Saturday, 14 April 2007

Hippy birdy, and all that

Tomorrow I will be sixty-five. An accredited senior. Old. What is really weird is that I do not feel any older, wiser or more senior than I did twenty years ago, or even forty. Although when I was eighteen or nineteen I thought I knew everything, a few years after that having two daughters in fifteen months taught me that I surely didn't. I wonder if there will ever come a time when I rest on the oars and look around and decide that I have crossed a finish line. Certainly the horn is not going to sound tomorrow.

I think I was more aware of 'aging' when I was in my forties. I did things like take up sailboarding and scuba diving to prove to myself, I guess, that I could still do things. I went back to school at forty-five and managed to find myself a job in my new avocation, even though the teachers at the college I attended warned me that I was going to have to really fight to get a position. I only kept it a year though, because my mother became really ill, both mentally and physically, and my father couldn't handle it. After I got called at work a certain number of times by him to come and deal with my mother, I resigned. She died a few months later, my father needed me, my aunts needed me and I spent the next decade looking after the older generation.

On my fiftieth birthday I decided to get into better physical shape, and did a few things like enroll in a stop-smoking program, set up a walking program, stop eating trans fats. At sixty I gave all of these fairly useless resolutions up and decided to enjoy myself, buy a size larger in pants and not be embarrassed by reading silly novels. This proved to be a more useful set of rules to grow old by, especially the elastic waistbands. Then one of my daughters, who had already provided me with two fascinating step-grandsons, got pregnant. After lugging a lot of pounds of squirming infant up a lot of sets of stairs, a little physical fitness became, once more, a priority. I got a small lap pool installed in the basement and, four years later, I can still haul a quite solid preschooler around when needed. The knees do not like it, but they bend.

So, what have I got? White hair and wrinkles, honestly earned. No hint of a waistline, alas. Arthritis, vision newly sharpened by cataract surgery, weird fingernails and dry skin, daughters who are my friends and a husband who rarely notices what I look like. I don't think a housewife ever retires, I run a small graphics business out of the house, I volunteer a lot (anyone want a cookbook?) and I have some good neighbours. I am slowly learning a few bits of html code, and learning a lot about the group of bloggers I have found and stretching my mind in a new way. I don't like to get up in the morning, but I don't have to do it early any more. Mostly. Tomorrow I have to get up at 6:00 am and go and run a posse of volunteers at a pancake breakfast for charity.

I have all my teeth but one and most of my brain still works. Not bad. Bring on tomorrow. At least, being Canadian, I am about to get paid for being old.


  1. Happy Birthday! What an important one! And I love what you wrote about aging:

    This proved to be a more useful set of rules to grow old by, especially the elastic waistbands.

    It made me giggle, because I am sure to be exactly the same way when I am your age.

    And congrats. on the Just Post award, which was well-deserved.

  2. Happy Birthday! Amazing.

    So, you're telling me that this feeling of being 17 and an impostor never goes away? Hmm.

    I'm so glad you've joined us...I'm learning, too.

  3. Hey! How did I miss this until now? Happy Birthday. I loved reading this given that I have been all 'doom and gloom' about my aging body of late. Your words were freeing.

    I suggest you buy a nice bottle of wine and a big bag of trans fat with that first OAS cheque.