Wednesday, October 01, 2008

At Your Age

"For your age" -- is it a compliment or a cut?

I had to have knee surgery 5 years ago. When the orthopedic surgeon was showing me my x-ray, he said, "Your bones are nice and white. Sometimes at your age I am already seeing calcification."

Talk about a backhanded compliment. I was 32--certainly too young to get the "at your age" bit

I might forgive him, because after the surgery, he was amazed at my healing prowess, and said I was "healing like a teenager."

I have a birthday later this month. Birthdays don't bother me, but this one will put me firmly into the "late thirties" camp. When my grandmother turned 88 this year, she said, "Oh, you don't really celebrate birthdays anymore. At this age, you're just borrowing time." She's not ashamed of her age. She will tell anyone how old she is, and I found myself using it a lot when she was visiting to explain myself, "My grandmother is here -- she's 88 -- so I've been laying low this week."

Since Terry and I have been blessed with rather active octogenarian grandparents, we haven't realized how old they truly are. Mimi's right -- most don't get to live that long.

My twentieth high school reunion was this summer, and I saw a little video montage on someone's Facebook page. My thoughts -- those people are old!! I saw a lot of bald guys and a lot of girls that looked overly bleached or made-up like they were trying to hide the toll of the years. Not me. I look good "for my age" according to my magic mirror.

Unfortunately, the more I see others and make judgments on their ages, the more I think that perhaps my mirror is lying to me. I think I see what I want to see, and that's okay . . . right?

What about you? Do you shrink from your age? Do you feel, like my grandmother, that you've lived out your years well? That they are a badge which you can display proudly? Has your idea of "old" changed?

8 comments:

Rebecca said...

Interesting questions. As I will be turning 45 this month, and my kids are very nearly grown, the past year I have felt suddenly "middle-aged". To be honest, it's a little confusing.

The "at your age"-type comments that I have found annoying recently, though, come from ladies in their late 50s. They're saying (to me!) "at our age". Hello! What's up with that? They are old enough to have been my baby-sitter!

Carrie said...

Well, when I was in college someone asked me if I was a freshman -- in high school.

Someone I know saw a recent picture of me and said she thought it was a picture of me from high school.

I would think that having a baby and putting on some poundage (unwanted though it is - the poundage, not the baby) would convince people that I'm no longer in high school.

At this point in time I proudly declare that I am THIRTY years old, thanks!

And still no one believes me.

Dad said...

Old is "at least 10 yrs older than your age at the time". Hope you are lokking as good and enjoying life as much as your Dad at his age. For readers: I was in late twenties when Jennifer was born.
LOVE

heather said...

I struggled turning 30. What! 30 already! I thought I was supposed to be a child prodigy!
I didn't want to celebrate the birthday (so my husband decorated the house in black to cheer me up).
This year, though, I want a big celebration.
And presents ;)
Carrie--I still look like I'm in high school. Except now I have cottage cheese.

Katrina said...

Well I don't think it's fair that "at my age," I have to deal with the onset of "fine lines" while I'm *still* dealing with breakouts!

I've always looked kind of young for my age, but I also know that I've started engaging in a little self-deception. I see "kids" that were in my Awana group when I was a leader, and they're all grown up -- as in, getting married. And yet I still feel like I look 26. I'm guessing I look older to them. :)

Elizabeth said...

I'm 30. I feel old. Yet just last summer two people mistook me for a high school student. I'm finally to the age where it's flattering, but I wonder what people think when they see me with my three children. I did get a lot of dirty looks when I was pregnant with my first and second. Sadly, I think I've aged quite a bit since I had my third. I guess three kids will do that to you. Now I wish more people would mistake me for a high school student!

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that this year is rough! I think forty will be better but this is just an old feeling and sounding year. Just think, I hit it before you (if only a few weeks)!
Martha

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I was just talking to an old friend the other day and we were saying the same thing- so and so got FAT and this person looks so old... then we thought, what do people say about us!?

Steph