I am having a great deal of trouble embracing my chronological age.  Recently I started taking Chair Yoga – not because I’m old, of course, but because I have bad knees.  I looked around the class and thought, “Wow, I am the baby of this group.   These women are all elderly, with white hair.”  When I learned their actual ages, to my surprise I was NOT the baby of the group at all.   I was kind of in the middle.  So if THEY seemed elderly to me, then I must be elderly, too.  Mere hair coloring cannot mask that fact.

Then my denial gland went into overdrive.  I tried to convince myself that these very nice women never went to hear live rock and roll, and that was why they were elderly whereas I was not.  But then I remembered going to a live show where people in the audience came in wheeling oxygen tanks.  The performer, whose records I bought in 1972, walked out with a cane.  THIS IS MY DEMOGRAPHIC.  Get with the program, Randi.

My mother hated growing older.  I thought I would be different, but it’s hard to escape those lessons.  “The doctor couldn’t believe I was actually 68,” she would gloat.  She used to joke that I shouldn’t stand next to her because, as her eldest child, I would give away her age.  You can’t have a 30-year-old daughter and still pretend to be 40.  But she seemed old to me.  She went to the hair salon once a week and kept that hair-sprayed ‘do going without ever washing it.  I go once a month for coloring and I run out before the woman can style my hair.  She wore sparkly synthetic clothes like Beverly from The Goldbergs.  I wear cotton t-shirts, hoodies and jeans.  She wore high heels even in the snow.  I am the queen of comfort shoes.  So I didn’t think I was like her in any way, but I guess I am when it comes to refusing to embrace my age.

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Some nights, when I come home from the office at 8 or 9 pm, and I’m carrying two bags full of work, waddling like a penguin over a driveway covered in ice and hoping not to fall and break my hip, I definitely feel my age.  I am so freaking tired of going to work every day.  But ironically, I am still too young to retire, although I am counting the days (under 1,000!).

I have a very cranky left knee, and even though I can still stroll through New York City for the day, I pay for it for several days thereafter, as the cranky knee makes its feelings known.  And whose spotty, crepe-y hands are on my steering wheel?  What’s that hanging neck stuff all about?  What about all those pills?

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I guess the consolation prize for getting older is the wonderful world of grandmotherhood, of course, but also a real sense of understanding about life and its realities.  I have much more certainty about what I like and what I don’t like, as well as what people I like and don’t like.  I am not spending time with unlikeable people any more, if I can help it, and I really don’t care what anyone thinks about that.  In fact, I don’t care what anyone thinks about an increasing number of things.  I’m not all the way there yet, but definitely closer.  I listen to my inner voice much more than I ever did, which means I don’t MAKE myself do stuff just because I think I should.  I am at the stage of life where I rarely have regrets:  just make a decision and live with it, and stop pondering the “what if” nonsense.  That’s really liberating.

So in a begrudging, on the fence, mixed message kind of way, I guess I am starting to embrace being a Woman of a Certain Age.  I hope I have the opportunity to look back in 20 years and laugh at myself for thinking I was old at only 62!

 

 

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