Thanks to the Beatles, I will have that song running through my head for the whole year, until I turn 65. But mostly after the first few early 60s years of denial, I realize that I am getting old. I’m not elderly yet, but I can see those years getting closer.
I watched a TED talk recently by Jane Fonda, who is still gorgeous in her 70s. She has great genes and lots of money, so she can be. And less recently I read an article by Gloria Steinem, who is now in her 80s, more or less saying what a relief it is. I would not say I am gorgeous and I certainly don’t have any money, but I completely understand the relief that Steinem was talking about.
Last year I decided that since I was in transition I would let my hair go natural, which means grey. For those of you considering the plunge, the hairdresser sort of negatively foiled it, bleaching instead of adding colour. That allowed the gray to come in more gracefully. After five months, I had my hair whacked to about an inch long, the shortest I have ever had it. I saved the cuttings of the very last of the pale gold colour and will make a pin cushion from it (it keeps pins and needles sharp). And now I have hair that is various shades of gray and white, all natural. And short! It is so easy! I was never one to do much with my hair anyway, shampoo, blow, and go, mostly, but now like men, I use hardly any shampoo and don’t need to blow. And usually I am not going anywhere anyway.
Ah, men. My 50s were a wonderful decade, full of adventures and interesting men. However, now I am not interested. Sure, it would be nice to have a guy companion, but it could be a gal too. I think I blew out my sex drive and it rarely shows itself. Of course I don’t seem to be meeting any men at all, so it is easy not to care.
And I don’t care. There is some of that now that I am 64. I am fatter than ever and I don’t care. I am getting more wrinkled, though the fat helps to fill those in. My belly is saggy and I have a full double chin. I rarely wear any make-up now, though all I used to wear was eye make-up anyway. I can’t be bothered now unless I am going out somewhere special. I gave away most of my nice clothes a few years ago, as I didn’t need them and had grown out of them anyway. In fact from the purges of the past few years, I can count how many pairs of pants I have (seven) and skirts (four). I don’t have to have a lot of clothes. No one is keeping count of how many times I am seen in certain ‘outfits’ and in fact I don’t wear outfits. And, shocking as it is, I may wear the same thing two days in a row! It does mean less laundry, and I do care about that.
My body is reminding me that I am moving up in years. My joints crack and my knees complain. My teeth are going and my skin is drying up. I do yoga sporadically and I use lotions, but I can’t keep up. And that is ok too.
I don’t feel the need to try to look or act young. Been there, done that, and why fool myself? It certainly doesn’t fool others and in fact I would look like an idiot. I can save that for other things, since getting older does not always mean complete wisdom.
Of course now I look back a lot. I look at many of the things I jumped into as a younger person and I laugh, marvelling at how naïve I was. People used to call me brave, but they underestimated me. I was just not afraid. Ah, a new adventure– let’s go for it! Usually I landed on my feet, though not always where I expected.
Now I am looking at what Fonda called the Third Act. When you are young, life goes on indefinitely. Now I am at a point where I have achieved most of what I wanted to do and I don’t have great ambitions or big dreams. I have done the travelling, I hit my professional apex, I have had my own businesses, I have experienced love and dalliances. I have given great parties and met thousands of international people in international places. Now I have downsized– no car, two rooms of stuff, one bicycle. No basement, no attic, no crawlspace, no storage unit.
I regret some of the things I have left, especially my stamp collection. But so it goes. You don’t always choose right. Sometimes I think of things I used to have or wear, or I see them in photos, and wish briefly I still had them. But actually it doesn’t matter.
My question at this point is what am I going to do for the rest of my life? Where will I funnel the energy I still have? A grandchild is coming, so that will be part of my focus. I am retired now but I would rather work at least some. But that is not going to happen until I know where I am settled. I guess this year I am learning more patience. I think when I jumped in the past, I felt I had some control, even though I didn’t really know where I was going. However, now I am not in control so I don’t know where I am going. An interesting place to be in after being literally on the move my whole life.
I don’t mind being 64. I like practicing retirement and I am happy with my life. I have two interesting kids, one grandchild on the way, dear siblings. I have had good friends, interesting lovers, a full social life. Life continues to be interesting and I am lucky to be here.