Occasionally someone will ask me: “How old are you — if iyou don’t mind my asking?” That’s a verbatim quote from the woman who was giving me a manicure the other day.
I wondered, why she was asking while at the same time trying to decide whether I should just make up some random number that expresses the way I feel or fess up to the truth. I figured I couldn’t get away with saying, “Oh, 35-ish,” without incurring guffaws and spilt nail polish, but the exchange got me thinking about age, my age specifically, and generally musing about whether other women feel the same way I do.
When that very direct question is posed, I sometimes literally forget what my chronological age is. I have to stop and think for a moment, then my mind has a nanosecond of “no, that’s absolutely not possible.”
Never mind about how I appear to others, or how I’m sometimes disappointed when I look in the mirror, that’s not the point. I do not think of myself as someone who can be categorized, judged and perhaps stigmatized by my birth date.
These feelings made me wonder what you might be feeling and thinking. I fully realize that in the grand scheme of things this might seem trivial, but at the same time I’m not sure. How we look and feel is crucial to our well-being. The way society is set-up everyone tends to fall into groups defined by cliches and assumptions — Generation X and Y, Baby Boomers, Millennials. I read an article recently that claimed Baby Boomers, my generation, are responsible for all the ills of the modern world. Yikes.
On a lighter note: Do you fight the good fight with all the scientific, and sometimes invasive, techniques available to us today to ward off, postpone or radically remove physical signs of aging? Or, are you more philosophical and accepting of the inevitable process?
I’m assuming, from knowing many of you so well (lucky, lucky me), that some of you prefer to do a bit of this and that while moving on with energy and enthusiasm. Still, what most interests me in this conversation is when that “how old are you?” question is posed, “how old do you feel in your mind and spirit?”
Honestly, I feel about 30 — OK, maybe 35. . .
And, since I’m being completely honest, short of opting for interventions that require anesthesia and sharp, shiny objects in the hands of masked men and women, I’m doing everything in my power on the outside to appear better than I think I would if I gave up the good fight. At the same time in the last few years my concerns and attentions have been turning more toward improving my mind and, speaking of cliches, being consciously more grateful for the extreme good fortune I have and have had in my life.