Reflections On Coming of Age …

I digress, briefly, from my usual fare of politics, social injustice, and troubles around the globe, in order to reflect for just a few moments about ‘coming of age’.  For today I reached a milestone, one which I have been dreading for a while, but also one I used to doubt I would ever reach, yet here I am.  No, I did not hit that magical 21, nor do I wish that were the case.  Instead, the milestone I reached is that of 65.  I tried rebelling.  In my best Eeyore voice, I said “No, I do not think I wish to be 65.”  But time just kept marching on, and now here we are.  My daughter asked, “What do you want for your birthday?”  To which I replied somewhat grumpily, “What I want is to not have a birthday this year, please, for I do not wish to be 65.”  But nonetheless, time just kept marching on.  And now here we are, with stars hanging from the ceiling, a birthday cake with candles blown out (took a few tries), and cards & presents, not to mention tons of Facebook wishes, all greatly appreciated, I might add.

Why is being 65 any different than being 64, or 40, or even 25, for that matter?  ‘Age is a state of mind’, they say.  ‘You are only as old as you feel’, they say.  I keep hearing ‘it’s just a number’. But all those lovely platitudes … they are muttered by people who are younger, people who are not limited by the harsh realities that come with having attained a certain age, people for whom 65 is still yet just an imaginary number.  With 65 comes the realization that one can no longer think of oneself as either ‘young’ or even ‘middle-aged’.  Daughter says to me, “but you are only one day older than you were yesterday.”  “No,” I say, somewhat brusquely, “that is a lie.”  For you see, every year since 40 has lain in wait for this very moment to come dashing in, crushing the spirit with their weight.  I was 40 until I was 65.

Never one to dwell in sadness or depression, I am working diligently on finding the humour of this situation in which I unwillingly find myself.  A few short months ago (when I was yet just 40), I made a vow to leave the world of “I can’t” and enter the realm of “I’ve got this”.  To that end I started walking, at first just over a mile, and now am up to 3+ miles daily.  But today, I must admit that the world of “I can’t” has briefly reclaimed my spirit and as I walked this morning, I wondered “why bother”?  If there is humour to be found here, I suppose it is in the knowledge that now I can officially act a bit strange (which I have always done anyway) and people will just say, “ahhhh … look at that old biddy … she’s a bit dotty, but it’s alright … she’s old, you know.”

And as a gift for attaining this ripe age, my dear Uncle Sam (what we refer to as the U.S. government, for my friends around the globe) decided I didn’t need so much money anymore, and cut my Social Security check by some $120 each month!  Gee … thanks, Uncle!  I love you too!

All-in-all, though, I am thankful for much in my life.  I have been many places, done many things, and met many people, mostly good people. I have many who love me, I have my daughter, granddaughter and 7 kitty-babes to wake up to each morning, a guy I care much about, a body that still mostly functions, and a mind that mostly does the same. Plus, there is something to be said for the wisdom and experience of so many years spent on this planet. So, I shall just give myself a smack on the head (not too hard, though, lest something else come loose) and get on with this business of living, for to sit around moping over ‘just a number’ would be such a waste, yes?

 

23 thoughts on “Reflections On Coming of Age …

  1. Here’s the latest: I have until July 16 to decide whether to turn my term insurance into whole life. SINCE I TURNED 75, my rates doubled, and will cease at age 80. Now it is not a letter from Uncle Sam, but from my insurance agent. See, Jill, It’s always somethin’!–no matter what your age. (I had a big party at 65; I thought I should have one at 75. The “kids” told me not until 80. I do have something to look forward to.) Well, it’s off to the gym….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always something, and nothing is ever easy, is it? Sigh. Well, perhaps I should have had a party after all … if I make it to 70, maybe I will have one then! Or hey … since I will hit 70 the same year you hit 80, maybe we can just throw one huge hullabaloo! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Happy, happy birthday (somewhat belated, sorry)!!! You are great, no matter what your birth certificate says! If you ask my mum (who is going to turn 85 this year), 65 rocks! 🙂 My mother-in-law is 73 and she does so many sporty things it makes my head dizzy! So….. throw the numbers out of the window (oh, no, this would be littering, wouldn’t it?), and keep on doing the great stuff! Three cheers for Jill!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I was just asking my mom yesterday how growing old feels like. She didn’t give me an answer. In a way, I think I reminded her that she was actually growing old. What I actually wanted her to tell me was how she’d dealt with growing old. I’m glad wrote this because I think I have my answer. 40 and 65 are still imaginary ages to me (sorry that I keep harping on about this but I can’t stop laughing about this) but I shall decide to be just one age until I get to another imaginary age far (I hope) in the future.

    On a more serious note though, do have a wonderful day Jill. It’s not everyday you turn 65.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Senam, my young friend, you still have a few important things to learn, the first of which is to not remind a lady of her age! This will win you no points! The second is that when you ask your mom a question like that, she will never give you a straight answer. This is because … you are her child, the cherished child who she has dedicated her life to protecting and shielding, and she will do no less now. I am not quite honest with my children on these issues, either, simply because I do not wish them to worry and I do not wish to remind them of the harsh reality that someday, perhaps soon, I shall no longer be with them. I will tell you, however, what your mom would say to you, and what I would say to my own, if it were possible:

      No, growing old is not easy. There comes a point, a certain age, or perhaps a new symptom of the undefined disease known only as ‘old age’, when one comes to understand one’s own mortality. And that is one looks back, enjoys the memories of what was, but also regrets the lost opportunities, the roads not taken. Physically, yes, there is a loss of energy, a loss of stamina, and some days a loss of desire to get out of bed, but that is the least of it. The knowledge that the clock is running out, that is the sad part. For me, it is seeing many books yet to be read, many Christmases yet to be spent with my family, many meals to be cooked, and wondering how many I will actually be able to do. So the advice I give to you, Senam, on behalf of me, a friend, but also of your mom, is live every day! Do not waste precious days wishing for some day in the future, whether it is tomorrow, next week or next month. That day will be here soon enough, but live today! Do one thing, just one thing, that you fully enjoy, and think about tomorrow when it arrives. Laugh often and freely, take good care of your body and spirit, and be good to everyone … people and animals! If you do that, you should have few regrets when you turn 65!

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