I am susceptible to the stereotypes in the popular media although I think I'm on-to the shallowness and inaccuracy of them. That's true for what skirt length is flattering and which hair-do is modern and what the car you drive says about you. So I guess I had, on various levels, bought into the stereotypes about various ages. I started this blog to get over the "embarrasment" of being in the seventh decade of my life. To my surprise, as that decade has unfolded I've felt more and more open and, actually proud, of being "in my seventies."
So, today I'm 75 and I'm surprised. I don't feel much older than I did ten years ago. I look somewhat older, but not a lot. And while we're assessing, I've gained about 20 pounds which I alternately despise and say, "what the hell?" about. I look around and most women have lost most of their waistlines on the way to seventy. There's a little more difficulty climbing hills and stairs - breath rather than muscle. That's a fair assessment. Physical appearance is important to me as it is to most women, especially those who did not feel "pretty" back at 12 of 13 when we were forming our egos. That insecurity doesn't disappear even after most of a lifetime of actually looking pretty darned good.
But this decade has brought so much else to fruition, the sense of who I always wanted to be, the feeling that I've finally made up for the inadequacy of my education, the ripening of self-confidence in many areas, including making mistakes and not feeling embarrassed by them. I have strong feelings about words -- the more so as I've been writing more poetry -- and I still cannot dispel the nastiness of the word "crone" and will not accept that as a part of my definition. After a period of reading the "aging" self-help, rah-rah, books I've grown tired of all that boosterism and want only to live my days as they offer themselves. I have so many interests that I have no "time to kill" even if I indulge myself not infrequently with a half hour over a Starbucks coffee just reading a magazine -- often at Barnes & Noble where I can fill the time with eye candy and not feel obliged to purchase it.
I ramble, this is not a well formed essay about what it means to have a 75th birthday, to be in good physical health, involved in a community, embraced by family and working toward small and large goals of artistic achievement. It's a good thing and I would wish it for anyone I know.
The mid-70s are a surprise! Part of me remains in the 50s -- age, I mean, not decade of 20th century. It's a joy ride, new experiences land in my lap and I've become a better quilter, poet, writer than I expected. It's a rich life for a person never rich financially. Hey, this is what the mid-70s are like!