Something that someone said to me recently got me thinking lately about what the expectations are in our society when individuals get older. I’m turning 40 this year, and other than my renewed enthusiasm for getting into better shape for this milestone occasion, I don’t really feel too much that I’m changing in a way that will result in me “acting my age” in any sort of way that world around me seems to be saying that I should.
There are so many jokes and stereotypes around about being “over the hill” that involve people stagnating in their fussy little conservative lives. I’ve found it funny that every year since I turned 30, there’s been at least one person who made the joke about how I must be 29 again this year.
Why in the world would I ever want to be 29 again? Not that 29 was a bad year by any stretch of the imagination; my husband and I were a pretty brand new item back then and life was very good. But I love the *me* that I’ve evolved into since then too.
I learned a very important lesson from my Nana that I think helps to temper my views on aging. When she retired from her career as a nurse, she returned to University and got another degree and set out on another career path. She’s 91 now and still pursuing a related career in dispensing advice to seniors in her monthly column of Senior Living magazine called Ask Goldie. When I am an old lady (which she swears that she ISN’T yet) I want to be just like her.
In the meantime, I’m just going to keep learning all the new things that I want to know how to do and doing all the neat things that I enjoy doing for hopefully the next 50 years or so.
I refuse to take up lawn bowling, listening to Kenny G, or Sunday mornings at church; my plan is to continue enjoying the things that I love now, however much of an odd mishmash of activities that they are. Besides, I love the funny looks I get when I’m in the staff room reading my firearms manual or a weight training guide and listening to Viking metal on my iPod... there’s nothing like being yourself.
"How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?" ~ Satchel Paige