I’m So Much Younger Now

I’ve always said that age is a matter of the mind. That means I’m only as old as I feel. Or it’s an excuse to act any way I want. There are a multitude of sayings, phrases and quotes that try to explain the phenomenon of aging and what it all means.

From aging is not for the faint hearted to the hundreds of quips on the Maxine greeting cards, it’s a topic of much philosophizing. I thought I’d heard them all until Jane Fonda surprised me twice while being interviewed on a recent late night talk show.

First, she said she was almost seventy eight years old. I gasped because she looked no older than 50’s or 60’s. And while I knew she was older than me, I was still shocked by the number because she looked so good. The second surprise was what she said next. I’m so much younger now, she chirped as she glanced around with a gentle smile and look of contentment.

Then she went on to reminisce in a stream of consciousness way that when she was in her 20’s she was stressed and when in her thirties she was depressed. She continued on through the decades until she finished by saying that she has never felt younger or been happier.

I said out loud to the TV screen, that’s me too! At least on the happiness part. Then I went through the decades myself. No more stresses of the job. Sunday night is now a pleasure because I don’t have to start thinking about what’s waiting for me at the office tomorrow.

No pressure to make a marriage work. No more worry that what I say may hurt someone’s feelings or cause disappointment. I can just be myself. Not make the bed or do dishes if I don’t feel like it. Get up in the middle of the night to read when my chronic insomnia hits. Change my mind on a whim and not worry that I’m inconveniencing someone.  I hadn’t planned to be alone at this stage of my life, but I’m managing quite well.

No worries about paying bills. My hard work contributing as much as I could to that mutual fund throughout my working life has paid off. Though it’s been happening for a long time, every month I still marvel at the miracle of regular paychecks that appear in my bank account without me doing a thing to make it happen.

Not having to wonder what’s in my future as far as work or where and with whom to live. I’ve tried all those things with varying degrees of success and failure along the way. I’ve been living in my new place for two years and retired for a little more than that. I’ve been able to reconnect with nearly every friend I’d hoped to when I moved back here.

Each time I look ahead to the next week in my appointment book, it’s empty. But then as the days approach, it fills up. I can’t remember the last time I had a week with more than one day of nothing to do. Sweet.

And nothing of consequence. By that I mean, nothing that demands lots of time preparing or planning. I just wake up each morning and wonder what I’ll do today and then do it. Lunch with a friend. Errands or shopping. Visit a museum. Take in a play. Go to a movie by myself. Each day gets filled up just enough.

But feeling like I’m younger was a new idea. Then I realized in some ways I did feel like a kid, like a teenager. Only without the teenage angst. Without worrying too much whether I’m liked or not. Or understood or not.

Back then even small things seemed life shatteringly important. I now know it will all pass from everyone’s else’s memory, and mine. Quicker than the falling of a presidential candidate’s pole numbers after an “oops” moment. And the world will go on. I’m wiser, happier and feeling younger.

The only time I have to face the truth is when I look in the mirror. Then I see the matron I’ve become. There’s also lots of philosophizing going on about how wrinkles and greying hair are signs of wisdom. But for me, I’d rather see the world peering out from the inside, through my younger eyes. So looking in the mirror is something I don’t do too often.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Kathy Wicht
    Nov 23, 2015 @ 14:00:55

    I’m sitting on a disabled train outside of Boston waiting for a rescue train . Enjoy your Life Stories and can picture you sitting at the computer typing away. Keep typing and entering your thoughts



  2. Diana Schramer
    Nov 24, 2015 @ 21:54:35

    Such a thoughtful, reflective post. I love the journey through each decade and the insights and wisdom you gleaned from each one. You, a matron?? Never!!



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