Notes on Ageing
Do you remember the saying, “You are only as old as you feel”?
This adage resonates strongly with me — I recently celebrated my 64th birthday and I certainly don’t feel it! In fact, I feel the same as I did when I was in my mid-forties. This perception, known as subjective age perception (SAP), has been the subject of much research in recent years. The studies have shown that people who feel younger than their chronological age are more resilient, suffer from depression less and are happier than those who feel older than their years. Some research indicates that people with younger SAPs have a more youthful brain structure and better memory than people who have an older SAP. Bonus for me!
Of course, I am not oblivious to the physical signs of growing old: soft, saggy body parts, spidery lines at the corners of my eyes, wrinkled hands, veiny legs and, oh yes, a moustache! The irrefutable evidence of an ageing woman is all there, right in front of me.
These manifestations do not stress me (too much), I have never been enamoured of my own appearance — so it wasn’t difficult to accept these changes. Sometimes, though, when I look in the mirror, I admit that I must peer closely to recognize that the “old” woman looking back at me, is me!
While it is true that I don’t feel my age, I do realize that I am a different person than I was ten or twenty years ago. I have certainly changed in many ways, not only physically but emotionally as well. I am okay with those changes, because there are many reasons to love being me right now!
I have an abundance of patience. I worry much less about things I cannot control, and I find it easier to let go of small annoyances and petty grievances. I no longer “sweat the small stuff”. I have an easier time waiting for events to unfold — to trust in myself and believe everything will work out. I feel calm, centred, and relaxed. I enjoy my own company more than I used to.
I notice that my confidence level has risen as I have grown older. My feelings of self-worth and my belief in my strengths and abilities have deepened. I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I make good decisions and I am not afraid to make mistakes. I don’t fret about what others think of me and I am more accepting of other people. I am not so quick to judge, and I am more willing to understand and listen to different opinions. I am more willing to change my mind.
I feel liberated and fearless — determined to live my best life on my own terms. Right now, today, I feel invincible — strong, vibrant and alive. I want to hold on to these sensations for as long as possible.
But I am human, after all, and there are times when it hits me hard that I am in the second half of my life. I sometimes despair that I have let life pass me by and I wonder if I will be able to accomplish everything I want to. There are times when I feel invisible, incompetent, and useless. That’s when it strikes me that I am no longer young, and I experience fleeting moments of sadness that I have squandered precious time and there is no getting it back.
This is when I confront that “old” woman in the mirror and look past the wrinkles, dark circles and saggy skin through to the dynamic, passionate and powerful woman I have become. I look her straight in the eye as I repeat C.S. Lewis’ words: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
And that, my Fabulous Boomer Sisters, is a truth to live by — no matter your age!
This is great Cathy. I just completed an installation piece totally related to this idea. I’d love to share it with you on Zoom sometime.
It was inspired by a study somewhere that reported women saying they’re most content at seventy.
Congratulations on the site.
Thank you, Jude! I would love to have a zoom chat about your new installation piece. Can we schedule for early in the New Year? Where is it installed?