Can you believe it? We mean, how old you are?! Neither can BoomerCafé contributor Lorie Eber of Irvine, California.
I just had my 60th birthday and I’m incredulous that I’ve lived so many years. I wasn’t in the mood to mark the occasion at a party festooned with black balloons and “over the hill” jokes. I’d had that experience ten years earlier when my husband threw a surprise party for me against my wishes. I felt confident he wouldn’t be a repeat offender. He wasn’t.
While I still look fairly decent if you catch a quick glimpse from the back, a full frontal reveals the real story. I find it downright frightening to look at a selfie. In fact, I’m considering investing in a selfie stick to get a little distance from reality so I don’t scare young children. Since I refuse to enhance my looks in any way, I look like a television newsreader in HD who skipped hair and makeup.
The feel-good cliché that “50 is the new 30” never resonated with me, so I find myself even less convinced a decade down the road. I have no idea what a 60-year-old Lorie is supposed to feel like, nor do I have a vivid mental snapshot of my younger self. Still, I appreciate the sentiment and hope there’s at least a grain of truth in it.
I’m also a Gerontologist, so I’m quite cognizant of the fact that our bodies are made to procreate and then gradually start shutting down. Every system in our bodies slows to a crawl and formerly supple tissues get brittle and dry. At this advancing age I know better than to even attempt to work the twelve-hour days that used to be routine.
Then there are the weird things that come with the territory, like when a minor bump turns into an angry purple contusion, the unwelcome sight of bare scalp where thick hair used to reside, and coarse hairs sprouting in unwelcome places.
It also takes a psychic toll. Whenever a new ache or pain crops up, I panic and start worrying that I’ll have to live with it forever. Usually it dissipates, but not until I’ve worked myself into Ativan territory.
Nonetheless, the glass is always half-full in my world, so here are 10 upsides to being a little past my prime:
- I’m able to enjoy the small important moments
- I care less and less about what anyone thinks about me (husband excepted)
- I’m willing to admit my weaknesses and play to my strengths
- I don’t worry about a far-off Armageddon like climate change
- I’m quite comfortable in my skin
- I’ve learned to avoid negative people and surround myself with upbeat friends
- I no longer care to accumulate “stuff” (shoes excepted)
- I’ve finally learned to relax, at least a little
- I have a good fix on what makes me happy
- And of course … This beats the alternative!