Tuesday, 19 August 2014

How do you know you're old?

A granddaughter asked me this this morning. These (my oldest) grandchildren are very interested in (my) old age, possibly because I'm one of the oldest people they're close to. When they were small, they used to tell me I was "very old, and going to die soon" (thanks, guys). Now the questions are different.

But I think the answer to this one (and the one I gave)  is that I don't think I would know I was old if I didn't know my age. I certainly don't feel it. I ride, play with grandchildren (on the trampoline this morning), wear jeans, even flirt (yes. I do, just occasionally, get chatted up. Hard to believe, I know. But you neve forget how to flirt. Experto crede). We are obsessed by age. Big O birthdays, retirement age, pensions, nice little offers of funeral plan packages or retirement homes coming in the post. You can't get away from it.

I have an actress friend who has told no one her age; not even her son. And I think that must be so liberating. Too late for me now, but good luck  to her. She really can be as young as she feels (awful cliche, but it fits).

20 comments:

  1. I am perpetually 19 inside and say and do things that people looking in, from the 55 year old outside, must find incongruous.
    I have a fount of hard won knowledge and interpersonal skills now, to smooth out the bumps in the road. I do have more empathy and, mostly, exercise restraint, rather than wading into every battle (unless there's an animal being mistreated or a human that's being bullied).
    I am not so sure that your actress friend is liberated by hiding her age. I don't know her, of course. It would seem to me that she is not embracing and celebrating her own reality. Rather sad.

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    1. I'm not sure about that (the actress), ER. I think she really IS celebrating herself, rather than a woman of a certain age. She really can be who she feels she is (60, 70, 80 - however she feels on any particular day). We are too obsessed by age. (Today I feel about 90, but at least I know I'm not that old!).

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  2. When my Mother was young(ish) she maintained that her age was 21+ and we never knew her age until we discovered the date in her napkin ring. She was always fit and mentally alert and young at heart and in her 90s said that it was only her body that told her she was no longer a young woman.

    I only started being young when I was in my 60s so I've had my old age and am making the most of my youth. I recommend it to everyone.

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    1. Brilliant, Graham! I think I'll start trying to do that. I think...

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  3. I intend to be irresponsible for the rest of my life. My 2 grandsons leave for Blighty today; they've spent the whole summer here with us, living dangerously.

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    1. I think being irresponsible at my (or your) age is nice because we can enjoy it and be aware of it. I've got to go on a very dull course today, ane hope very much there will be someone there who can be irresponsible with me.

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  4. Age is not something I enjoy. I like what I know and enjoy being me but wish I was still capable of spending days climbing mountains.

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    1. I'm with you there, Adrian. Three years ago I went climbing in the Lake District with a son and two grandsons. Not sure I could do it now.

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  5. I still don't feel " grown up" and while I can still fancy men 20 years younger , I do not consider myself to be old . ( I have recently met a fella who makes me go weak at the knees..it doesn't happen often!!)

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    1. Weak knees might be a sign of age:)

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    2. Ah, weak knees...Colin Firth...Mmmm!

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  6. I was thinking of writing a post on this subject, Frances, but you've beaten me to it!
    This year I've become a granddad and received my bus pass. In addition, the NHS keep informing me of all the things I could be suffering from and I am invited to drag my poor carcass down to the Health Centre so that they can give me a prod and a poke.
    Flirting and trampolining don't appeal to me so perhaps I am old.

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    1. But I don't flirt ON the trampoline, Keith. One thing at a time.

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  7. I've known old thirty year olds and youngsters in their eighties. It seems silly to give up on the things we enjoy doing just because a certain number of years have past since the day we were born.

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  8. We are obsessed with age. At least women are. The other day I was at the eye doctor's with my Mom and I started noticing all the woman working behind the counter. Every single one had the same color of dyed hair. Every single one. Not a gray strand to be seen. It was creepy. Beauty salons are creepy.

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  9. I am not particularly old but certainly felt it when presented with a my first grandchild in my early 40's. This, however, is a blessing in disguise as I love it when people say, "You look way too young to be a grandmother." I milk it for all its worth while I can. Of course, the day people stop saying it will be a sad one!

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  10. I am still using a stick after breaking my leg so do feel that I must be perceived as older than I feel. Together with a recent decision to embrace the grey, I'm wondering if I've done the right thing.

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    1. I'm sorry about your leg, Maggie. As for going grey, do whatever feels right.

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  11. I knew an old lady with a very flexible approach to all kinds of facts, including her name, life story etc. She lied about her age till she was about 90, and then she started adding years on. She died at 104 - I think!

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