#5 of 18
The hardest part about getting older is not becoming one of these.
It seems like turning 65 kicks off a huge transformation. People who were formerly cool become bingo fanatics. They learn to polka and sign up for educational tours of Chicago’s downtown. They wear sweatshirts appliqued with their grandchildren’s names and start collections of ceramic owls. I worry about this since I have been only marginally cool my entire life so the hop from hip to has-been is shorter than it might be for some people.
I also worry about being stuck with the look or the clothes or the music that made me happy when I was younger like the women who stick with the hairstyle of their twenties, the Farrah Fawcett head-tossing do to the Joan Baez early years long hair/part in the middle to the wiry perm. Does that still work for you? Are you still that person? When I drive down the street and see a woman with a big head of hair, I think, hey, I could grow my hair out again, perm it, have it be wild like it was twenty years ago. And then I remember – I would look scary.
The wrestling match that goes on in one’s head is that between graceful acceptance of aging and frantic resistance. In any given moment, it’s a beautiful thing to be older. Those are the times I go Judi Dench all over and feel covered with the stateliness and privilege of age. After 30 seconds, I revert back to disbelief and terror like I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal illness and only have 20 years tops to live.
Aging is a little like pregnancy. Once you’re pregnant, your body is essentially taken over for a higher purpose for the next nine months. You can fight it or lean into it (to coin a phrase). Maybe that’s the lesson for me. I need to figure out how to lean into aging. Make it genuine and vital and interesting and maybe even enviable.
That could happen, right? Y’all could envy me.
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