“But I Don’t Feel 50..60..70..80!”

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Yesterday at the gym a woman shared that she was turning 65 but complained “I don’t feel 65.” I pondered that comment for a while and wanted to respond in this post. Above the picture shows on the left my Great-Aunt Margaret and on the right my Great-Aunt Elizabeth, both in their mid eighties. They were my grandmother’s younger sisters. I remembered how much I loved them and enjoyed their personalities, different but equally witty.

What does it mean to say we don’t feel our age? In one sense it is foolish. We feel exactly the age that we are. I am 72, so however I feel is how it feels to be 72. But that disconnection is possible for two reasons I can think of. The first is that we have absorbed some cultural bias against aging. To us to feel our actual age would be to confronted with our preconception of how we would feel at that age. Of course as a child I had no way of knowing how I would feel in my mid eighties. But fortunately I had these women around and wasn’t worried about it. Many others absorbed the idea that by their late eighties they would be dull, stuck in the past and resistant to new ideas. Of course they don’t feel their age as they imagined it since they feel so alive.

The other reality is that we seem to remain essentially ourselves as we age. I am still very like the child, adolescent, young adult and middle-aged adult I once was. So in that sense I don’t feel any age. But when I acknowledge that I am in fact now old, I can embrace some of the gifts that I didn’t have when younger. I am slower to judge, quicker to forgive, less likely to bear a grudge, more likely to cut someone some slack. My edges have been worn down a little. My soft body reflects my softened personality. Still lots of prickly quirks which have been there forever, but I am different.

I do in fact feel 72.

34 thoughts on ““But I Don’t Feel 50..60..70..80!”

  1. I will be 68 in March, and have to honestly say that I feel every single second of those 68 years, at least physically. I have little strength left in my muscles, and my eyesight is poor, useless up close without glasses. I look in the mirror, and I see an old man.
    But I still laugh like I did, find the same things funny, and the same things sad. My sleep patterns are much the same and although I walk three hours a day with my dog, that in itself doesn’t tire me out. I also remind myself that many of my contemporaries and friends are already dead, so I try to make the best of being 68, as they never got that far.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I agree with your following statement Elizabeth;
    “The other reality is that we seem to remain essentially ourselves as we age. I am still very like the child, adolescent, young adult and middle-aged adult I once was.”
    I feel about 25-30 within my spirit but very much in my senior years in the physical. Though hopefully a little wiser then when I was 25-30.
    Merry Christmas,
    Jennifer

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  3. Perfectly stated, Elizabeth. Some days I feel older, some younger, but most of the time I feel my current age of 61. One thing that has changed is my perception of age. I remember thinking that forty and then fifty both seemed so old when I was much younger. Now, sixty doesn’t seem that old. I like that change in perceptions.

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  4. Well said, Elizabeth! I recall one of my staff in the pharmacy who was 70, but said she was still 21 in her head! I don’t feel so much my age as my disability from MS….which makes me feel ancient physically, but mentally I would say I’m pretty lively!

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  5. Inside I’m still around 35 but the framework’s creaking. Getting on the floor to play with the grandsons’ Hot Wheels is still possible, but staying there requires frequent adjustment and as for getting up…
    On the other hand, I know a lot more at 70, that would’ve been useful to know at 35.

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  6. Elizabeth, I am very aware of my age. My bones and muscles remind me every day. I celebrate this time because so many people I love are no longer here to enjoy the gift of advancing years. I still feel very much like the same little girl and young woman in my mind. So much so that sometimes an unexpected glance at my reflection reminds me that my face and body are aging. I am still able to relate to my grandchildren and play with them in a way that they enjoy, but it does get more challenging as time passes. I am definitely every minute of my 65 years.

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  7. My next birthday I will be 70 years old. I don’t look that age but I am grateful for my father’s genes because I reckon it’s his genes that keep me looking at least 10 years younger. My paternal aunts are in their 80s and 90s and they don’t look their age. I’ve never been one to care about not aging. My older sister used to say she was “Disco Grandma” and wore heavy makeup from the age of 13 and started dying her hair in her early 30s. Me, I am just a natural woman. I only wear lipstick and that’s only if I am going out somewhere. Merry Christmas to you all.

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  8. I think in a youth focused culture, we sometimes forget that old age is a privilege. In 2019, I lost my sister in law aged 49 and my step father aged 74. My youngest son is 13 and over the past four years, three of his team mates have lost their mothers. I’m glad to be here. Bring it on.

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