Tag Archives: growing old

Cha, cha, cha changes

Mirror quote

How many of you look in the mirror and think, boy, do I look great or what? Oh, I guess it would depend on when you look in the mirror. Frankly, in the mornings when I first get up and my hair is really going every which way and my eye bags are in full bloom, I look like a deranged chicken. But, once I’ve gotten the coffee ingested and the blood flowing I get a bit better. Then after a good face splash or two and make up on and  my hair more or less styled, I think, not bad, not bad at all. And once I get dressed and accessorized then check the view, it’s darn, I’m smoking hot. That feeling will last until I run into a mirror outside of my house (or any form of reflective glass). Suddenly, I’m faced with a stranger.  Who is that person wearing my clothes.

For a while on my Facebook page I had my Senior High School portrait (for you younger people, that would be a Senior Picture, we were much more formal then).  When I look at that girl, I think my, what a pretty girl she was. Look at that innocence; you can see her hopes and dreams just shining from her eyes.  When I look at pictures of my friends and classmates from that period, that is what I see in everyone.  We were beautiful children, every single one of us.  Oh, we laugh at our hairstyles and fashion choices of clothes, but that does not hide the beauty.

At that stage of our lives, we had not faced the losses and pain that would come in later years.  We girls had not borne children that gave us so much joy but wrecked havoc on our waistlines and tummies. Boys still had full heads of hair and only the beginnings of beards that would soon turn to comb-overs and fuzzy ears.  Our physical selves were at their peak or were soon to be.   Oh we whined about pimples, greasy foreheads and braces, but I think deep down in our barely formed psyches we knew we were all that and then some. School, ballgames, practice, date nights and all that goes with teenage years were embraced without a second thought.  We were young and we would always be young.

Young adulthood did not change us that much.  We got jobs, went to college, got married, had babies, joined the military, but did not grow older.  Pictures from those days still show young, beautiful people with their whole lives ahead of them.   We did have worries now other than grades and game scores, but the biggies were still ahead of us.  I look at pictures of me with Amanda and Luke as babies.  I was just a bit more than a little girl at that time, but I felt oh so adult.

In five short years, we had high school reunions.  Some of us were married and settled into what we thought would be our lives for ever.  Others had just graduated from college and were sure their future was a shining star just waiting to be reached, while still more of us were in the Adult World of Work and beginning to see what our parents had told us about real life.  But, still we were young and beautiful and could honestly tell each other, “You haven’t changed a bit!”

I’m not sure when time started to catch up with us.  That intriguing white streak that was so sexy in younger days became a full out epidemic converting our once lush  hair into a gray dull mess.  And that was if you were lucky enough to still have it.  Those healthy tans were no longer healthy looking.  That five pounds turned into five more and five more and well, you know the rest.   Those of you who have followed for a while remember our trip to Galveston.  Nort was telling one of our friends about it.  He said that one of the men said he was so disappointed when he first got there.  Instead of seeing a bunch of his 19 year old  buddies, there was a bunch of old fat men.

I think we have all at one time or another ran into some one we haven’t seen in years and wondered, boy does he/she look old.  What in the world happened?  I look so much younger!  Ooops.  If we could see into their minds, guess what they are thinking?  Yep, we really look old to others.

And then, just when we least expect it, guess what happens.  WE START GETTING YOUNGER AGAIN!  Yes, it’s true.  Think about it.  We are starting out on a new adventure!  So much to see, so much to do.  The Golden Years are called that for a reason.  Our children are grown.  They are adults now and while we will always love them and worry about them, the pressure is off.  If their behavior is not what we would like it to be, it is because of their choices. Job not great?  Who cares, going to retire soon anyway.  Never going to fit into your cheer leader outfit or your old Army uniform again?  Do you really want to anyway.   Should I care if purple eye shadow is not stylish, heck, I’ll wear it anyway.  Want to binge watch something on Netflix instead of mopping the floor.  Go ahead, your friends are doing the same thing.

One of the things I loved best when I turned 50 was realizing there was so much I didn’t have to do if I didn’t want.  I don’t have to answer the phone if I don’t feel like it, and I don’t need an excuse.  That is so liberating!  We can spoil our grandchildren (and who doesn’t) and not have to worry that we are going to make them horrible adults (that is their parent’s worry).  Laura and I were talking to our precious doggies (really, they are horrible doggies) in baby talk.  We never did that with our kids.  I commented on that.  Her response was “I don’t have to worry about Lucy having a speech problem because of how I talk to her.”  See, how much fun is that.

