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.

65.

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?