Aging My Way

Last week my husband turned 62 years old; a day later a good friend turned 73.  That leaves me shaking my head and going “WTH” – how is that even possible?  I may be a little bias but I think we are pretty fun for old people!  We lost my grandparents on my father’s side early; grandpa while I was still in high school and then grandma when I was in my early 20’s.   Yet I remember thinking “well, they were old; they lived a good life.”  Looking back, that was crazy!  My grandfather had just turned 70 and grama lived to be 71.  But at the time, they had been spending winters in Florida for several years and weekends in the summer at their cottage on the lake.  Which thankfully they had because they really didn’t live long at all.  Is my change in perspective all part of aging; or is 80 the new 60?  I definitely think that 60 is the new 40!

Enjoying the water slides on vacation this past February. What a blast!

I’m sure it helps that we spend time with couples that are younger than us.  At the same time, we have a lot of friends in their late 60’s and they can party with the best of them.  It probably doesn’t hurt that they were 70’s teens; former band members and they’ve always known how to have a good time.  I’ve made a point of showing my kids that adults still want to have fun too.   Probably one of my greatest fears is that people stop including me because I’m too old.  You know “no sense in inviting Grama and Grampa to the party; they’re no fun.”  I guess I always thought that somehow; your thoughts, wants and needs totally changed when you got “old”.  In reality I’m learning that for the most part, I feel the same inside today as I have for my whole life.  I just look different on the outside and move a lot slower.  

When Scott & I starting seeing each other, I quickly learned that if I were to become an Oswalt I would need to be able to drink coffee; all day.  Come on in; have a cup of coffee at 4:30 p.m.  It was also going to be much easier if I liked to drink beer.  If you arrived at his parent’s house after that 4:30 p.m. coffee hour then it was probably time for a beer or glass of wine.  Scott and his dad both like(d) beer.  Not several but just a beer after a long hard day at work.   We had a lot of fun playing cards with his parents and having a beer or two.  Those were times we all enjoyed and gave us a lot of great memories.    

Growing up on home-made wines and hard cider I never had an interest in beer.  At the same time, I’ve found the beer market has totally changed since the days of my youth.  It’s a challenge to stock the store with traditional beers and have room to bring in the next new thing. Up until Scott got sick, we enjoyed going to the local brew pub.  It was fun supporting the local young entrepreneurs by being part of the mug club.  Let’s face it, not all of them live up to the hype but there are a lot of really good ones out there.  So many interesting flavor combinations to try out.  The other bonus is that they typically pack a punch and who can complain about a good bang for your buck. 

Not to say that partaking in alcohol will guarantee that you stay fun, I’m just saying it was part of our relaxation routine.  Dinner out and a drink.  Drinks with friends.  A drink together after work.  Scotts had to step away from that altogether, and I’ve found myself almost eliminating it.  I might have a drink but for the most part it I feel like I am on duty most of the time and I can’t risk not being fully alert.  As the years go by, I find my stomach is less tolerant than before but I still enjoy the buzz that a few drinks will bring.  We will see if it finds it’s way back into our lives after his recovery. 

I’m blaming the language barrier for the size of these drinks at Senior Frogs in Mexico!

Moving to the farm meant some other changes for me.  Not only did it mean relocating after 50 years of living in the same small community, it meant adjusting to working from home.  No more dress clothes.  Fashion was never my strong suit so I was glad to close that door.  No more make-up.  Then we bought the store.  My hair has to be long enough to pull up.  Getting ready for work means brushing my teeth and hair and a quick scrub of my face with a cool washcloth.  Pull my hair up in a pony tail and maybe a fun headband.  Ready to go in fifteen.  I’ve never been one to have an extensive beauty regiment; wash my face with water, follow up with Avon Nurtura.  Now with the store, between the moisture and the grease, I’m pretty naturally moisturized.   Going out means showering so I don’t smell like fried chicken and I’m good to go.  It never fails; if I wear any make-up, I end up rubbing my eyes or laughing until tears ruin my eye make-up.  Why bother.   

In a world where young people are coming up with all kinds of things to get noticed, I’m at a point in my life where I would prefer to just blend in.  I don’t need buzzed hair, colored hair or a shocking wardrobe.  The other day I saw a young person wearing plastic elf ear extensions.  I’m hearing stories of kids wanting special accommodations at school because they identify with being cats.  To only be young again – I say hell no!  I’ve earned my badges and I wouldn’t trade them for the world and certainly not for a second chance to be young again.   

I think getting older doesn’t mean turning into old people; it means you have earned the right to exercise your wants and needs.  We don’t need to party until we puke any more.  We still might do that occasionally but now it’s nothing to brag about.  Been there, done that.  Now “partying” means wanting to achieve maximum relaxation.  Finding balance.  Go where I want to go, be with who I want to be with.  Dress for comfort and spend time with people who like me for who I am.  I feel like I’ve spent a lifetime working my way to the people I want to spend my wonder years with. 

Our wisdom helps us to better navigate situations when we are older.  Let’s face it, by then, we’ve had so much “stuff” happen to us that we can draw on the experiences of our mistakes and mishaps.  We are nearing the end of experimenting and focusing on what we enjoy.    I don’t need to try on plastic elf ears or wear my pants half-way down my ass to get people to notice me.  I’m pretty comfortable going about my business with my out of style clothes with grease stains, no make-up and hair in a pony tail.  That’s my fashion statement. 

Humor me.  Invite your parents or grandparents to your next party.  You might be surprised how much they can add.  And next time you think your grandmother is going to Florida to sit around and knit you an afghan and drink orange juice, think again.  Don’t let her fool you into thinking she missed a stitch or two because she’s getting old and isn’t as sharp as she used to be; she might have just had one too many cocktails with her friends!

Salute! Living the dream life on our annual sunny vacation with friends.

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