably waiting on her man husband who never was with her really and had 9 kids with her, really? His dad a wanderer and quite the lothario just not with his wife! My mom died young, my dad went to pieced and was never the same big family never raised with our biological family at all. I say seize the day and enjoy yourself now what withever you enjoy..My health is okay and my hubs too, we are not young anymore and there are no family members to tell us anyone, however my hubs had aunts and uncles who lived to nearly 100 and I am praying he got the genes to live a long life and me too..It is all a matter of perspective!

I meant to say we have only one relative who is quite elderly and she is a pistol my Mom's only sister nearing 100, she married only not well, they just used her..She never had children and never regretted that, she outlived her sister my Mother and her Mother by many years..She is wise and loving and kind to me..I say enjoy what you have, be grateful and nice and peaceful..ciao!

Excellent! Thanks for exactly capturing my thoughts as I go thru the day. Sometimes the inability to grasp what I want to say & write really gets to me, but those around me understand so it is less aggravation........slightly! LOL
I do miss some stimulating conversations that occur when you're out in the "work place", but I try to compensate by often seeimg several younger cousins (I'm the oldest), & we get into "it" enough to stimulate my sluggish mind. Good writing as usual Ronni. YOu may be slowing up, but you still have the best blog! Dee

Time to reflect. That's something I never had when I was working. I was always too busy doing something -- ten somethings -- that absolutely positively had to be done. I cherish my leisure time and the time it gives me to examine my life.

Wonderfully and honestly said Ronni - there are very few out there who approach these topics or write about them honestly!

I try to have conversations about aging with longtime friends and they all say "I'm not old!" Until we can speak of it honestly we'll never redefine it as the good, rich, and yes, challenging time of life it is... Thank you again...

I think aiming to 'stay young' is a con and waste of time - not usually born from a desire for personal growth, but from a position of self-loathing which, I believe, encourages self-obsession.

I don't believe there's anything morally superior about being young (or thin, or white or born rich or well connected).

As we age our agendas (wants/needs/interests) often change - mine has: I'm more interested in spiritual (not religous) matters and developing my creativity, reflecting, enjoying the birds in the garden On the other hand I've not changed: I'm still politically/socially active, take regular exercise, cook and enjoy good food (mostly veggie from the farmer's market or what I grow) and I drink over the recommended quota of wine.

Apart from a knee replacement, I'm in good health. I'm not as energetic as I used to be but, then, I'm not interested in running marathons; I can still take part in a demonstration against fracking, an anti-austerity march or write to The Guardian or to my Prime Minister to tell where he is going wrong (unfortunately he goes wrong more often than I have the time and energy to tell him). I'm glad I have enough energy for these things as they matter a lot to me: they are an intrinsic part of my identity and I'm determined to keep to my own agenda as long as I am able.

I'm not the same person I was at 60, let alone being the 'new 50 or 40'. I don't identify as 'old' but as 'older'. This is not to deny my age or to delude myself - but when people are living into their nineties, it feels more accurate for me.

Thanks so much for this post! I am in excellent health (knock wood) but I find myself berating myself when I don't "accomplish" much. Cultural tapes running, but fading. I love days when I don't have to go anywhere--e.g. grocery store, pet store, even evenings out for something fun. "Fun" even seems an outdated word. Also, after traveling a lot in the last 20 years, I find that I am less and less drawn to it. Thanks again--actually for your whole blog!

This column really captures the essence of what is joyful about being old. There is so much pleasure to be had in the quiet, intense, reflection. It is different than younger thinking. It does seem to occur slower, but in a quieter, bigger, richer theater. And there is so much vibrant pleasure in small acts, like a visit to the farmer's market, or small things, like a good cup of coffee.

Impossible to explain to younger people.

I am one of those, who in retirement asks herself every day, what have you accomplished? Actually, my standards are pretty low. A couple loads of laundry counts as an accomplishment for me.

But I have taken this gift of time in retirement to get fitter and healthier. And I feel getter today than I have in years. But, the memory for everyday things is slipping. Where I have always had a faulty sense of time, I now have an even worse sense of it. I used to be able to rattle off book authors and titles, but often now can't remember either accurately. I forget something every time I travel.

So, yes, I have to admit that I am aging, and that I am old. I don't like it much, but the alternative is not appealing. So I learn to deal with it,

I like the message of this blog. Acceptance and living fully in this time and place in our lives is the best strategy for our older lives.