I have always loved to color, but there was frequently just too much that I HAD TO DO to be able to just sit down and color until my fingers cramped.  I even used to feel that I had to be doing something else while I watched television so that it was not time wasted.  Well, Laura got me a beautiful coloring book and guess what I do now.  Yep and I don’t make any apologies for it either.

Which, brings me back full circle.  Is there anything more beautiful than a face that has lived?  Our skin is softer and clearer than it ever was and wrinkles just show how much we have laughed over the years.  While our eyes may be behind bifocals, they sure do sparkle with remembered joys.  Bodies are now just perfect for cuddling little ones, be they human or furry and our laps are where children want to be.  We can embrace our salt and pepper or silver hair or we can go wild and crazy.  In fact, right now I am rocking a wonderful violet color that is just too much fun.  And don’t even pretend that a silver beard is not a thing of beauty.

Now when I see my family and friends I marvel at how beautiful they are now.  I don’t see years added, I see years lived.  There is not the self doubt and fear that seemed to develop into worry lines once we grew up enough to know there was so much we didn’t know and how scary the world can be.   Our lives have reached a point where they are OUR lives, not a life yet to be and that in itself is a beautiful thing.

Let’s Go Down Memory Lane

So, I was perusing my FaceBook feed, and another one of those “Do you remember this in your mother/grandmother’s kitchen” was on my news feed and my first thought was “Of course not, it was in my kitchen and I got it as a wedding present. Then there was a “Guess what this is” and of course, not only did I know what it was, I used it.  Who wouldn’t know what something so obvious was and why were these items only seen in a grandmother’s kitchen.  Oh, let’s see, probably someone called a Gen Xer or some such nonsense.  So, let’s recap, there people out there who are just gobsmacked that someone would know what a rotary telephone is (and how to use it) and think that the only way anyone would remember the classic Corning Ware Blue Cornflower Casserole would be from their grandmother’s kitchen. Oh. My. Goodness. They obviously do NOT belong to the Age of Gray.  Yes, we certainly are an exclusive club, albeit a very large club.  Well, we do have a club name anyway (Baby Boomers) though I don’t think a secret hand shake would help us recognize each other since most of our hands don’t work well enough for a regular hand shake. Hmmmmm, how about a quiz.  All of you should do just great since we have been bombarded of late with the Do You Remembers on FaceBook and emails and just about everywhere else one turns.   So, here goes.  DO YOU REMEMBER……

  1. How old did you have to be to dance to Duke of Earl on American Bandstand.
  2. How stunned you were to see what color Little Joe’s jacket was.  Bonus for knowing who Little Joe was and what was the jacket color.
  3. Who was Mr. Ed.
  4. Who was Doby Gillis’ best friend and who played him.
  5. Plop, plop, fizz, fizz referred to what product.
  6. You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with ___________.
  7. What was Sky King’s niece’s name.
  8. Who was Illya Kuryakin’s partner.
  9. Who sang “To Sir With Love”.  Bonus for knowing who played the character referred to in the song.
  10. What toothpaste had a beaver on it’s commercial.
  11. Why shouldn’t you go on Wolverton Mountain.
  12. Who was the villain on Underdog.
  13. What did the first Barbie wear.
  14. It’s my party and I’ll __________ if I want to.  Bonus for who sang these words.
  15. What did the bouncing ball on Mitch Miller do.
  16. Who made Freddy the Free Loader famous.
  17. I know nothing, nothing! was this character’s famous line.
  18. Who was a knight without armor in a savage land.
  19. What did Tom Terrific wear on his head.
  20. What was Flipper.

********

  1. 16
  2. Ben Cartwright’s son, the jacket was green
  3. A talking palomino horse (Oh Willlburrrrr).
  4. Maynard G. Krebs played by Bob Denver (yep, Gilligan himself)
  5. Alka Seltzer
  6. Pepsodent
  7. Penny
  8. Napoleon Solo (Illya was the cutest wasn’t he)
  9. Lulu, Sidney Poitier
  10. Ipana (Bucky Beaver)
  11. Clifton Clowers has a pretty young daughter and he’s pretty handy with a gun and knife
  12. Simon Bar Sinister (He was always kidnapping Polly Purebred)
  13. Black and white striped strapless bathing suit
  14. Cry, Leslie Gore
  15. Bounced on words so you could sing along with Mitch
  16. Red Skelton
  17. Hans Schultz on Hogan’s Heros
  18. Paladin played by Richard Boone on Have Gun – Will Travel
  19. A funnel
  20. A dolphin (this may be why so many of our generation really dig these mammals)

Now wasn’t that fun.  I bet you have just as many bits and pieces of our history just floating around in your head taking up all sorts of room you could be using to learn what in the world your grandchildren mean when they talk about a bae, or is it bay.  Don’t ask me, my head is full of useless knowledge.

