I object to the question, “How old do you feel?” A recent NY Times article by Emily Laber-Warren did an in-depth exploration of subjective age versus biological age, as if they are two distinct things.
I am 59. I feel 59. Some days I feel 59 and terrible. My joints creak, my back aches, and I sigh reluctantly at the prospect of putting my socks on. Other days I feel 59 and vital. I want to climb a mountain, get 18 chores done in an afternoon, have a party. Frankly, it wasn’t that different when I was 29, and I expect (hope) 79 won’t be too far off either. Everyone, every age, has high and low days, high and low stretches. There are many things about being 59 that are preferable to 29, and surely 79 will hold its own treasures. Life’s value goes beyond the ability to run fast or do push-ups.
Sometimes I wonder if pregnancy helps women accustom to periods of physical limitation. There are things I can’t do any more. So what? I can do other things. That’s life, right? And maybe I’ll be able to do them again some day, if whatever current obstacle resolves over time. Or maybe not. That’s okay too.
The truest thing I read in Laber-Warren’s article was the prevalence of “inner ageism.” As a society, we resist and disdain aging. Why? Is it all about the fear of dying? The worship of youth? I say “phooey” to both. Embrace the journey, or you’ll miss the best parts.
My 60th year in 60,000 words
Day 53 : 257 words, TOTAL = 8085; 51,915 remaining
Robin Clifford Wood is an award-winning author, poet, and writing teacher. She lives in central Maine with her husband, loves to be outdoors, and enjoys ever-expanding horizons through her children, grandchildren, and granddogs.