We love this time of our lives, the balance, the realization that we are done with a boss, a timetable, or a bigger footprint.

We look at the forty something's, zooming around with their jobs, obligations, families, hardly any time to sit back and reflect.

The wheel of life goes faster and faster. Once we are free from our careers, we can pause any old time we choose, to examine life from the inside.

We gave away what we no longer need or use, like inline skates and then segue into new activities, such as cycling, dancing, art, walking.

We sold our kayaks, And still go kayaking, only now we rent the kayaks, so no more lifting two kayaks onto our car.

It's fun to discover different activities, and to try them out with no obligation.

We are all in charge of our bodies, no matter what those "senior magazines" tout.

Thanks for another timely post, Ronni.

Especially loved the last section about the value of slowing down, spending town reflecting and accepting the way life unfolds for us as we age. I find if I allow myself to get upset about issues relating to aging, my life turn sour. I try so very much to keep those thoughts at bay...too much to relish about enjoying life on my terms to get upset. Thanks for sharing the effects of your adjustments. Pleased they are working well for you.

A few days ago, I went to a presentation on "fall prevention" at an assistive living center.

The presenter, a physical therapist, was in his early 40s and raced through a PowerPoint slide show with the most obvious "tips"--ie, watch those throw rugs, etc. The "seniors" depicted in the slides were ALL screaming--with glee--as they jumped out of airplanes, skied down mountains, and leapt around the tennis courts.

Most of the audience was in wheelchairs. It was hard to miss the condescension and hostility in the contrast.

If you must get old, apparently you're only OK if you seem like you're having active, hysterical fun every minute of every day. That did not describe my best day at 19, much less any day since!

Finally, the presenter asked if anyone had questions. They did, and one person asked a great one. "If we DO fall, what's the safest way to get back on our feet?"

The "best way," it turns out, is to wait for the all-knowing youthful staff members to come and "help" you. Most people do not live to be 80 in independence-obsessed American culture without attempting things first on their own, and I'm dead certain that is true of the audience that day. So he missed his one opportunity that day to say something useful and real, something like, "check for any new, acute pain, and then look in your immediate area for something sturdy to hold onto to pull yourself up--no spindly end tables." Because that's exactly what I would do, and what I suspect most of the audience would do.

Anyway, after the talk, several audience members and I shared some of our favorite "exercise"--eyerolls of cynicism, without the slightest desire to go skydiving.

It takes someone actually living the age to describe what is going on as you age. I love whimsical retirement blogs written by people who are under 60. And I also wonder about the media stories of people in their 90's doing extraordinary activities. I have started reducing the number of activities I am involved in as a get closer to 70. From your description it seems that this is an accurate progression. It helps so much to read your blog. Thank you

As always, your words resonate with so many. I am among your readers who relish keeping to my own schedule---knowing if my "to do" list doesn't get checked off today---it's okay.

I recently had surgery which required my two daughters to be with me while I recovered at home. One daughter, especially, had a very hard time adjusting to a slower pace. She was obviously bored and restless and wondered why I wasn't . She would stay until she wanted to put a pillow over my head, then her sister would come until she wanted to poke my eyes out with a sharp stick---KIDDING! But you get the drift. It was hard for them to adjust to an old lady time table.

As for me, I am grateful to be alone again and enjoy my quiet house and my quiet days. Time to do EXACTLY what I want.

Great post, Ronni!

Ronni..your post is the thing I most look forward to of the many emails and newsletters I get everyday. I'm 68 and can relate to the many things you post about. Other than becoming a widow two years ago, I think this is the best time of life..calmer, peaceful and more serene and a sense for some of us, we can finally be who we are and do or not do exactly what we want. I for one would never return to being 20 or 30. Maybe 50, but only because I had more energy then. I love your posts..thanks

I've never feared ageing, but I surely am willing to acknowledge that I don't want any part of the extreme physical disabilities I witness in other older people, on a typical day at the grocery store.

I also acknowledge that I can only partially control that possibility, so I'll do what I can to stay healthy, and continue to savor the lovely surprises of this time of life mentioned in these comments.

We are very fortunate to live in one of the countries of the world where, with basic common sense planning, we don't need to fear starvation or slaughter.

The amount of gratitude we feel is probably the key element in our contentment as we age.

