Getting older, not old

August 4, 2012

You might have seen the recent Pfizer campaign about “getting old.” Seems like a better name for it would’ve been “getting older,” because old connotes things like nursing homes, adult diapers and Ensure. Can’t even go there. Seriously.  {So you already know that this is NOT a paid post. Just saying’}

Anyway, Pfizer sponsored a Gallup survey about how people feel about getting old and they were also surveying us here at BlogHer ’12. The response choices given: optimistic, uneasy, prepared, angry.

I’m not sure any of them really fit how I feel about getting older, because here’s what I think: Getting older beats the alternative.

Reminders of my age are everywhere, though. In the middle-of-the-night insomnia that plagues me, my disinterest in late nights or any kind of substance, including alcohol…in the weight that just won’t come off and in the knowledge that I’ve timed out of some things forever, at least in this life. Like having or adopting children.

When we’re younger, we feel invincible, but when our peers start dying, mortality stares us in the face, challenging us to make lifestyle changes — even though it’s probably too late for them to make a difference. And sometimes, mortality is just luck of the draw. But its proximity is definitely noticed as we get older.

Here’s what else that’s true about getting older: I’m just as imperfect as I ever was, but I no longer care. I (mostly) accept myself as a mixed bag of good things and things that need improvement. I might get there, or I might not, but I’m not going to let my limitations stand in the way of living the best life I can.

Pfizer’s survey asked, when’s the first time you felt your age? Good question I distinctly remember that I didn’t feel any older than 18 until I hit 30. I didn’t feel my age until maybe 50.  The Gallup response averaged out to 38 years old.  That’s pretty young, in my book.

There’s a lot of talk about Boomers being in the prime of their lives, but is it true?

Isn’t every stage of life prime? From those innocent childhood days to the turbulent teens and on to young adulthood and for many, parenthood…it’s all prime, in my opinion. I know the official definition of the prime of life is that time of maturity when power and vigor are at their greatest, but a case can be made my way, too.

I’d love to have the vigor of my 20s with the maturity I gained in my 50s. I’d love to have my whole life in front of me, as I did at 18, and be that beautiful young woman whose world was her oyster and most important:  to know it.

And then, there’s this:

Pfizer’s question really made me think. How about you? When was the first time YOU felt your age? How do YOU feel about getting older? And if you’re still in the “younger” category, how do you feel about aging?

10 comments on “Getting older, not old
  1. Robin Herman says:

    First felt it at 50. Til then the span from 28 or so to 49 was of a piece. I still think of myself as a 40-ish person though the calendar says I’m 60 now. I agree wholeheartedly, I’d love to have both the vigor of youth and the wisdom and confidence we have now. Great post.

  2. I know how you feel. My friends don’t look anything like friends my mom had in her 60s–I just think we are aging better. Even though we ARE marginalized, that’s still clear. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Alison says:

    Very well put MIddle Aged Diva. I am still 30 in my head but my body feels my actual age, several years older!
    Great post with interesting questions and I love the way it’s designed too. And funny cartoon!

  4. Alison, enjoy every minute of your 30s, it was one of my best times of life!!!

  5. Alison says:

    Sorry I misled you, I am well into my forties! (but thanks anyway) 🙂

  6. Alison says:

    Sorry I misled you, I am well into my forties! (but thanks anyway) 🙂

  7. laura says:

    I feel younger now at 51 than I did at 31. Perhaps it’s because I had a two year old at 31, in school full time and working part time? Or perhaps at 51 it’s because I’m living the life intended for me. I’m not living someone else’s script for my life. Thought provoking post especially for The Original Generation X and Gen X as we march firmly into our 50’s.

  8. Wow, Laura, can it be true? Gen X is marching into their 50s already? I’m interested that you feel younger now than you did 20 yrs ago. For sure having a kid in school + working must’ve been exhausting. I wonder if your experience will be similar for other “older” moms. Not “old” of course–31 is NOT at all old to have a two year old, not these days! Thanks for making ME think!

  9. BetteJo says:

    Ah! You expressed more of what I meant in my post – than I did! 🙂 So I know exactly what you’re saying.

  10. Hi Bette Jo,
    Yes, I think we ALL are going through it now.
    I wonder how our feelings differ from how our mother’s felt at aging..?

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