Yes, a number is only a number…or is it? What does being seventy years old really mean? The big 70 meant depression and confusion for me and I no longer felt alive or even visible. Before I met this huge milemarker, I felt special when younger people tried to help me open a door or put a bag of cat food on the check out counter. Suddenly, I felt invisible and sad as the hours and days after my seventieth birthday passed!
What had happened to me from sixty-nine to seventy was my state of mind had told me I was finally a real senior citizen. My generation is not hip and if I try to be hip, I would seem ridiculous in the eyes of the younger generation. I can’t even fake liking the “new” music (do they still call that stuff music!). My nineteen-year old granddaughter does not understand why I would want to follow her on Instagram. In fact, I don’t want to follow her, I just want to see what she’s doing. There is no spying involved here…I want to be part of her world.
In some countries, the older generation is revered and the wisdom it possesses is valuable. It is not so in some families here in the U.S. because young people grow up with exposure to the Internet and 24-hour news where experience is shown in huge doses. Even the consequences are shown, but I’m not sure kids are getting it. This could and will happen to them if they don’t heed the warnings. Listen to grandma and maybe, just maybe you could avoid some pain.
For months I continued to beat myself up: I am old; I look old (even my hairdresser likes my grey hair more than I do); I am not involved in the community anymore; and I don’t feel well. It was time to do something other than continue to feel sorry for myself.
Feeling old is a sad state of mind for anyone. Gloomy weeks of winter weather can eat at some of us. There are just so many soap operas to watch. I turned off the T.V. and opened an historical novel. It was fun to read because I knew a little bit about the timeline and it began to put my life into perspective. Gee, Life is not all about me!
My community hospital was looking, always looking, for volunteers so I signed up. It helps to have some structure in my life and some social time with other women in their 70’s and even older. It helps me to give back to a community that gives me the services that I can call upon at any time!
Looking in the mirror and seeing this grey hair, but it was amazing what a little bit of makeup did. Decision: Don’t leave home without it. I began to work at shining up that grey hair and finding a style that suits my curly hair and the humid weather of my area. I began to feel younger…not in numbers, but I felt younger in spirit!
As far as being part of the grandchildren’s world…I love them but I cannot live for them. I need to be the main character in my own life. It is essential that I love myself and always love others. However, I don’t have to drag them into my sadness or joy. That could be a very needy situation…I need to listen only if they want to talk. It is important to know that I have been and will continue to be kind and happy. My nightly prayers for their well being is most essential. It will be better for all if being 70 or 80 or 90 or more means being comfortable and happy in my own skin!