During my younger years I spent 10 years, mostly in Europe, doing what I wanted, when I wanted, with whomever I wanted. I was a very happy hippie. When I came back to the U.S., I worked at many different jobs, and when I finally settled at the job from which I retired, I would still take all my vacations and every other year an unpaid leave of several months. Yes, I was lucky that my employer allowed that.

For those reasons, retirement was made for me. I travel a few months every years, usually by car, by myself, have great friends, am still healthy, and for me this is a great time of life.

I never wanted children, lost my husband of 15 years several years ago, but am going to continue this way, at my speed, until I no longer can. I'm 70, but to me that's just the number for the age I am today.

Great post and comments. I envy those who have embraced ageing. At 78 I know I "should" be in that space as well but--keeping it real--I'm less than thrilled about being old. I'm accepting it since I'm not yet at the point where the alternative holds more appeal.

I thoroughly enjoyed my 60s and even early 70s, although I never got around to climbing Mt. Everest, jumping out of an airplane or doing a marathon. I became "involuntarily" retired six months ago, and adjusting to not working after almost 60 years in the work force and the instant reduction in income, have been, shall we say, challenging. (I'd planned to retire at the end of 2016.)

I've been pretty much an action-oriented person (not the "extreme sports" type but active and involved). I'm not spiritual and have never been the contemplative type. Guess that needs to be added to my list of liabilities now. I may sound like I'm totally ungrateful, which I'm NOT. I'm very grateful that I'm still relatively healthy. I still have my wonderful spouse, a home, sufficient resources to cover the essentials, two beautiful cats and a volunteer gig caring for cats that I enjoy.

Your column reminds me of the opening lines of a Robert Browning poem:

"Grow old along with me!
The best of life to be,
The last, for which the first was made."

Spot on, Ronni.

If I could give advice to the young writers I would say: Sometimes we can't plan what we will do in the future. Life has a way of planning for us. What we can do is accept the limitations that come with age (and they do come, whether we want them or not.).

The old adage of "the best laid plans of mice and men so often go astray" applies to aging. That said, there are still things you can do something about. You can face the fact that it is not going to get better and realistically prepare for that.

So all of you under the age of 80 who are experiencing slowing down should know that "you ain't seen 'nuttn' yet". I couldn't move fast if the room was on fire. I couldn't think fast if I were to be paid a million dollars for the right answer if given in 60 seconds.

There are times when I feel like an old clock that is losing more time every hour. Or maybe an old car whose parts are falling off one by one.

And yet I am still enjoying these waning years. I can still indulge myself in the activities I am able to enjoy and I have the freedom to set my own time table, slow though it may be.

So don't fight the aging process and make adjustments in your lifestyle and activities as necessary.

You may not be able to run a marathon, but there are always activities that you can enjoy; so don't fret the things you can't do or try to accomplish unrealistic activities. Instead, seek out pleasures that are available to you and don't worry about getting older. It's going to happen whether you like it or not. You may as well like it and be grateful for these bonus years.

Darlene: thank you for this. I've been wanting to ask you this very question, ever since I learned that you had just turned 90 (and thought to myself "I bet she knows a lot of things that I don't yet know"). I was too reticent to ask, so thanks for just telling it like it is. I'm going to print this out and post it on my fridge, for the benefit of everyone who passes by. Especially me.

I'll tell you what, I get pretty annoyed when people think I'm 22(I look really young). No sir, no ma'am, I am NOT 22. I've lived that age and it was fine but I don't care to go back. I'm wiser, I'm seasoned, I'm more me now.

I don't think aging is the demon of humanity. I think pretending to be what we're not is.

Thanks Ronni :)

I am very much enjoying my 88th year. so far my health is holding up and I just started water color painting again. I am taking an on line class. Plus the political stage is getting interesting. Yipee!

I so enjoy reading this blog and especially the comments. Reading what others are experiencing has been very beneficial in helping me to adjust to my new life. I just turned 73 and have been retired for a year. I was very depressed at first. A bad knee has prevented me from doing anything too physically demanding and I was feeling guilty about that. Many days I didn't even bother to dress. Reading your blog and the comments has convinced me that that is OK. That It is ok to take things a little slower and do what I feel like doing each day even if it is absolutely nothing. My life is now the way I like it and I am enjoying myself. I volunteer at a cat shelter and I swim at the YMCA a couple of times a week but most importantly, I no longer feel guilty about anything. Aging has allowed me to relax and become my best friend.

