Tuesday, June 5


Old Hag or Young Woman?
Look at the image on the left. What do you see? It's an old hag--right? She is looking forward and down, with a white hood covering the side of her head and her brown bangs hanging over her eyes. The flesh colored triangular shape, bottom center, is her chin and the line above it is her mouth. 

Look again--now what do you see? It's a young woman--right? She is looking away from us, her brown hair is pulled up under a white scarf that is fashionably draped over the back of her head. The flesh colored triangular shape, bottom center, is her chest and she is wearing a brown ribbon choker.

Perhaps this is how many women (and men) perceive growing old. They look in the mirror and see an old hag and wonder what happened to the handsome young person that used to look back at them. I believe how we react to getting older is the true key to life-long happiness. The old hag exists only in our minds. She is actually an attractive woman whose face reflects a multitude of experience and wisdom. Old age is simply another destination on life's highway and the trip is merely another adventure to embrace.

On my recent birthday, I was reminded of the changing perception of that particular "number" as we age. My thirteen-year-old granddaughter called to wish me a happy birthday and asked me how old I am. I told her and, after a long pause, she blew out a breath.

"Wow!" she said. "I'm glad you're still alive."

I pulled out the book "I'm Still Me After All These Years" that hit the market last year. The anthology contain some wonderful insight into how other seniors are living life to the fullest and showing by example that age truly is only a number.

While re-reading "Still Me" I was reminded of an incident in my own life several years ago that may be relevant to what I am trying to say. My husband and I went out to dinner with another couple. The wife was actively NOT celebrating her birthday that day. She was bemoaning the fact that another year had passed and she was getting old.

I studied her as she talked about the extra five pounds she'd gained since her wedding day, her "poochy" tummy, and saggy double chin. (She looked great to me.) I knew she was older than I but, up until that moment, I had never been concerned with my age except when I couldn't wait to turn sixteen so I could get my driver's license.

I was hesitant to ask her age, she seemed so sensitive about it, but she opened the door by asking my age. I told her my "number" and her eyes widened with shock. She said I didn't look it. She said I was so lucky to have "good genes" and I should enjoy it while I could.

I recall that was the first time I thought about the inevitability of growing old and it bothered me. Deep down, I was glad I was my age and she was the older woman.

Oh, yes, I forgot to tell you--she was twenty-four and I was nineteen.

If you could pick any time (or any age) in your life to relive, when would it be and why?

Check out "Still Me After All These Years," to see what 24 seniors have to say about life in their golden years:  

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