Not too long ago, one of my employees thought that I was the mother of a twenty-something year -old fellow employee of hers. Of course, I balked at the idea until I realized that I AM old enough to be her mother. Gaaaaaah!
In my mind,that twenty-something year-old employee is still me. Then reality sets in and I realize that twenty years have gone by in the blink of an eye. One marriage, two children, two houses, two dogs, and one long and successful career have flown by like a hurricane and I’m twenty years older than when it all began.
It’s true that I no longer party until the wee hours of the night and that most nights I’m asleep before the evening news has concluded. I can no longer eat whatever I want or lose weight just by thinking about it. I have aches and pains that make me wonder what the hell happened to my body, and I no longer get carded at the bar, on the rare occasion that I’m in one. I’m now the old person at work, the experienced one, and am the senior person in most cases. My kids think that it I’m old and uncool because I don’t know who Fetty Wap is, and I agree with them most days.
I would be lying if I said that getting older didn’t suck sometimes, but I realize that it’s just part of life and I have no choice but to accept it. Fighting it is futile so I embrace my older self, appreciate the wisdom I’ve obtained, and accept that I’m going to have to visit my elliptical a whole helluva lot more than I’ve been.
Now that I’m no longer the young kid who is up-and-coming, do I ever worry about my place in this world?
In many ways, I think think that age is a state of mind. I’ve known seventy year-olds that are like forty-year olds and I’ve known thirty year-olds that remind me of eighty year-olds. When you choose to stop adapting, growing, and learning then you become less useful, less sought-after, and less valuable, no matter how old you are. I think that age matters less than state-of-mind. Does ageism exist in the world? Absolutely! It happens to those who are younger and those who are older and to say it doesn’t exist would be naive. Both think that they know more than the other, but each has something to teach the other. I now know who Fetty Wap is, and my kids learn from their old mom every day. I learn from my younger managers and employees and hopefully in turn, they learn from me. Because we co-exist and appreciate each other, the world is fuller and richer.
I’ve never felt less valuable because of my age, whether it was to my family, my job, or the world. In many ways, I have so much more to contribute now. I’m wiser, smarter, better organized, more patient, and more intuitive than I’ve ever been. I’m also kinder and better able to let go of things that have hindered me in the past, like toxic people and unnecessary anger. While I no longer have the body of a twenty year old, I am more comfortable in my own skin, yet still willing to improve myself. As with anything in life, age is about perspective and the willingness to have an open heart and an open mind.
There are times when I wish that I still got carded, but I wouldn’t trade my life now, for any of it. Even though I’m older, I wouldn’t want to learn all of those difficult lessons all over again or struggle through the growing pains. I’ve earned every laugh line and worry line that’s on my face, and I’m stronger for every trial and tribulation that I’ve endured. So, I say to Hell with ageism. Mine will never stop me or define me completely, and if I decide to write another book, get a tattoo, or dye my hair pink when I’m 70, then so be it. The world will just have to be prepared and deal with me! 😊😊😊