Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How Old Is Old?

Is 60 the new 40? Is 70 the new 50? So they say.

When I was turning 48 years old, I met a lady who was in her 80's. She was stylish, contemporary, interesting, well read, and was still traveling the world.

I met her at my church; we found we had many things in common and became close friends. In fact, she had a great deal to do with shaping the next 15 years of my life--for the better, I might add. She recognized my potential and encouraged me to venture out into a leadership role in my community and she loved witnessing my success.

I remember her telling me how young she felt and that the mental picture she had of herself was much younger than her 80+ years.

I loved being in her company and, she, in mine. We often lunched together after church on Sundays (while Jim was at work) and talked several times each week on the phone. I learned so much from Itha. She passed away last year, in her late 90's. She lived life as fully as any woman possibly could.

The years have passed with lightening speed and I'm now in my mid-sixties, attemping to define age as it pertains to myself and other women.

*** How old is old?

32 comments:

Barbara said...

My mother used to say that you're as old as you feel.

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I was just getting ready to say that...as old as you feel!

Karen (KayKay) said...

I hope that you two are right and that you are only as good as you feel. I am almost 50 and trying to redefine myself as a middle aged, empty nester. I would love to be just like the woman that you described.

Barbara said...

Daydreams- I think most women feel young forever.

Barbara said...

Karen- I can ASSURE you that the BEST DAYS OF YOUR LIFE are just ahead. Rejoice and enjoy these next years!!!

Pat's Place said...

Well, I am also in my mid-60s and don't feel nearly that old. And my mother is in her mid-90s and often marvels that she has lived nearly a century--and lived it well. Guess age is really a matter of perception!

Barbara said...

Pat- I am so happy that I did not reject women of "age" when I was younger. If I had stayed just within my age group, I would have missed a fuller life, indeed.

Cheryl Ann said...

Excellent question! My godmother lived to be in her 90's and she hiked up in the mountains, kept playing her piano, and taught at a private music school for YEARS! My own grandmother lived to be 100. I hope to follow in her footsteps and I try to be optimistic at all times!

Joanne said...

I sometimes think "old" is a frame of mind. Some people in their 30s and 40s act old, as though much of life is done, and I don't understand that mindset. Like so much else, mind over matter plays a great role.

Barbara said...

Cheryl Ann- What great women you had as examples! If only all women had that kind of enthusiasm!!

I hope you'll blog about them sometime and let me know so I can read it.

Barbara said...

Joanne- Letting ourselves get discouraged should always be a "no-no"....NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP...no matter the age.

I think as long as we have a dream or goal or hobby, we stay young. Not having a dream is the surest way to "old age."

heather said...

Old is when you stop doing and trying new things, when you stop learning and stop challenging yourself. Old is for sure a mental thing.

Barbara said...

Heather- You are so right. I hope to be right there in the "thick of things" as long as I have breath...and wearing my "red high heels" too.

JD said...

Good question...I used to like my step-father's answer to this question. "Old is 10 years older than your age"...He said that to me when he was 90, so he thought at that time 100 was old...smile...He lived a full 92 years and always seemed much younger than his age.

Barbara said...

JD- Oh, that is so funny and probably so true!!

I used to think 60 was real old, but now it seems so young!! Just depends on where one is in life.

Janna Qualman said...

I'm 30, and it's been big for me. The older I get, the better I get to know myself. The more I see myself as a woman, one with aspirations and worth and character.

Here's to aging with charm!

Barbara said...

Janna- You go girl! You have so much to offer the world. Dream, believe, and reach!!

manker said...

age is a number... tho somedays in the dead of winter it's a test :) I'm doing more now at 50-something than i did at 30

blessings all
gp in montan a

Barbara said...

Manker- I absolutely agree. When I was 30, I never dreamed that I would do all the things I've done since then. I would have thought someone was out of their mind, if they had predicted it!!!! Instead of going down hill, it all seemed to open up at 50. What a great ride!!!

Sassy Granny ... said...

I'm now 61, and I just have to say that life is absolutely, stupendously wonderful! When I was 25,I thought 35 was ancient; and 50 decrepit. I'm thinking 70 sounds pretty young!

Barbara said...

Kathleen- I'm so glad to hear you say that! I totally agree. Life is wonderful now and getting better all the time!!!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Sassy Granny - 70 is still young. My body does not always listen to my mind but summer will make that better. I still ride my horses, work in the barn and other stuff involving our critters. When I was 50 I had a mental breakdown and when I recovered I have been so much healthier and optomistic than I was before. Life is good and I am loving living. My mother was old at 60 and complained. I won't letmyself get that way. I could write a book (well not really) about all the stuff those bad years did to me. Age is just a number.

Barbara said...

Lea- I think you are a very strong lady and I would love to hear your story of strength.

Pistolmom said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Angela Recada said...

I've been thinking about this post since I first read it yesterday! Age is a state of mind, isn't it? My maternal grandmother lived to be 96, and for most of that time she said she felt so much younger. Only when she'd tell me stories of her life did it dawn on her how long ago some of her adventures had taken place.

My mother, now in her 70s, still sounds like a spunky young woman on the phone. She has survived cancer twice and keeps herself (and my 80-something father) young and healthy with lots of exercise and a very, very healthy diet.

I've always been drawn to older women as my friends. I love their wisdom and wit, and how their faces have softened. Even actresses I never much cared for seem so much more beautiful and interesting as they hit their 50s, 60s and beyond.

You were truly blessed to have such a wonderful friend, and to be able to share so many years of friendship with her. She was lucky she found you, too!

Barbara said...

Angela- Thank you for your wonderful comments about the women and men in your life. It is the wise one, indeed, who values and honors a person, even after physical beauty has faded. Blessings.

Becca said...

Age is only a number, it is all about how you feel. I am almost 45 and glad I am still here.

Patty said...

Our one daughter says it's just a number. But I say some days that number really makes me feel old, some days not. Then I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I know I'm getting older each day. Sometimes when my grown kids like to aggravate me, they tell me I'm as old as dirt. Now that is old. LOL Some people tell me I don't look my age, but I think they are just being kind. But it still all comes down to the fact, your as old as you feel. And some days I feel ancient. Time to start supper for the four of us. Have a good evening and a wonderful rest of the week. Oh by the way, I was born in 1936.

Barbara said...

Becca- 45 years old...you have so much more life to live. Grab each day and make it yours. There's so many exciting things ahead of you.

Judy said...

I loveeess this story! Thanks for sharing it. :)

Barbara said...

Patty- You look great. I think that says alot about how you feel about yourself.

Barbara said...

Judy- I loved sharing the story and remembering my dear friend. She was a true inspiration.