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Does Your Age Mean Something to You?

This week I did it! OMG. I finally made it to Medicare – in one piece – and I’m celebrating!

And even if a woman is not supposed to reveal her age (says who?), I think that’s a big hint.


Which I used to consider old. But it’s not.

Interesting trivia: remember that poem that goes, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/With a red hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me?”

That poem, called “Warning” by Jenny Joseph was the UK’s most popular post-war poem. It sparked a whole movement of purple-dressers wearing red hats – and became a battle cry for the liberation of older women.

Factoid: Jenny Joseph wrote “Warning”when she was 29. She hated the color purple. Listen to her read her poem, as an older woman herself now, in her delightfully articulate British accent.

Today, we each get to figure out what growing older means to us.

This week, I’ve been thinking about what 65 means, and doesn’t mean, to me, and I’m curious about what growing older means to you.

Regardless of your age.

What 65 doesn’t mean to me:

  • That I’ve become mature.
  • That my table manners have appreciably improved. (I’m not that bad in public… and I’ve discovered that eating with your fingers is good manners in Ethiopia!)
  • That my striving to learn and grow has slowed down.
  • That I like using words like “senior,” “elder,” “crone” or any of the vocabulary used to describe folks over 50 (or 60, 70 or ???)
  • That I would attend a class called “improv for seniors,” “yoga for seniors” or “anything for seniors” (although I would do gentle yoga).
  • That I can’t plant oak trees.
  • That I’ve got the answer.

What 65 does mean for me:

  • That my energy is lower than it was 15 years ago – and I’m a sucker for supplements that promise to help me get it back.
  • That I ache more easily — and wonder whether it’s time to give away the back pack.
  • That I love crossing generational divides, having millennial friends and horseback riding with girls a third my age.
  • That I can no longer dance until dawn — although my spirit would like to.
  • That the flesh of my upper cheeks is slowly descending to my jowls.
  • That I have more patience, more empathy and less endurance.
  • That I’m still curious about people.
  • That I spend time by myself asking, “What am I really meant to be doing?”
  • That I’ve had to grieve the loss of father and friends, and no longer pretend we go on forever.

What is changing:

  • I’m becoming less ambitious.
  • I no longer care to push or “transform” my clients – but choose to celebrate their quirky uniqueness and encourage a few, timely, baby steps.
  • I compare myself to others less.
  • I won’t pretend I don’t color my hair – and someday I will probably stop.
  • I say “no thank-you” and volunteer less – in order to serve in the way I think I do best.
  • I don’t think that I can change the world, although I hope that we can.

So now your turn, how would you answer – what does 65 mean to you and what do you like about aging, whatever age you are?




4 Responses

  1. If you can think, hear, see, move – aging is wonderful. If you have relationships with family and friends, aging is wonderful. If you can do things to help the world either big or small, that is wonderful. I have learned in my 79 years that I am stronger than I thought, the I am comfortable being responsible for my choices, that over the years I have had stretches of magic times that will last as long as I do. Life is love – of people, projects, things. It is magic….

  2. Congratulations, Sally! I recently turned 60 and must say it was something I had looked forward to for a long time. I have always had a sense that it was the beginning of a new and exciting chapter.

    I am passionate about learning, human potential, and seeing just how good I can become. It’s not about fixing things I’m not happy with, because all-in-all I’m doing great. In many ways my health is better than in younger years because of personal responsibility and a focused intent to love and deepen the relationship with my body.

    I certainly hope I have deepened spiritually also. What is different about my take on all of this at this age is that it is a quiet, personal celebration without chasing some mental concept or external marking of success.

    I really don’t have a concept about age, because I am so much the same me as I was in a younger body. What I can say is that it’s a good thing I love elephants so much because the skin on my limbs is looking more and more similar to these intelligent, compassionate beings. Ha!

    I really appreciate what you had to share and could say ditto to much of it.

    1. Love your phrase: “this age ….is a quiet, personal celebration without chasing some mental concept or external marking of success.” What a beautiful thing that is! And I used to tell my grandmother that she had elephant skin …while my parents would look on aghast! Take care, Sally

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