Old age. That term alone strikes fear into nearly every human person on this planet. What is it about going grey or having body parts start traveling south that gets us wound tighter than the knot on my pajama pants string? It’s not like we’re going to start strutting around naked when we reach 40 … or at least most of us won’t. There’s a solution for every age ailment. Need your hair colored? You’re covered. Need to keep the illusion that your bosom is where it was when you were twenty-one? There’s a fix for that. Want people to think you’re still relative and cool in today’s society? There’s a car dealership that I’m sure can fix you up with the ultimate “cool” factor.
So, what has us scared of old age? Well, I think I found the answer a couple of weeks ago. My husband is a Mason and we attended a chili and oyster soup feed at the local lodge. Most of the attendees were people well into their golden years. As I sat there and ate and watched, I couldn’t help but get a little misty-eyed. These white-haired ladies were once my age. They once had little ones underfoot. They, too, probably wanted to lock themselves in a closet and resign the house to the disaster that only small children can bring. They once wanted to feel like a wife and lover instead of a mother all the time. They once had looked at their grandmother and thought, “Wow, I wonder what she was like as a young woman.” This idea didn’t terrify me. I’m actually okay with getting older. What did cause skitters of terror up and down was my spine was how quick the years actually do go by.
In thirty-two years, I’ll be sixty-four. That doesn’t seem like a quick blink of the eye, but considering how fast the first thirty-two years went, I’ll be looking at an “old” woman in the mirror all too soon. I can’t help but wonder what I’ll look like. Will I follow the most traveled path and cut and perm my hair, or will I be a rebel and keep my hair long. I can’t help but think white hair is distinguished, but maybe when I’m the one with white hair, my mind might change. Will I still be stylish and squeeze my varicose-veined legs into jeans, or will I resign myself to polyester pants the color of an Easter egg dyed by a three-year-old. Now for the jackpot. The sweater. I hope and pray that I will not relinquish my torso to anything with birds, snowmen, or jack-o-lanterns. I’ve already given my husband permission to take me out to the nearest pasture and shoot me if at any time these fabric objects are even close to my breasts!
Rewind back to the chili and oyster soup feed. I saw both scenarios represented: white-haired ladies who had embraced and took pride in their age and wore clothes and jewelry to accentuate their wizened years and white-haired ladies who had succumbed to old age, allowing its polyester fingers to touch their bodies. The difference between the two is simple. The ladies who embraced their age looked radiant. Whether they were in their sixties or in their nineties, they looked beautiful in their jewelry and sophisticated outfit. The ladies who succumbed to age look tired and, frankly, old. It didn’t make a difference whether they were sixty or ninety, these poor women looked frumpy and tired in their bird sweaters and polyester blend pants.
So, whatever age you are embrace it. Love it. It’s who you are. A faster car isn’t going to make you look cool. You’re just that creepy old guy driving with the top down. Those suck-you-in-and-pull-you-up underwear to keep your figure the way you think it should be will still have to come off at the end of the day. The hair dye to keep the greys away? The grey is still there, marking every second of your life. Want the answer to feeling young? Be like most of the ladies at the Masonic center … dress like you mean it. Dress like you love life. Dress like you’re not old. And never, never, never surrender your body to a bird sweater!