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The worst part of aging is the response from other people. Last week I was happily dancing my way (somewhat ineptly) through a zumba class. The woman next to me said, at a break between songs, “You look like you’re having fun.”

It took me awhile to recognize the underlying message and then I was angry, although she meant well. I’ve never been especially coordinated. This class has an instructor who doesn’t believe in cueing so you just follow along. Lots of people got lost. I’m holding up. If you come a lot, presumably you learn the moves.

But the real message was, “For someone your age…”

Someone said I should accept it as a compliment. “Wow, you’re still fit!”

But I don’t want to be defined by my age. I want to be just another person in zumba class, a little less coordinated than most, a little fitter than the average person on the street, a little too busy to go out shopping for shorts that make a fashion statement.

Let’s remember that until recently people were surprised when women and Black people could fly jet airplanes and perform brain surgery.