Monday, August 7, 2017

Crisis Averted


I can't even say the number. In a few months, I leave my fifties. Forever. And enter uncharted waters. All year I've been agonizing over this passage. I haven't mentioned my dread to anyone because it's that serious. Existential.

My fear is not simply growing older but, more importantly, losing the opportunity to be young. Active, adventurous, animated. I don't want to give that up for a dreary future of early dinners, AARP and cultural irrelevance. I don't want to be a sexagenarian.

Fortunately, I've come to my senses. I realize that I'm still in control of my destiny. The real determinant of my future -- my own choices -- is helping me avoid a crisis.

When I was 39, I faced a similar situation. I feared 40 meant the end of my youth. After deliberation I reacted to the event positively: I took stock of my life, fixed what was wrong and steered toward happiness. It's not a coincidence that that is when I started riding motorcycles, a passion which has enriched my life for twenty years.

What bothers me about turning... um... the next number is its common association with old age. Senior discounts, retirement, Medicare... I'm not ready for that. I want to continue my exploits, not slow down.

I plan to do that. And my sustained efforts to maintain vitality over the past decade are paying off. I feel physically fitter than I did ten years ago. Since 2010 I've made vast strides moving toward a more authentic life. I added several good friends and deepened my personal connection to everyone I care about. I even squirreled away some money with smart investments. In short, I've made good choices and their benefits will be reaped in the future. So what am I worried about?

I suppose my fear is foolish; the thing that needs to change is my outlook. Society won't define my future; I will. As long as I remain curious, eager and open to life, I can live my way and that will be satisfying.

Whew!

Have you ever worried about your age? How'd you handle it?



36 comments:

  1. I'm getting close to that 39 year situation, myself. I've been contemplating this milestone for awhile and wish we could look at ourselves like a fine wine, getting better with age. For now, I will continue to tell myself that I'm only as old as I feel on my very best days. Stay young at heart, friend! :)

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  2. I lied about my age for a long time until I realized that I was the only one who cared. A senior discount just means that it can cost less to have fun.

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    1. That's spinning it in a positive way!

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  3. I felt a bit like this when I turned 50. Then a bunch of other stuff happened and it made turning 50 a cake walk. Nothing like crisis to refocus a person's energy and change their perspective.

    This was wonderfully written.

    What I found was that turning 50 was just another day. Every day needs to be valued for what it has to offer.

    The more emphasis we put on our expectations for the day the more chances we have of being disappointed.

    Relax and let it flow through you.

    bisous
    Suzanne

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    1. You're right. The problem -- and the solution -- lies in our perspective.

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  4. We fear growing older only when we fear not having lived honestly and truthfully as ourselves having taken advantage of opportunities given to us. My life began at 50 when I finally became myself...

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    1. Absolutely. When I started living more authentically in my fifties, I feared dying because I also felt like I was just beginning to live and didn't want that to end.

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  5. I understand your fear. But, you are processing it the right way I think and I also think that if you want to keep up doing all those things, then do it. That phrase is kind of true, you're only as old as you feel. It's cliche, but I think it's true.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. Some cliches are true.

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  6. I'm watching all my slightly older peers for clues on how to be----thanks for continuing to be dynamic and visible and adventurous as u get older and sharing it with me (us).

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    1. Well... I'm NEVER slowing down! I keep wanting to move faster and further.

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  7. I'm turning 50 in a couple of months, and have been going through a similar angst-ridden period of introspection. Yes, it's just a number, but it's a BIG number and I need to figure out what it means to me. Perspective is good. Hugs to you!

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    1. Thanks, Sheila. Good luck to you, too.

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  8. When Sergeant Pepper by the Beatles came out I never thought I would realize "When I'm 64". Now that is in my rear view mirror. I view my current condition like the old "Timex" commercials. IT TAKES A LICKING BUT KEEPS ON TICKING".

    Pat

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    1. I get both of those cultural references! I remember hearing that song and thinking I'll NEVER be 64.

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  9. These milestones are a great reminder to take stock and make sure you are living the way you want to. It is a processing time. Be grateful for it.
    But if course it also reminds us that we are mortal, and that takes some processing.
    Some life left in you yet my friend!
    One day this will seem young. xo Jazzy Jack

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  10. You said the word: curiosity.
    I was a bit concerned when I turned 40 and then I just thought: there is nothing I can do here but enjoy the ride. I think its fabulous that you have accomplished so much and that you are able to enjoy it. A big hug for you Ally and for the many many years to follow.

