Many of you might have seen this t-shirt that is currently making the rounds on some over 40 fashion bloggers like Tamera.
While it looks fab on Tamera (she has such wonderful dramatic artistic style) I don’t know that I would want to wear it.
Because I haven’t admitted to myself that I’m old.
Sure I’ll admit to being “old-er” or “old-ish” but out-and-out old? Nope.
The reason? The definition of old is relative.
When I was sixteen old was anything over thirty. In fact if you’d asked me at that time I was so naive I would have told you that my life would be over at thirty. Literally. Nothing good happened after thirty. Life was boring, difficult and depressing. Yeah I was “one-of-those” people. But in all fairness I didn’t think about growing old at all at that time. I just lived how I wanted. Without fear. Without regret. We all believe we are immortal at that age.
When I was twenty-five old was anything over thirty-nine. Because…obviously…after that was the big four-oh and life as I knew it would never be recognizable after that milestone.
Well forty came and went a while back.
My head didn’t fall off, my waist didn’t balloon and I didn’t start wearing polyester pants with non-descript oversized blouses. It’s a miracle!
Now that I’m forty-eight old is anything over sixty. (Sorry to those of you over sixty! It’s not personal, it’s just my perception.)
As you can see… the concept of old is ever extending the older I become.
I’m sure when I’m seventy I’ll think that only people over ninety are old. When I’m ninety, if we follow my logic, old people will be the ones that are… dead.
Which brings me back to the t-shirt and why I doubt I’ll ever want to wear it.
My mind will never want to admit that I’m old even if I am. Advertising the fact on a t-shirt is out of the question.
Is it because “old” has always been considered negative? Probably. Okay…if I’m being really honest…undoubtably.
When you’re young “the world is your oyster.”
When you’re old ummm…. what is the opposite of “the world is your oyster”?
“You’re running out of time?”
I’ve never heard someone call someone else an “old woman” or “old man” and mean it as a compliment.
Remember when you were a kid and just wanted to be older?
“When I grow up I’m going to be…”
“I can’t wait to be old enough to…”
“When I’m older I’m going to… make my own decisions, be independent, do whatever I like!”
Then you passed whatever the legal drinking age is where you live and suddenly it was no longer about getting to be old “enough” to do whatever you want. It was just about getting old. Life sped up. With each passing year it feels like the seasons are shorter. The remaining years are whizzing by at warp speed.
The Rolling Stones understood it all too well when they sang the opening lyrics from Mother’s Little Helper “What a drag it is getting old.”
Lots of crappy things come with old age. Health issues. Physical changes in our appearance. Loss of those we love. The understanding that we aren’t infallible and that there is a finite end to all things. It’s depressing.
Oh sure…there is the alternative to growing old.
I’ve been reading lots lately about the acceptance of aging. Honouring our wrinkles, scars, sagging skin as badges of a life well lived.
Yes we’ve been lucky enough to make it thus far. Yes we’ve proven we are resilient.
But are we truly happy about getting old?
The fact of the matter is we don’t have a choice. We are forced to accept aging. Even if we hate it. Which makes me wonder if everyone writing about how they love aging is simply a way of making lemonade from lemons. It doesn’t do one any good to rail against the inevitable. Why not embrace it? Make it your own…pretend like you wanted it to happen all along?
That’s the appeal of the t-shirt.
Old is the new gold. Old is cool, old is chic…everyone wants to be old. Ha ha. Yeah right.
No one wants to be old…but we are all going to end up there.
I suppose the true badge of honour would be that we’ve escaped death up until this point in our lives. That is what is great about getting old. Death hasn’t caught up to us yet.
When exactly can I expect that understanding and willful acceptance of aging to “kick in”?
Does it happen for everyone?
When do I suddenly get past caring? And will it feel like I’ve surrendered?
I strongly believe that inside every old person there is a young person asking themselves WTF happened.
That is the t-shirt I’d wear.