I’m SO sick of those cheery posts “What’s good about getting old.”
If it were REALLY so good, would we have to keep making the point? You don’t see anyone writing about, “It’s great to be a man,” or even, “It’s great to be a woman.” Nor does anyone write, “It’s great to be black,” or, “Why I like being gay.”
Like this one from a mom blog:
There are so many good things about getting older:
1. You stop trying to impress people
2. You see things more clearly
3. Others tolerate your idiosyncrasies
When you stop trying to impress people, you’re giving up. You’re saying you’re not going to advance socially or professionally, so why bother?
Then again, I’ve never worried too much about impressing people with my wardrobe. When I was attending an academic conference several years ago, one guy came up to me to say, “You don’t care, do you? You’re wearing shorts to the opening event!” I hadn’t thought about it, frankly.
Seeing things more clearly can be painful. I shudder when I read a news article about anything medical. It’s usually wildly inaccurate. Anyway, what’s the good of seeing clearly if you aren’t taken seriously because you’re “too old?”
Finally, the reason people “tolerate your idiosyncrasies” is that they’ve bought into the stereotypes of aging. I’ve had my idiosyncracies for a years. People just thought I was weird. In fact, I discovered that one colleague who wrote reference letters for me (reference letters remain a quaint custom in academic job hunting) began each letter with, “Cathy may be somewhat eccentric, but …”
Now when I do something out of the norm, people assume it’s due to age. Sorry, folks: I was a maverick before I knew what it meant.
They think it’s “normal” when you lose thing or bump into walls.
Anyway, everybody ages differently.
Recently a young woman came up to me in the locker room at my gym, right after zumba. She said, “You are amazing! I want to be like you when I’m your age.” Thankfully she was about 20 years off when she guessed my age.
So on the one hand, I showed off a little. I told her my secret: work out 3-4x a week religiously and stay away from doctors.
But on the other hand, there area lots of women as fit as I am or more. What about that 90-year-old who ran marathons? If I did more age-appropriate things I’d be surrounded by women who were equally fit. But I like zumba.