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    1. Thanks, Lorena. Having caring friends like you at my side makes it bearable.

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  11. They say you are only as old as you feel - I know people in their 50's, 60's and 70's that live life like they are decades younger - it is their attitude and they don't let a number rule how they should feel. I hope to be like that when I get older - I think aging and getting to celebrate loads of birthdays is a gift :) Milestone birthdays are extra special and I hope yours is wonderful.

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  12. I've never had any problems with milestone birthdays yet and in fact I found turning 50 quite liberating. Don't know how I'll feel for the next one in a couple of years time. They say you're only as old as you feel, so embracing life and all its perks (including the senior discounts!) is the way to go. Hugs to you! xxx

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  13. A thoughtful and nuanced post on aging... yes, I hear you ! You are in ocntrol though, and your wise choices, and cumulative life experiences have actually put you in a sweet spot, as I see it. I think you are more
    comfortable with who you are now, would you want to go back in time? You have plenty of energy and vitality and look youthful.
    I turn 59 next week, maybe I too shall feel this way, the next number is a big one, and does feel, um different, when I say it aloud. But it is what is inside and vital about us., that keeps us young.
    You life life with a notably adventurous spirit, that is youth in a nutshell, with out the silly mistakes of the numerically, biologically young...
    Xx, Elle
    http://www.theellediaries.com/blog/

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    1. You're right about where I am. I wouldn't return to the past. Happy Birthday!

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  14. I think you have a such a great plan for getting older- and doing so DOES NOT mean you have to slow down! :)

    -Ashley
    Le Stylo Rouge

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  15. I'm facing the same number in a coupla months, too... and feeling a lot of the same existential angst about it. What to do? I don't know. Just what you're doing, I guess. Think about it, talk about it (rarely, I admit!). Remind myself that some dear ones never saw 5-0 and others are dealing with health challenges that mean reaching the big 6-0 is at the top of their so-called bucket list--and it's a stretch goal, at that. Yikes. From their perspective, it would be unthinkable not to celebrate the very milestone that from my perspective seems a bit melancholy, at best. Ah well. Onward!

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    1. You identify our mixed emotions well. Thanks.

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  16. Listen, my sweet friend, you are LIVING.

    And you have a wonderful attitude about all of it. I think I've been worried about the process of aging for so long but ultimately, we just can't ever truly fight it. It'll get us all eventually--if we are so fortunate.

    I love your attitude and you have so much spunk and grit and chutzpah and life and wisdom to impart--and anyway, age ain't nothing but a number, right?! ;) you look mahvelous! Xoxo

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    1. Thanks, Charlotte. I value your support.

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  17. You are the youngest nearly sexagenarian I know!!!!

    At 54 I already get pensioner discounts because I sport a head of grey hair ... I'm happy to get that discount.

    I love your take on this and thank you for sharing!!!!

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    1. Thank you. It was when my hair turned grey a few years ago that I started getting thought of as old. In reality, nothing else changed about me.

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  18. I adore this post - this self awareness in you. Ok don't punch me on this one but take my grandma's advice. Hold the age in your heart that you most felt alive. For her, it was 25. So that was what she told everyone. She was 25. Do you know that at the...OK...also do not punch me...at the time she passed, we did not know what her real age was because of this. She had ALL DIFFERENT birthdays on her IDs. Her tombstone was a different birthdate. Why? She told my oldest aunt that she didn't want people to know she was that old when they were standing over her grave. What. A. Shit.
    I laugh. And laugh. And. Laugh.
    Anyways, I am so glad to have met you in this blogsphere. You have a good heart and I know that an age isn't going to change who you truly are. Sure it'll be scary to check off things during checkouts and whatnot but really, you are you and that's magnificent.

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    1. What a colorful character your grandma was. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. I'm inching closer to the 30. I don't even feel like an adult, much less a 30 year old.

    But age is just a number. You can choose to fall into the trap of being old, or you can keep yourself stimulated. Like you have chosen. Mindset is really important.

    Someone else's 50 probably doesn't look like motorcycles and photo shoots and traveling. So who's to say your 60 has to involve mushy vegetables and daytime soaps.

    But hey, don't hate on the early dinner - just means you can eat again before bedtime.

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    1. *smile* Yes, I guess there are perks to my age. :-)

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