Blogging about attitudes to aging, I feel I should share my own age. But I realize I hesitate, and feel some anxiety. Not the lurch-of-heart, breath-stopping kind—as when my mother discovered 12 year old me reading Herman Wouk’s Marjorie Morningstar, long after the order for lights out. More a slight embarrassment—I’ve ordered a latte and find my wallet is empty. Our society doesn’t make it easy for a woman to reveal her age, even for me, so fortunate in terrific older friends and role models.
I had a birthday not long ago and I received the very same birthday card from my husband that he gave me more than two decades ago, and every year since. (We are avid recyclers obviously). It’s actually an anniversary card with a convenient little disc allowing him to change the number annually to keep it accurate. I now salute the New Year at 55 years old. Two people in particular stiffened my spine for the “Big Reveal”—one, the author Zalman Schacter-Shalomi. As he puts it—I have 55 years of life experience. I do believe I should take pride in that. The other is Gloria Steinem, the well-known feminist now 78, who once said, “I always try to say my age, because I figure it’s another form of coming out.”
Recently I also received a Christmas card from the mother of a long time, valued friend of mine, Peggy. Lots of good memories together—Peg was a pal even when I was very young and still trying to iron my hair straight. We skipped school a time or two and headed for the Mississippi River in her little gold Maverick. (But don’t let that change your opinion of me.) Peggy’s mother reports that 2012 has flown by. Close to 80 now she feels lucky to enjoy her good health—and enjoy it she did, jetting off to both Central Asia and Europe this past year. In between those big journeys Peg’s mom drove cross-country in the summer time. In October she parked her camper van on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for some sunny days of camping. She is blazing a trail that I hope to follow—in 25 years or so. I do believe I’ve begun my Third Age, and my only New Year’s resolution is to look forward to ALL the years to come.