When my husband Jim turned 82 recently (my age), one of our kids gave him a birthday card. It showed a back view of a naked white-haired guy running into the ocean. The word “Yippee!” in the shape of swim trunks was pasted across his buns. The card said, “Getting old is AWESOME!”
But inside it read “ … said no one ever. Anyway, Happy Birthday!”
I for one do say old age is awesome! I’m not as spry as I used to be, but the freedom makes up for it. Here are some AWESOME things I couldn’t do when I was younger:
– House paid for, kids grown. Enough money to live comfortably and still have fun. Jim and I set our own schedule. We just came back from a cruise on the Cumberland River. Then we renewed old friendships at a national conference in Charlotte, VA. Yeah, we took our canes. So what?
– If I want to take a nap, I do. Without the slightest embarrassment. I go to bed when I’m sleepy and I don’t apologize.
– I have stories for every occasion, and people seem to enjoy hearing one or two.
– I can do things I couldn’t when I was focused on family and career. I always wanted to write a book. I published my first at age 76. My second came out this year. I’m working on a third.
– I like my white hair. I wear comfortable, bright-colored clothes, whether they’re “in” or not. I still want to look attractive but I’m no longer super-invested in what others think.
– I eat what tastes good without fretting much about calories or nutrition. If I decline something, nobody cares.
– I can be opinionated. It’s really fun to say what one thinks. And I’ve lived long enough to recognize baloney when I hear it.
– I don’t have to answer any questions I don’t like. “Excuse me?” as if I can’t hear will suffice.
– Caring for my beloved dying husband of 56 years taught me that life is precious, fragile and fleeting and each day is given by the grace of God. I don’t take a single one for granted.
– And here’s the most awesome thing of all: At age 78 I fell head over heels in love with an old friend and became a bride at 80! Don’t tell me old age can’t be awesome!
This piece also appears in The Perennial Gen.