"Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."
~ Satchel Paige
I recently turned 76, and, somewhat surprisingly, the number took my breath away. It's not that I didn't know it was coming. I usually look forward to celebrating my birthday for an entire week. I'd been saying for some time that I was going to be 76. Yet, when the day came and I said the words, "I'm 76", it suddenly struck me that I'm on the downward slope to 80. And however, you look at it, 80 is old.
Most of the time I don't feel old. I don't think of myself as old, unless, until -
- I know all the words to songs younger folks have never heard of. Happens all too frequently on The Voice.
- I catch a glimpse of myself in a store window and wonder who that woman is.
- Or look unexpectedly in the mirror and see my mother staring back at me.
- I have to struggle to get up if my butt is lower than my knees.
- I walk into a room and can't remember why I went there.
- I see a celebrity from my youth and am shocked at how old they look.
- I can recognize all the gadgets and appliances on a quiz about golden oldies - skate keys, ice boxes, party lines, even mimeograph machines.
- I hear myself saying I could be someone's grandmother.
- I notice that none of the heels in my closet are over 1" high and I dress for comfort rather than style.
- I refer to someone in their 50's as young.
- I have to say I'm 1/2 inch shorter on my new driver's license. (At this rate, I'll need a car seat if I make it to 90 and am still driving!
- The news arrives that the last of my Dad's siblings has died.
- I watch a contemporary decline.
For the most part, however, I don't mind. After the initial shock a few days ago, I did celebrate. All week. I celebrate that I take no meds. I can do much of what I did 20 years ago, though I must confess it takes longer. I love to learn and strive to learn something new every day, deriving more from what I read than I ever did. I am overcoming my fear of this technology, even have a FB page. I enjoy people of all ages and particularly enjoy conversations with young people. Though I may cry more easily, I also laugh more easily. Though I get angry and fearful, I don't reside there as long as I did when I was young. Though John is ill, we have great medical care. And we continue to fight the good fight together. Not bad for 76, if I do say so.
So,I agree with Satchel. Age is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter. The secret is to continue to not mind. It is after all, just another candle.