Wednesday, May 6, 2015

I was never good at math. If 60 is the new 40, what is 71? I think it’s the new 49, right? In a recent magazine, readers were asked the question, “Is 60 the new 40?” First of all, who gives the random readers the authority to make such absurd statements? What does it mean--60 is the new 40? Some of these people can’t remember what they were doing at 40, and many at 60 can’t remember where they put the survey. 

I know a lot of things about being both ages and passing them. Here are a few:

In my forties, I was so busy, I didn’t think about what it felt like. Ask yourself, “How does it feel to be ???? today?” Age isn’t a feeling; it’s a stage, a cycle, a place in life. How we describe that is totally subjective, and no one can define a feeling that one can label universal. We can describe our attitudes, our health, our biases, our lifestyles, but the “feeling” of an age is impossible to describe.

In my forties, I was mothering, working, going to school, dealing with an unhappy marriage, trying to stay thin, worrying about career decisions. I never had time to think about what 40 felt like. 

In my sixties, I had different decisions:  Should I retire? Where will we live? Will we have enough money? What about filling my days? 

Bottom line:  It was easier in my 40s when everything was prescribed, and decision-making was less threatening. You could always fix a bad decision. At 60, there’s not so much time.

In my forties, I didn’t worry about my health, my health care, my investments, my mortgage balance, my living will, my grand-children, my parents’ health and care. There wasn’t time. 

Bottom line:  Sometimes too much freedom and time for decision-making can be overwhelming. Most poor decisions can’t be blamed on anyone or any institution. It’s our show, and we are the directors. No more retakes.

In my forties, I worried about being liked, being thin enough, being smart enough, being super mom, accomplishing enough beyond the expected.

In my sixties, I began thinking about who I liked, not who liked me. I knew I was good enough, regardless of how smart I was. It’s too late to be super mom, and there are no gold stars. I loved my kids unconditionally; that is the greatest gift I could give them. I continued to accomplish because that’s who I am and what I will always do. I do it because I want to, not because it keeps my brain cells alive. 

Despite my wrinkles and my thinning hair, I do not feel any different physically than when I was 20. I don’t have any fewer ambitions than when I was 30. I have as many friends as when I was 12, and I have more confidence than at any time in my life.

I am almost 72, and I know it’s the new 90:)