Last year around this time I celebrated my 60th birthday with lots of special activities including a pedicure, a makeup application, and tickets to a Broadway show. It was fun and exciting, and a little scary. It has taken me almost a whole year to adjust to the fact that the old woman looking back at me from the mirror is the same as the young, funny, happy girl looking into it.
Several events occurred over the last year which have affected me significantly, both highlights and lowlights:
1. Four wedding celebrations - leading me to the question, "Is it appropriate for the 60 something aunt to party like a rock star?" (but still fall asleep after 9 PM).
2. Having my job cut in half. A serious adjustment for the first couple of months. I realized that because it was not by choice, I didn't like it. I do like having more time to work on Tim's business and the household chores, which were never my favorite.
3. I read a quote that said, "Do what you love." I love to blog. I had let it go for several months during the hardest adjustment period, and it helped me begin again.
4. Visit from a dear friend, Kathy, a couple of years older than me who has survived the passage to "older" beautifully, both spiritually and physically. Her support and positivity was just what I needed at the time to face the changes. I realized I wanted things to change, as this age was a time to reevaluate and set new goals. (A Bucket List, maybe).
5. I spent a long weekend in Maine with family - most my contemporaries, some a bit older, enjoying the closeness and camaraderie of individuals important to me with a history that transcends age and gender.
I certainly like to joke about aging and all the surprises it brings with it - like the eyesight situation. Surely the worst part of the whole getting older thing. I have 17 pairs of glasses strategically placed around the house, most obtained from the Dollar Store. Is there a pair always at my fingertips? There certainly should be, but alas, I am frequently struggling to read the directions on a box, a recipe or the caller ID on my cell phone. Or packing for a trip and needing an extra bag for the prescription medications. I refuse to discuss my health issues in social situations, but invariably, the conversations turn that way with my contemporaries.
I've become a follower of sites like The Art of Aging and Daily Vitamins for the Soul. Inspirational sayings for working on the beauty inside because, let's face it, the outside isn't getting particularly better, no matter how many hours spent Zumba-ing and body sculpting and Pilate -ifying at the gym along with the high school girls who know a thing or two about shaking what their mommas gave them. So my mantra has become - "Smart is the new sexy."
And how smart are we aging beauties? Smarter than our smart phones? A fifth grader? We are smart enough to figure out the iPhone. Is technology dangerous in the hands of a senior?(Still hard to call myself that). These are my new ponderances for the upcoming years. Most of all I want to avoid the biases and assumptions about people of a certain age. I spent a lot of my life trying to "fit in" and now I most definitely do not want to fit in to someone else's age-related prejudgments.
My circles of friends, - Book Club friends - Birthday Dinner friends, work friends, Nags Head friends, high school friends, my college bestie, my artist friend, yoga friends, gym friends, and online game friends of all ages, as well as my divine family, enrich my life and help the transition into seniorhood bearable.