One of my most popular posts was dated from 2012, “With all due respect, I am fucking scared of getting old“. It has struck a nerve and attracted comments from folks who feel helpless against the relentless forward march of time and, I suspect, the world’s time-honored obsession with and worship of youth.
Almost five years later, I can’t say the same any more since the time has arrived, I’d say by whatever objective, social standards, people of my age would be labeled as “old”. It’s more like “I am fucking scared of being found out how old I am” and all the judgements that I could expect. My long, purple hair for one.
A couple of years ago a small boy yelled out as he threw a ball to a smaller boy standing near me, “Hey, dummy, tell that old lady to watch out.”
What? What lady? Old? I’m not vain or unrealistic. For the last twenty years my mirror seems to have reflected — correctly — a woman getting older, not a woman old. Grace Paley, Just As I Thought (1999)
The other night though it dawned on me that when I am 80, or maybe even as early as 70, I will no longer have to worry about what others think of me. I can say whatever the heck I want. For starters, I will be able to tell people in real life about this blog and my Twitter account, if I feel like it. I can do whatever I want (to the extent that my joints will allow me). I can finally be free… to be me.
This revelation is liberating. I am now looking forward to getting old.
When I am 80, I will be “cute” and “adorable” instead of “trying too hard”. I can proclaim with confidence, like Betty White, “I am a teenager trapped in an old body.” I am giddy at the prospect of giving people a piece of my mind. Or two. I am giddy at the prospect of living for myself, for once for fuck’s sake.
Of course my dastardly fast-working mind is already chastising me for having to wait until then. Why can’t you be you now? What’s wrong with you?
STFU mind. If it were that easy I would have done so a long time ago. This is called hope. HOPE.