Have I hit middle age yet?

Since this is called the Age of Gray, let’s talk about aging gracefully. Do we? Should we? How? I remember that my grandmother (my mother’s mother), Ruthie, DID NOT AGE. I don’t mean that she did not grow older, but according to her, she did not age. In fact, other than having birthdays, she did not acknowledge that she grew older. She fought it tooth and toenail. In fact, she fought it so hard, that it was not until she had great-grandchildren that she even allowed herself to be called by any name that hinted at being a grandmother. Don’t get me wrong, she was a wonderful grandmother. My siblings and I could not have asked for a more doting grandmother, but when I was born, she told my mother that she was entirely too young to be a grandmother and that she would not be called Grandmother, Granny, Grandma or anything like that. She would consent to Granmere (as long as it sounded French) or Momma Ruth. Daddy, bless his contrary heart, told his mother-in-law that his daughter had a momma and henceforth she could be Ruthie or Grandmother. Since I refereed to her as Ruthie, you can see what won out. (Now Daddy’s mother wore her age proudly and was Mamaw. In fact she and her sister, Aunt Pearl, were twins and both of them lived to ripe old ages and since they were born in 1900 it was so easy to know how old they were. I’ve always thought that was the coolest year to be born in.)

And since we know that I am prone to digress, here is a classic Ruthie not being old story. My grandfather, Sam (heck if she was Ruth, he of course had to be Sam since she was way too young to be married to a Grandfather!), died when all of us kids were grown and had children of our own. She began to be courted by a wonderful man named George. She did not tell mother or us about George, so Laura and I kind of found out by accident. We stopped by to see Ruthie one day and there was this man in her house. Without any hesitation at all she introduced us. “Linda, Laura, this is my friend George. George, this is Linda and Laura, I’ve known them their whole lives.” To our credit we did not correct his assumption that we were just girls she knew. It was some time later before George ever knew we were in fact grandchildren.

Family lore has it that when my Great-Grandmother (Momma Polly, hmmm guess that is where she got it) died, according to the obituary in the paper, she was younger than her oldest son. My great-aunt (Sister, NEVER Cora, or Aunt Cora) would get furious anytime someone tried to find out how old she was. So, I come from a line of age deniers.

Until we get to my mother. My mother relished her age. She never lied about her age. She could not wait to be a grandmother and proudly told anyone and everyone about her grandchildren. But, she was not a Grandmother. She was Mammy. My daughter is the oldest grandchild and that is what she started calling her. And to Amanda, Ruthie was Granny.

Now we get to my sister and me. One reason that Ruthie could get by with her silliness, and actually Sister as well, is they were genetically programed to not look their age for a long time (eighties hit us hard though). Laura and I got those wonderful genes. And since we have laughed at our elders too often, it would be rather bad of us to lie about our ages. We all know what karma can be. I’ve had silver streaks since I was in my late twenties. Laura has glitter (her words) in her hair that is beautiful. Other than the Barber (thanks Daddy) eye bags, we don’t really wrinkle as much as we should seeing as how we were of the Sun Baby generation. Don’t get me wrong, even as vain as I am, I don’t think I can pass for a twenty, thirty or even forty something. And if anyone asks, I tell them my actual, true age. (Except when I hit 35, 45, 55 and I assume I’ll do the same when I hit 65. Something about that 5 just gets to me. I was 36 twice, 44 twice and 56 twice. See, I’m even fairly fair about that). However, I will probably cry the first time someone says, “Gee, I thought you were older than that”.

I think that our society is not so focused on people acting a certain way as we age. The day of the matronly, sedate grandparent is over. We don’t automatically dress in somber tones, stay at home, and begin to die once we hit fifty or sixty. Grandmothers and grandfathers are still vital and active. Check out the AARP magazine. Do you tell people your true age (and not just to get the senior discount)? Are you truly embracing the Age of Gray? What bother’s you most about growing older, the physical changes or something else? We keep hearing that 60 is the new 40, so when should I have my mid-life crisis, 60 or 80? Gee, I’m giving myself a headache thinking all these deep thoughts. I think I’ll fix another cup of coffee and go sit on the couch and rest a bit.

