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.

3 comments:

  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.

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  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.

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  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.

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