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Wendy Green

Chose Not to Grow Old

The phrase “Don’t trust anyone over 30” was coined back in the 60’s during the Free Speech Movement at UC-Berkley.  It became a rallying cry for a while.  And then suddenly, we were over 30. And then we were over 40, over 50, over 60…

Yet in many ways, we do not see ourselves as old. Until we look in the mirror and notice the wrinkles around our eyes, or the extra skin around our necks or the graying or loss of hair.  However, I would venture to say that we are not old in the same way that we experienced our grandparents aging.

Did you ever see your grandmother in a pair of jeans?  Unlikely. I remember my mother used to dress me in what she called my “college girl dress.”  I don’t think I ever wore a dress in college! It is more likely that we will be rocking out on a guitar or to a favorite song, than rocking away on a rocking chair.

I would like to propose that there are benefits to growing older, but not growing old.  Senior discounts are nice. I read about a sign in a health food store that stated, “Please let us know if you are chronologically gifted in order to receive a discount.” Don’t you love that? CHRONOLOGICALLY GIFTED.

We are gifted in other ways through the process of aging, but not growing old. With some of the physical limitations some of us are experiencing, we are learning to accept ourselves more completely. Doesn’t mean that we stop doing things we used to love doing. It means that we may do them differently, with more appreciation really that we are still able to do some of the things. 

Older couple kayaking

I am sure we have all experienced what has become commonly referred to as “senior moments.” When we become aware of this happening, it can be a bit scary. It can also allow us to laugh at ourselves a little more easily. We no longer have to be “perfect,” but we are good and that is a gift.

There is also a wisdom of what I will call, ripening. Imagine a young plant, pushing through the earth, struggling to grow tall, find the sun, produce fruit. As the fruit begins to ripen, there is a settling of the sugars into the fruit, the colors of the fruit evolve and blend. I see this in older adults also. We worked hard as young adults, building careers, families, relationships. As we move into a new stage of life, I have noticed that many of us seem to mellow. We start to be able to integrate some of the gentleness that we may have had to quiet while we were finding our place in the world. We become more open to learning about who we really are, all parts of us and become more whole, more ripe.

I would answer the question, “Do we have to grow old?” with a resounding NO.

aging2

We have to age. How we age is a choice. I have outlined above some of my ideas about growing while we age, growing more accepting of ourselves and others, growing in our ability to laugh at ourselves more easily, growing in our personal and collective wisdom.

Go forth BOOMERS (and beyond) to full lives. Choose to not grow old!

8 Responses

  1. Growing older is a privilege that many don’t get to enjoy. I see that truth around me with friends passing onto the next realm. We are here. Now. In this realm. And to not enjoy what we have is foolish. My hiking buddy noticed that I was intelligent and brought a hiking stick with me yesterday as we walked along a snow-covered path up here in Vermont. My hip had been painful; thus the stick for stability. She mentioned that it’s a shame I was in discomfort. I retorted that it was wonderful that I still had that hip.
    It’s all in our attitudes. Wendy, I would add to your comment that growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional. And now I shall let Alexa play some 70’s Motown for me to dance to as I make my morning coffee.

    1. Ah, CJ, another great reminder that I could have included in the blog. “Growing older is mandatory. Growing up is optional.”
      You go rock out to that 70’s music. We should have a dance party one of these days. 🙂

  2. I agree with what you shared, Wendy especially about not realizing we are older till we look in the mirror. I find myself doing that and it is hard sometimes to accept but know it is the path that has to occur, but versus dwelling on it, just live our life and have gratitude for each day. Finding joy and doing tasks I enjoy helps me too during these times currently and is my focus for my future too. I do want to mention that I heard that we need to remove the word senior out of phrase senior moments which highlights our older age when in fact, everyone forgets things and it is not reflective of aging necessarily. Spending time with others of various ages keeps us young and integrates us with the new and they too learn from us. I hope to do more of that.

  3. well said :i am CG.. not old. please talk about isolation. is it part of protection or a ‘hardening of the attitudes? even though we zoom,there is the element of terminally unique. we may be feeiing. this is the first i have read of this blog. keep up the good ‘fight’. regards JK

    1. CG, Chronologically Gifted. Thanks for the acronym Kim. I will write about isolation. That is an interesting question you pose about protection or hardening of attitude. Would be curious about your perspective. Thanks for your comments!

      1. well,wendy.like the division in the usa ,it seems my older friends do not question or research their positions. to continue to grow and learn ,isnt reading part of that? becoming open to new info seems like the key to staying fun.some of us are a serious lot, arent we?! love your writing too!

  4. Well said, Wendy! Your Mom and Don are great examples of successful aging
    Granted, some is due to good genes but tenacity and curiosity are important factors as well. And of course, attitude!

    W

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