I’m kind of old, but not really. You could say I’m “oldish”. Around the edges, a hint of old. I’m young-old. People might refer to me as an older lady, but not as an old lady. Since we humans are living longer, we can be located on an age continuum that is growing longer each decade. So how old is 68? I think 68 is “oldish.” So lets call it “50 Shades of Age” for fun!
Why does it matter how “oldish” I am? I doubt it matters much at all to most people because they see what they have learned to see. Our mind wants to label things, to categorize things and understand the rules, because then we have the world out there figured out. It is likely that what I see and hear from others about “old” is the way I will see “old”. Unless I think critically about what old means to me, I’ll just go along with the status quo. I will not be a pioneer or a catalyst for changing the stereotypes of aging. That’s a whole other subject, but for now I’m curious about how I am changing to meet the challenges of being “oldish”.
Is my head in the sand or am I looking directly at the wrinkles on my face and the wrinkles in my life? I have lived in my body for almost 69 years and I know I’m not nearly as flexible as I once was. If I have to squat to reach something, I will not spring back up. At the same time I know I am more flexible in my approach, decisions and planning. Experience has taught me that few things are actually an emergency, and being inflexible means I may break into pieces. Square pegs do not fit in round holes no matter how much we may force it. I’m not likely to try and swim upstream and insist the world do my bidding. By electing to respond to challenging situations with changed attitudes and a willingness to look at different responses, I’m more flexible.
My reflexes and reaction time are slower. I may not be able to grab something in a millisecond to stop it from falling. My reaction time when I am driving is slower. Though I am older and slower I have found ways to respond in a timely matter, just in time, to what life sends my way. My car GPS helps me to keep on track and to think ahead, just as my inner navigator keeps me going in the direction I have decided is best for me. I practice my emotional skills and think ahead about where I want to be. Certainly things have happened and will continue to happen that catch me by surprise, but I am confident that I will be resilient and respond rather than react. I may be slower, but I’m smarter.
I hate to admit it, but I do have more aches and pains now. Just ask me and I will tell you! I’m not a well-oiled machine, some parts of me are pretty rusty and they do hurt at times. Sometimes I can compensate for this by using supports like braces, splints and walking boots, and sometimes rest is the only way to heal myself. Not so good on “rest” yet, but gaining more patience and acceptance that self-care sometimes requires that I stop and rest. Rather than focus on those things that I can no longer do, I choose to focus on what I can do. Maximizing my strengths can compensate for some of my weaknesses . Parts of me are still excellent!
So yes, I think I am “oldish”. Don’t worry I’m not going to write a trilogy of “50 Shades of Age”!
I’m too tired.