Is Age Just a Number?

“Who’s that old guy who keeps following me around?”

At first I didn’t know what my friend Gary was talking about.

Some friends and I were having lunch together last week. I looked around the table and the others also seemed confused. Gary smiled and explained, “Time is passing too fast. I look in the mirror and hardly recognize the man looking back at me. He’s too old.”

I’ve had similar moments. I’m 52, and notice more wrinkles and my muscles aren’t as tone as they used to be, no matter how much I exercise. How did this happen? Sometimes it feels like just yesterday I was in my early thirties.

I understand and have (almost) accepted that a changing physical appearance is part of aging. My body is different inside too. I don’t have as much energy as I used to. Injuries take longer to heal and new medical issues seem to pop up out of nowhere.

But the part I’m getting at here isn’t about looks or transformation of the body.

My friends and I talked about how we’re more aware of the crunch of time. Our life on earth is finite. How long will we be healthy? Do we have time to reach our goals and take pleasure in seeing our dreams come to fruition?

The conversation got a bit deep and depressing. I don’t want to be naive about aging. I know it’s going to happen, and I actually want it to, because what’s the alternative? Each stage of life is special, yet also bittersweet.

In my twenties, I wasn’t concerned about how many years I had ahead of me. Time was on my side. By my mid to late forties, I realized that time isn’t a luxury.

This reminds me of the song “100 Years” by Five for Fighting.

Fifteen there’s still time for you
Time to buy and time to lose
Fifteen, there’s never a wish better than this
When you only got hundred years to live

One of my friends lives by the adage that age is just a number. She feels great in her sixties, and doesn’t care what the numbers are. I like her way of thinking.

I choose to be positive about getting older. People are my inspiration. Look at Cher. She’s 70 and still performing. Christie Brinkley is still gorgeous and vibrant at 62. Tom Hanks is 60 and continues to make movies. Donald Trump, 70 and Hillary Clinton, 69, are living out their dreams of running for president of the United States. I’m not going to say how I feel about these candidates. But I admire their fierce determination, dedication, and energy to run their campaigns.

A happy and fulfilling life doesn’t stop at a magic number. It’s different for everyone.

My grandma lived to be 100 years old. Up until she was 97, she’d take the bus downtown, play the piano for senior dances, and go to the racetrack. When she was 99 and bedridden, she needed a refill of her favorite skin cream because “she didn’t want to get wrinkles.” Grandma never thought of herself as an old lady.

Maybe when my friend Gary gets older, he won’t wonder anymore who that man is looking back at him. It’s possible he’ll grow into that person and welcome him. He won’t merely be following him around, he will be him.

Gary may even stare at his reflection, and see the amazing young man he once was. And be proud of his life, his relationships, and his accomplishments.

But that realization needs more time.

"The idea for doing these images was a person looking in the mirror and seeing what they remember."

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

 

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49 thoughts on “Is Age Just a Number?

    • That’s so true! You’ll look back and think, remember when you turned 60? We were so young! 🙂 My husband used to say he’d feel old when our youngest daughter graduates college. Well, guess what? She’s a senior and will graduate in June! Time passes so quickly. Thanks for your nice comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh …I have a serious stalker 🙂 🙂 🙂
    Lovely post. I just keep reminding myself that I really am only as old as I feel. As we do get older, I think we do have to embrace it. Sure, it is not easy, but what other choice do we have? x

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful, balanced look at aging. I had a conversation today with a woman who is approaching 90. She recently moved into a senior living facility. Looking around, she was amazed to see many of the residents using wheelchairs and walkers. Her dilemma is that she feels like a young girl in an older body. She lives a full life and is a great role model for others. I admire her spirit.
    Thanks for a well-written, thoughtful post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lori, thank you for your nice comment. I love your story about the 90 year old woman. She is to be admired, and what a wonderful example, still living a full life. It reminds me of my mother-in-law, who refused to live in an independent senior living housing development. She didn’t want to be surrounded by, in her words, “old people.” She was always young at heart. I hope you have a wonderful weekend! xx

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my, I have an old woman looking back at me every morning….I am turning 60 in January and have decided not to dye my hair anymore, let it go gray naturally, accept the wrinkles, the twinkle in the eye that yet fades away a little each day….the smooth hands that I look down at as I reach out to hold my husbands hands are starting to look like my mothers, brown spots, knobby knuckles and sagging skin….I am aging….never thought I would, I remember looking at my elders thinking I will never be that old….hummmm surprise I am….my advice is enjoy every day to the moon and back….life really is short…days turn into years flying by….enjoy life, accept who you are….and be happy….love your post….obviously it touched me…..xxkat

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kat, I absolutely love your advice. It’s perfect. I’m going to remember that, “enjoy every day to the moon and back.” I think it’s great that you’re not going to dye your hair anymore, and accept the woman you are. You’re an inspiration! I think aging kind of slips up on us, I know it’s caught me off guard a few times. But what I’m striving for is to accept myself as a beautiful woman, at whatever stage of life I’m in. Thank you for your kind words… and have a lovely weekend! Jenny xx

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s all those things. I often feel that way… I don’t have the smooth, tight skin of a 19-year-old, but I have life experience. And wisdom comes with that. So there’s much to be said about the good things about aging! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Jenny, I feel the same as you. I’m 51 yet in a way I feel 30 yet there are days my body feels 80! And other days when I feel I can do anything. Yes, age is just a number yet somehow we feel more and more vulnerable as the years go by. Especially when we see our kids getting older. I say we make the most of every day we have and embrace the person in the mirror, wrinkles and all! ❤️ Wonderful post. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I heard this interview on NPR this week: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/31/499762656/hospice-chaplain-reflects-on-life-death-and-the-strength-of-the-human-soul

    I’m so buying this book.

    There was a point in the interview where she talks about body image, and how her perspective changed when she sat with a woman dying of a very painful cancer. She was looking at her hands, marveling at them, saying, “I have to leave this body. And I LOVE THIS BODY. It’s done amazing things.”

    I can’t get that moment out of my head…

    Liked by 1 person

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