Darlene said it all! "You ain't seen' nuttn' yet."

Pay attention to everything she said. Words of wisdom -

What a lady!

At 72 people frequently think I'm in my 50s or 60s..I have good genes, I guess.

One of these new younger acquaintances quoted that trite "Well, 72 is the new 52" at me To which I, not 52 I was still climbing telephone poles and hadn't broken any bones..this is much different. For me, 72 is 72 and this is what it looks like and is.

I accept my age-I really relish my age-I can be bitchy and get away with it. My daughter had been complaining about the volume of my TV and Audio books for the past 6 months. I suggested they either put that door in between my apartment and the rest of the house OR help me buy hearing aids..I sure can't afford them myself.

She finally decided hearing aids were a good idea. So I am now the proud owner of a pair of cute little hearing aids that make a huge difference. At $4000, I sure couldn't afford them myself, though and turning up the volume was fine with me. So daughter put them on her AmEx card and I'll pay her back over the next 4 years, $100 bucks a month.

I happily accept my age and deal well with my problems and issues. There really isn't any alternative, is there?

Elle, in Beaverton Oregon

I feel like I've won the lottery. Still mobile, no one to boss me and loads and loads of time to spend however I want.

Past 90 now...I'm going for 100. Wish me luck.

This was such a timely post for me; thank you.

I retired from teaching about a month ago at 62 and have been going through a strange mental adjustment; somehow life (and death) has become much too "real" for me.

All the home and yard improvement projects that I wanted to do once I retired, I've had to admit to myself I no longer have the physical wherewithal, and need to consider selling this small 2-story ancient house within the next few years.

I realize that I can't put off that hip replacement forever after all, and a knee replacement may be in the
works as well.

My "long-term relationship" friend since we were kids ended up in the the VA hospital last week after having emergency surgery & he darn near didn't make it.

Another friend who finally retired this spring lost her 42-year old son to suicide last week. It's all just been too weird.

As mentioned earlier, "the best laid plans of mice and men" . . .

Ronni, thanks for this refreshing view about aging and the nonsense perpetrated by those who insist that we all "stay young." Older is fine, especially if we accept the changes that slow us down a bit. But, like so many comments, much of the slowing down is voluntary - and welcomed! We adjust accordingly.

I'm 71 and I've reduced my work week to 4 days - love the 3-day weekends. Relaxing with a cup of coffee and doing the morning crossword beats the hell out of a 40-minute commute to work. I'll cut back another work day soon!

Yes, my back is acting up again, so another surgery to clean out the herniated disk is needed. No big deal. I'll still be out working in the yard, doing carpentry around the house, going online, reading, enjoying concerts, traveling, etc. Like many others, my favorite description of retirement and being older is "I do what I want when I want."

As you noted, life is simpler and better, because we have more flexibility and choice. Fortunately, I've loved my work career, as did you. A favorite quote is from Dr. Laila Denmark in 2014 (at age 114!): "Whatever you love to do is play; doing what you don't like to do is work. I have never worked a day in my life!" Feeling that way in old age is ideal, especially because it's not defined or determined by someone else's idea of how we "should be."

Way to go, Charlotte Dahl! I'm rooting for you to meet your goal :) And you can tell us how the view looks from up there...

Finally! Someone willing to tell the truth. I've been saying for years that the "age is just a number" folks must all be around 35. At 76 there are so many things I can no longer do, or do as well as I once did. No more renovating kitchens, knocking down walls, etc., etc. Today it's even a chore opening jars -- ME, the "give the damn thing to me" person, the one with strong hands, who sneered at those "weak sisters", now says, "could you please help me".

Age is NOT, "just a number". 70 is not the new 50.

From 60 on, if you have one serious new "condition" or illness, recovery is far more difficult. Strength wanes, and memory becomes questionable.

Those young kids of 49 WANT it to be "just a number". They've been so brainwashed by our "cult of youth", they fear old age and feeling irrelevant. After all, they've been treating old folks like useless flesh bags for too many years.

Thank you Ronni and Darlene and everyone else. I learn so much from reading this blog and the comments. You are really helping me with the aging process!

