“To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.” Bernard M. Baruch
In high school, I played the ingenue in ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ but really wanted to be one of the ditzy old ladies. Thirty years later I auditioned for the play again with a community theater group, and finally got the coveted role of Martha. She was sweet, but addled; kind but homicidal. Playwright, Joseph Kesselring, described her, as an ‘elderly woman,’ about 60 years old. I thought, “Times have certainly changed since the play was produced in 1939. Sixty is no longer old ladies dressed in black, but vibrant women running businesses, playing tennis, and working out.”
Fast forward another 15 years. While watching the news, a young TV reporter announced, “An elderly woman was struck and killed by a hit and run driver early this morning.” As she went on I pictured a feeble old lady, rather like Martha. Then the reporter mentioned her age. ELDERLY! She was five years younger than I! Had we gone back in time? Was it 1939?
The reporter apparently had not read all the “50 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40 and 70 is the new 50” articles and books. She was no more than 30. Using the philosophy of 50 or 60 is the new whatever, she had the mental acuity of a 10 year old. That would certainly explain ‘elderly!’ When you were 10 anyone over thirty was also over the hill!
Took a break today, and the hosts of ‘The Chew,’ discussed how their grandmothers influenced their lives. Clinton mentioned his grandmother (she’s 94 and doesn’t look it at all) gets up every morning and says, “this is going to be a great day.” She lives in San Francisco and walks 2 miles every day! Carla’s grandmother told her, “it’s your job to be happy.” Regardless of what life brings you, it’s up to you to decide how you will react. Daphne’s grandmother said “only boring people get bored.” She too, felt that you are responsible for your own happiness and enriching your life. Sounds like these ‘elderly’ ladies were on to something.
Like the grandmothers of the Chew Crew, how you feel and how you age has more to do with mindset. I’m not suggesting that nothing changes (I notice my joints aren’t as flexible as they used to be). So, am I elderly? I don’t know. Mature sounds better and like Mr. Baruch, old age is AT LEAST 15 years older than I.
Here are my top reasons for enjoying where I am in life (pass it on to Letterman, he’s retiring this year):
10. You make your own rules
9. Think about the grandmothers above. Life experience makes you wiser.
8. You can do all those things you’ve wanted to do, because now you have the time.
7. You love your grandchildren but, face it, they go back to Mommy and Daddy and you can rest.
6. You can have a leisurely breakfast and actually read the paper.
5 Again, like the Chew grandmothers you realize you are what you think.
4. It is your schedule — not a company schedule.
3. If you work out, you don’t have to go to the gym at 5:00 am to accommodate your job.
2. There’s always time for friends.
And the top and number one reason to enjoy your age (whatever it is):
1. Consider the alternative….