Thursday, January 29, 2015

Don't Tell Me I'm Too Old!


It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams.” – Gabriel García Marquez.

As a society, we seem obsessed with age. Age dominates the way we're expected to behave - how often do we hear the phrase: Act Your Age! when we're maybe feeling light and easy and a bit giddy? And what a putdown that can feel like! Then the way we dress - why shouldn't 'older' women wear bright colors and yes, tight pants and mini skirts, too, if they have the shape for it. Not something I would do, though. My shape needs something more demure...:-)
Age perception affects every aspect of our lives. Whether we get a job or a promotion, whether we're considered too old to learn something new, too old to date or find new relationships. An aunt in her late sixties was advised by concerned family members that she was 'too old' to take a trip to Australia to see the son she hadn't seen for years, and meet his family. She went. She had a great time - and looked years younger when she came home.
A friend who's an avid woodworker set about building himself a new workshop as his 70th birthday gift to himself. Another friend suggested to him that, at his age, it was pointless building this new project because, after all, he wouldn't have a lot of time left. Twenty years later, he's still enjoying his workspace, making wood carvings and creating other items from his own designs.
There's a lot to be said for staying young in our outlook. I'm pretty sure that 'young thinking' people stay healthier and active. I'm a great believer in the idea that 'attitude is everything' and that, if we give in to the idea that age prevents us from doing something, well, we may as well head for the rocking chair and slowly fade away.
I've taught creative writing online for years, and one question prospective students often ask is: "Do You Think I'm Too Old To Start Writing a Book?" My reply is usually: "Are you breathing? Do You have a pulse? Then no, you're not too old."
It makes me angry when I hear newsreaders announce that 'an elderly woman of 57' was injured in a car accident. Jeez, whoever said 57 was elderly?
I'm not immune, though. This age thing gets into your head. One of the main characters in my recently completed novel, The Bride's Curse, is a woman of 62. I found myself frequently referring to her as an older woman, and even twice as an old woman. Goodness me - I had to slap myself silly and go back and change all those references!
So, that's my rant for today, and the reason that I veered from the straight and narrow of the quotes listed for January above. After all, my fellow roses have done justice to them already and I'm feeling far too old to be competitive - Not!
Glenys O'Connell, who refuses to give her age even when asked by Homeland Security, also blogs on Romance Can Be Murder! And you can see her books on


Margo Hoornstra said...

Hallelujah, Glenys! Well said.

Jannine Gallant said...

I believe the key to staying young is being active. Maybe I don't run in the woods anymore, but I hike with my dog every day.If we let ourselves turn into couch potatoes, we're going to look like just another pillow. Think young! Act young! Be young! Thanks for the great post, Glenys.

Barbara Edwards said...

I agree. Living in Florida has exposed me to many people of various ages. I've meet those in their fifties too 'old' to have fun and ninety year olds actively enjoying every minute. Life is what you do with t.

Alison Henderson said...

My 85-year-old mother is leaving on Valentine's Day for a trip around the world led by National Geographic. She looks ten years younger than her age and acts twenty years younger. I'm just trying to follow in her footsteps!

Diane Burton said...

One of the things I love about my pain management doctor is that every time she looks at my chart she says she has to remind herself that I'm older than she thinks. What a compliment. My MIL & her sister traveled to Europe several times in their 90s. They let my much younger mom tag along. LOL What a group they were! Age is only a number. Attitude is everything.

Leah St. James said...

So true, Glynnis!

Alicia Dean said...

Well said, and very inspiring. I believe keeping your mind and body active helps us to feel young.