Tuesday, October 13, 2015

      Yesterday, Mr. Wonderful said in his profound wisdom, “By the time you’re old enough to have life figured out, you’re out of the mainstream, and no one will listen. You’re irrelevant.”
Well, that’s a sad state of affairs, if it’s true, I’m in total denial. I choose to function believing I still matter. In our American culture, old age/wisdom is not revered as it is in some cultures. Once you’re over a certain age (that age changes frequently), your opinion doesn’t matter. Well, I don’t know about you, but people ask my opinion regularly and seem very interested, generally, in what I have to say. I don’t think about a person’s age when I ask their opinion, but I was brought up to respect my elders and value their experience. As a teen-ager and maybe even a college student, I heard, but I didn’t necessarily listen. After I married, had children and juggled grad school and career, I did a lot more listening and I respected those who had managed to weather it all, stay married, sane and relatively youthful. 

     In the film, The Intern, a clever reversal of the novice role, the young people begin by chuckling at the “old guy,” but they end up wanting to be him. It’s not in your face; it’s subtle and sensitively portrayed. 

     When I look at people like Robert Redford, who certainly has aged, and realize what he’s accomplished at age 79, I am amazed and impressed by a man who works through the stereotypes and keeps producing, yet remains so humble. Look at Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood, Robert DeNiro. They are all going strong and breaking age barriers with every project.

   A friend of mine is starting a new business. She’s 70. Today, she said, “I say 70 is the new 30.” I laughed and replied, “How about 70 is the new 70.” It’s just a number. Yes, it comes with creases, wrinkles and maybe an ache or pain or three, but the number is unimportant; the spirit and the drive count. At what age are we supposed to say to ourselves, “Ok. I don’t have to make a difference anymore. From today on, I don’t matter.”

     I will keep reading, studying, learning, listening, thinking, wearing my 4”stilettos, climbing mountains, coloring in my coloring book and acting silly. . . .until I can’t move or talk.