Great and interesting post and wonderful comments. Just to add my 2-cents worth (these days it may be more of a dimes worth). I am in my late 60's... and have found, as many commenters have mentioned, that I simply can not do many of the things I once did--i.e. climbing a step ladder to paint my room, etc. But although the 60's really are not, in any shape or form, the "new 40's", I have found benefits to it...I no longer stifle my personal thoughts on things such as politics, and social issues, and injustices. I am not shy about talking to strangers, even though many of the young people tend not to talk to me, but just to nod and mumble politely to the "strange old lady". If I have a view or opinion I express it. Have developed a much more "zen" attitude to many things that once would have stressed and upset me. But, also have realized that I had been somewhat brainwashed..
for example assuming that I am in the beginning stages of Alzheimers just because I can not remember the name of that actor in that old movie...or accidently using the wrong word, and instantly realizing that was not correct. (probably a problem of thinking many thoughts and that "lazy imaginary secretary" in my brain bringing forth the wrong word file :-)). I have slowly come to realize that I did exactly the same things in my twenties and at that age never thought twice about it because it was just one of those funny things that happened to everyone from time to time. Every ache and pain we feel as we get older (although they should be checked out) may not be "the beginning of the end" for us, and we would not have thought twice about them in our twenties. I take time to enjoy my life as it is now...and do not miss the frenetic days of my youth. If I don't want to get up on a weekend until late, I don't. If I want to stay up till the wee hours of the morning (provided I don't doze off anyway) and read...I do. If my clothes don't match...oh, well! This stage of our lives is one of remembering, thinking, trying new things, listening to new music, enjoying, and just plain "living" as our true selves.

Ah, I am so glad you have joined the bloggers who blog less. Unlike Kay in HI, I still blog often, but I blog shorter. I still post original photos, but sometimes I reuse one or two. I'm still writing essays, but I make the time to write them not force the them into existence. The only two things I make myself do is get in the pool and do my volunteer job.

Again, kudos to those who have embraced ageing. I guess I'm just "stuck" at this point. I can't help but ponder what's to like about being old and irrelevant? What's to like about not always being able to do what needs to be done around the house and yard (especially since we don't have a lot of money to pay someone else to do it). Accept? Yes, because I must. Happily? Nope, not really.

After reading your excellent post, my husband periodically sings the line, "Time on my hands..." And then I laugh merrily. Get things done! Ha!
I used to ask my mom what she was doing (and she was merely in her 50's!)and she'd say that she's running around in circles and getting nowhere fast." Huh? Now I know, but without the "fast."

Elizabeth, I'm with you on this. Old age sucks! I don't really get how so many comments are about doing less and loving it or basking in the beauty of old age. I desperately miss being young. Not looking young---who cares about that? But being physically capable. I feel like a bug on its back, unable to turn myself over and get to where I was going.

The only advantage I can see to old age is being able to be as cranky as I want to be since I don't really give a flying eff what people think. Like today, at the grocery store, I told the "young man" who checked me out not to call me "hon." I also told him that, even if other older people didn't say so, most of them didn't like it either. I decided that I have endured this patronizing insult long enough and that from now on whenever someone calls me "hon" or "sweetie" I'm going to tell them to cease and desist. Men might need to alter their response to "don't call me pop." Maybe if all old people did that and stopped being nice about it, this offensive practice would stop.

Hey, Emmajay, sounds like we're on the same page! I've called out more than one person who insisted on addressing me as "hon", "sweetie" or "young lady" lately. I do it lightly and courteously, but I do it! I've probably totally blitzed any preconceived images of a sweet old lady. Too bad.

I'm also with you in that I don't miss not looking young (at least not much). I've never had cosmetic surgery and laugh at the ads for pricey "look 20 years younger" potions, but I definitely miss my competent, can-do, involved-in-the-world self. She took a significant hit 6 months ago with involuntary retirement. I'm lucky in that I can still do most of what needs to be done and I'm grateful for that, but as far as "reveling" in old age, I think I'm suspended somewhere between age as a number and "OLD age".

Can I make the successful transition that so many TGB followers seem to have made? Hmmm--good question. I know that 78 isn't 58 or even 68. But I must admit that I'm not anticipating with great glee being 88 (if I get that far). Although I wouldn't choose to be "young" again, I cannot rejoice in the incremental loss of the will to accomplish, capacity and high energy I had even 10 years ago.

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