“You’re Only As Old As You Feel”

NG: When I turned 60, my friends all wanted to reassure me that 60 is the new 40. My reaction at the time was, “I’ve been 40, now I want to know what 60 feels like.” This NY Times article from October 17th – whose title we’ve quoted here – suggests that age is subjective. That may be true in many cases, and I’m concerned that it still makes aging a dirty word.

MD: I’ve been short all my life, always put in the front row for class pictures. People thought when I was 12 that I was nine. I’d gotten used to passing for younger and in middle age, frankly liked being told at fifty that I looked a decade younger. But now? I enjoy the mantle of 74. When I see another woman who has stopped coloring her hair, I say, “You’re dying your hair grey too!”

NG: I think we’re both feeling the blessings of being in our 7th and 8th decades, and we want to share that. The continuing focus on the trials of aging and internalized ageism isn’t helpful. I love the greater contentment I feel with who I am and how I’ve gotten here. I delight in not caring what others think of how I’m dressed.

MD: I live in sunny California where people delight in telling you their age so you can say that they look so much younger. The truth is, I was much more stressed and unhappy when I was younger. Today, when I awaken, I am grateful for my life as I never was earlier. I look forward to a long lunch with a friend that is usually about our broader perspectives than about our latest difficulties. Leonard Woolf called the second half of life “Downhill All the Way”. I love not having to pedal so hard anymore.