Recently, for some reason – Could be my upcoming 70th birthday? – I’m surrounded by reminders of age– a topic I’ve not actively entertained since reaching that milestone of official “adulthood” at age 21. (Although I did have a bout of depression when I was 25: quarter of a century. Yikes!)
But now. Approaching 70?! WTF??!! That’s old.
“Fifty is the new thirty.” “Sixty is the new forty.” But seventy??!
Others’ perceptions of aging — or my reality?
At 70, my life is certainly not “over.” I inherited longevity genes. My mom died at 96 – healthy until the week prior to her death. Lucid ‘til the last day, she reminded me to pay her estimated taxes. Her mother died at 98.
I plan to live every day until the day I don’t.
I am, however, noticing disturbing bodily evolutions: in rummaging through family photos – I am my mother – my nose becoming a hook, the errant gray hair on my chin mole, neck wrinkles, crazy knots on my knuckles, thick around the middle…. Not that these are totally bad things – but – for God’s sake – -this was my mother. She was old.
I’ve lived a fulfilled life of joys, a few disasters (lessons), and exceptional adventures and memories. Yet – at 70, I’m not resting on these dubious laurels and contemplating past glories from the comfort of my rocker. I’m busy creating new memories in my glorious Now.
Let’s do another 5K run/walk – ride a river raft through the Grand Canyon – or do another just-for-fun Mud Run. Maybe climb another Colorado 14er.
Takes me a tad longer now, but I can still do it.
I travel. A lot. Maximizing standby flight “mom privileges” through my daughter with American Airlines — and particularly relish the quality time with my incredible Granddaughters.
I’m taking language classes, practice yoga and Pilates, and regularly trek up/down the hills of my city.
I have a younger partner/boyfriend/significant-other. And yes. Peter, my Boy Toy, and I are sexually active. (Shame on Kaiser who stops providing pap smears with annual check-ups at age 60!)
Peter and I plan to fly to England to visit his sister, take a river barge, and explore Europe. We want to visit Viet Nam and Thailand. We’ve driven across magnificent Mexico several times and, this year, we will experience more of its off-the-beaten-track side roads and mountain paths astride his Moto Guzzi motorcycle.
We have intelligent, well-traveled, interesting friends of diverse ages and nationalities with whom we regularly share stimulating conversation as well as travel adventures.
We laugh. A lot. Every day.
We live on the side of a hill in the vibrant city of Guanajuato in central Mexico. With seven universities and Festival Cervantino, the largest music and arts festival in all of North America, Guanajuato has an abundance of young energy. Yet, my hero is the lady hobbling up the callejón/alley using her walker.
Ten years ago, to honor my 60th birthday, I got my first (and only) tattoo. Not certain what “act of rebellion” I’ll do at 70. Perhaps I’ll use my travel benefits to circle the globe.
No. I’m not ignoring the possible physical limitations of the future. I am not, however, defining myself by them.
To date, each of my decades has surpassed the one before. I’m not over any hill yet. I’m just approaching the pinnacle and anticipate exploring the adventures and peaks ahead.
Exploring peaks. Literally. This month, to experience the hundreds-of-thousands of Monarch butterflies in Michoacán, Mexico, friends and I rode horseback up the mountain Cerro Pelón and then, at around 10,000 feet, hiked the last kilometer which was was too steep for the horse.
How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are? Satchel Paige
Inside, I’m the same me I was at age 30, 40, 50.
Actually, I’m an ever-improving version of me.
Since I’m in a reflecting mode, I’ll honor a few of the life-altering shifts of recent years. My catalyst for major change originated with a motivational seminar which led to Master Mind groups, introspection, study, and gut-wrenching work to release ridiculous guilt. This allowed me to become the “Inevitable Me” whom I love unconditionally. Then — making the leap to sell my Colorado home and possessions to move to Mexico — enjoying being an unencumbered single woman living in a beachside paradise – then saying “Yes” to sharing the remainder of my life with the man who is truly my joy, inspiration, and soul mate — and moving to Guanajuato, a city snuggled within the Sierra Madre mountains of central Mexico.
Among the activities, I’m gifting myself time to appreciate each day’s abundance and joy.
Peter and I relish “kitten time” with two little darlings we rescued from the back of an abandoned pick-up truck. Mimi Mews (my Muse?) will snuggle down, mew a bit, pummel my neck with her soft paws, then stretch her little toes. Very endearing. But, even ten years ago, I would probably not have paused to allow this, let alone appreciate it.
And flowers. We enjoy our Pot Garden on the patio. No, not that kind of pot, although we did have a healthy plant prior to harvest.
Yes. Life is different now than when I was 30.
It’s better. Much better.
“You’ll learn, as you get older, that rules are made to be broken. Be bold enough to live life on your terms, and never, ever apologize for it. Go against the grain, refuse to conform, take the road less traveled instead of the well-beaten path. Laugh in the face of adversity, and leap before you look. Dance as though EVERYBODY is watching. March to the beat of your own drummer. And stubbornly refuse to fit in.”
― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass