When we pass the torch, do we diminish our fire? Does the glow of relevance we fueled as an entrepreneur, employee, spouse, or parent flicker and fade as we relinquish these roles?
You bet it does, was my initial response. Aging requires change; from toddlers to puberty to independence and often parenthood, to empty nesters. Its logical that retirement age is yet another transition, but perhaps it’s the hardest. Instead of gaining curves and muscle, an education, a paycheck, and building a family, we begin to shed these things.
Active retirees still workout, but even that can stir our memory and smack our ego as hot bods’ lift, grunt, and stretch out limber limbs with taut skin and tan lines in the stations next to us. We can fight midriff bulge, but gravity only surrenders to the cuts and stitches of a well-paid plastic surgeon. Crepe isn’t something used to decorate the homecoming hall anymore. It applies to skin at our elbows and knees. We get to settle for qualifiers; “You look great, for your age.” Swell.
There’s an upcharge for aged beef, bourbon, wine and cheese. Vintage cars are sought after because they’re rare which equates to expensive. Are there too many of us over sixty to qualify as antiques? Have we diluted our demographic pool by living longer than any generation before us?
And…gender equality is right off the aging stage. Older men gain distinction as they look beyond their female counterparts to women a decade, or two or three, younger. So, where does that leave the over sixty women, especially when single? Too often struggling to zip our dresses and fasten bracelets single handedly.
On a personal note, I wondered where does all this leave me? I’m still active, healthy and full of adventure. I recently turned seventy, but somehow my mind didn’t settle on entering my seventh decade. It rumbled, “In ten years you’ll be eighty. Eighty! Holy S#8T.”
I wallowed in that for a couple of months and then rallied to reality. I’d already wasted moments worried about turning eighty instead of enjoying memories of yesterday, today and planning adventures for tomorrow. I had a real showdown with the part of me afraid to grow old, to turn that corner. Every twenty-something hotty out there will turn seventy someday…if she’s as lucky as I am.
This is not a shedding, flickering to fade surrender. Hell no! It’s a determination to charge into the future with my hands full; passport, card to the gym, visa card, phone to stay tagged with friends and family…and Safari to Google a good nip and tuck doc if I get desperate, or better yet, a trusty travel agent. I like my new smile; it’s enhanced by time and my bright new torch.