I suspect we have all stood in front of the mirror looking for our younger selves, asking the question, how did I get here? Well, we were all going to get here regardless of the path, the choices made, ain’t no holdin’ back time. So instead of pining for a former you, instead of imagining that you are a young person in an old person’s body, perhaps the better question is what do I do now that I’m on the freakin’ edge of old? On this, my milestone birthday, age sixty five, I am only too glad to share my personal pearls on aging. Take ’em or leave ’em, but please read on. In no particular order:
STOP the old chatter, the “it’s a bitch getting old” comments, the “senior moment” shit. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Everybody has aching joints, injuries, ailments, young and old. If that is too often the topic of your conversations, STOP it, it’s stupid. And everybody forgets stuff. When my children were in high school and trying to get out the door in the morning (in the age of pre-online assignments), I can’t tell you how many times I watched them run up and down the stairs because they forgot a book, their backpack, deodorant, or how many times I had to drive to school with the forgotten helmet, homework, or the lunch they really, really wanted. [I must say, however, that I do play the “old” card on occasion—works great with airport personnel and police officers.]
MOVE. You rest, you rust. In the words of the immortal James Brown, “get up offa that thing, shake it you’ll feel better.”
BE GENEROUS with your time, your money, your love.
BE KIND. You don’t have to like everyone, just be nice to everyone. Unless they run over your dog. Then burn their house down.
SMOKE WEED. Wean yourself off of those nasty-ass pain killers and anti-depressants. Skip the liquor. Nothing bad will happen, no one will jump out a window from reefer madness. I believe that every achey, lonely, depressed senior living/nursing home resident would benefit from pot, and I am hardly alone, nor am I a rebel, in that regard. If you don’t want to smoke it, eat it. The power of the plant.
BE PRETTY. Clean yourself up, get out of the damn mom jeans and buy some trendy clothes, get your hair done, put on some makeup. If you look old, you feel old.
FIND HUMOR. Seek comedy—a movie, tv, book, a funny friend. Laugh at your own jokes and always laugh at yourself. Laughter is truly medicinal, belly laughing one of the greatest feelings on earth, second only to, well, whatever.
FIND RELEVANCY. This is your world, be a part of it. Enough with the past—embrace modernity. I have very little patience with those who balk at technology and contemporary culture. Adapt or perish. And, perhaps related, perhaps not—don’t stress over “finding your passion” (a catch phrase I’ve come to abhor). Be open, be a player in your own world, and passion will find you.
NEVER, EVER be embarrassed by who you are, what you do, what you believe in, or what you look like (even when you don’t feel pretty). You are a singular being, the only one of you—when you’re gone, there’s no replacing you. RESPECT yourself.
SCREW RISK. Really, what’s the worse that can happen? You die? Guess what? You’re going to die anyway.
photo credit: Paula Rubino