Welcome to the Age of Gray

My name is Linda and just by having that name, I am pegged as a Baby Boomer. Was anyone named Linda after 1960? I think it may be against the law, but don’t quote me on that. (In my class there were four Lindas, two Malynda/Melindas and two Belindas. 8 out of 26 girls. That is approximately 1/3, see a trend here?) I am married to the love of my life and I’ve lived long enough to know that. I have two wonderful children and one perfect (actually she is, really, don’t argue with me, I know your grandchildren are perfect too) granddaughter. I have friends who have loved me long enough to qualify as life-long friends. I have seen marvels and miracles. Why in the world am I attempting a blog at my advance age? Sixty-three if you know me (and actual chronological age), forty-four (how I feel) if you don’t. Well, I love to read other people’s blogs, hints and tips (Pinterest anyone?) and then get all depressed because virtually none of them are blogs, hints and tips (yes you Pinterest) really relate to me, my life and most of all, my age. Seeing beauty tips from twenty somethings who think they invented eye-liner. Wonderful meal tips on how to get your three year old to try something new. How to keep a house clean when you have toddlers. What to do with all those Legos your kids collect. Hints on creams and exercises to keep wrinkles at bay from some young woman who has not hit thirty yet. Deep sigh. Surely I am not the only Baby Boomer who has wondered if they need to just crawl onto their ice floe and drift away to the polar bears.

Short aside here. Mother told my sister and me about how native Alaska Indians (can’t remember if they were Eskimos or not) when they reached an age they were no longer of use to the village, would tie a salmon around their necks, sit down on an ice floe, and just drift off to the polar bears. Now mind you, we didn’t know if it was true and our parents did live in Alaska for several years, but we took it to heart. Any time Mother or Daddy would start giving us grief about what we were doing wrong with our lives, children, jobs or you name it, we would start telling them we were taking them back to Alaska, finding a salmon and well, you get the drift.

Everyone, ie. the media, tells us that sixty is the new forty and we boomers are just hitting middle age. Well, I don’t know about you, but I sure as heck don’t intend to live to be 126. I know realistically that I am not middle-aged, but I am also not living with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Oh dear, I am dredging up such ancient sayings aren’t I? I want to be able to read about other women who have experience with face creams that can actually relate to me. How do you keep a neat house when all you want to do is sit on the couch, drink coffee and watch the Today Show and then later binge on some guilty pleasure TV show? What do I do to take an old tried and true menu plan I did for my family when there were four of us and make it just for two? Where do I find fashionable clothing that does not make me look like Delta Dawn?

Okay, another digression. This past Halloween, for our annual Halloween Party I decided to dress as something other than menacing, so I went with a pretty pink princess them. My wonderful and talented sister (shout out to Laura) made me a perfect pink tutu out of tulle. I had a pretty pink knit top, a pretty pink crown, pretty pink tights and shoes and of course, jewels to go with the whole outfit. Make up to match. In my mind’s eye, I was a pretty pink princess. I pranced. I greeted. I played gracious hostess. I played games. I was lovely. Then, oh dear Lord, then I saw pictures. I was next to my pirate husband so there was no denying it was me. There, instead of a pretty pink princess, stood Delta Dawn. I can weep even now thinking of it. Next party, I’m back to being dark. I’m thinking a very old wise vampire.

Do you have similar problems and questions? Do you have the same stories to tell that I do? We are not our grandparent’s generation. We are not our parent’s generation. And we are not our children’s generation. But, we are relevant. We are the movers and shakers. We are the biggest and most progressive generation. We moved mountains. And, we are still relevant.

I don’t know where this blog will take me. I don’t know how long I will continue to have brilliant insightful comments. I don’t even know if anyone else cares or wants to read this. I guess in the long run, I am doing this for myself. If I want to rant about the ridiculous new trend of four bra straps showing, I can without driving everyone near me insane. I want to be able to snort out loud when an actress the age of my daughter tells me how she is keeping her youthful skin with such and such product. I want to shake with righteous indignation when the Helen Mirrens and Candice Bergen are described as an older actress instead of a beautiful talented actress.

If you are willing, I would love to have you stroll along with me. Tell me your stories. Tell me your fears. I want to hear what you remember of the Fifties. Were the Sixties really the height of music? Did you disco in the Seventies? Love shoulder pads in the Eighties? Let’s go boldly where no one has gone before. (Yep, let’s discuss Star Trek).