On turning 60, my cousin Leslianne relayed to me that it was surreal. “60 is not an age!” she said “60 is a concept!”
And that’s the thing with this age business. It becomes less and less real, more and more abstract. Today is my birthday and I am a proud 53. But it’s as though I’m in a large room and 53-year-old me is at the front of the room while the real me looks on from the back, shaking her head in confusion and astonishment.
“She couldn’t be 53!” says real me.
“How did this happen?” says real me.
“53 is not an age, it’s a concept!” says real me.
All the while 53-year-old me is oblivious. She eats breakfast in bed made by one of her adult children. She reads through Facebook and text messages from all over the world wishing her a Happy Birthday. She glances at herself in the mirror and thinks “The grey hairs have to go! I need a little L’oreal Magic in a bottle”. She blogs about being a proud 53 all the while knowing that given the western addiction to youth, she’s becoming irrelevant by the day.
- A proud 53. Real me tries to reconcile with this older me. Real me knows that aging, and all that goes with it, is an inevitable part of this world, but holds tight to the knowledge that we are made in the image of God, created for eternity. Real me looks at 53-year-old me and thinks “Give her grace God because she is really going to need it!”
Real me reaches across the room and offers a hand to 53-year-old me. Hands clasped they look up to Heaven and pray they will laugh together at the years to come.
31 thoughts on “It’s Not an Age! It’s a Concept!”
Happy Birthday, Dear, Dear Marilyn!!! Despite my best intentions to call you yesterday (interrupted because Abby was at the hospital, diagnosed with pneumonia, so we had Isabella and Jonathan most of the weekend), I did truly celebrate you in my heart!! I am so glad and grateful to be sharing time (never enough!) and work (Golden Partner!) and faith and meaning with you! Much love to you in celebration of your birth and celebrating you every day!
Sounds like your birthday was filled with love and good wishes. And I am adding my belated greetings to your pile! As your oldest cousin :) I have discovered that aging is mind over matter: if you don’t mind, it don’t matter.
I hope you had a birthday as wonderful as you! I just wrote a very similar post about my most recent birthday. How can I be 50? It just doesn’t seem possible when we feel so much the same. My younger daughter asked me on my birthday how 50 felt and I had to say, “Like 49 and a day.” No difference at all, although I sure like Petra’s list!
I LOVE your birthday post and love this piece of wisdom: When people are hurting, you should cook for them. Your time and concern nurture their souls and the food nurtures their bodies. Great to almost share birthdays!
Just let your hair go white, Marilyn – maintaining colour is a pain – and expensive!
My second bit of “wisdom” is not to allow yourself the luxury of taking offence_ an area I’m still working on but which, when I manage it, is so liberating!
Glad you had such a lovely special day!
Oh so true! All of this I mean — the maintaining color expense, the words on offence. You have lived this out Wilma! Thank you.
someone recently told me she was “20 on the inside, but was 60 on the outside”. That’s my feeling… I’m still just 59, and I’m resisting the big six oh for another 11 months!!
Yes! Love this. And I would never, ever, ever have guessed your age – your spirit is young and wise, a great combination!
Happy birthday, Marilyn!! Many blessings in the year ahead :-)
Thank you so much! Here’s to 53 (insert a raised glass!)
Happy Happy Birthday Marilyn! Love your description of the real you and the 53 year old you! I feel it too turning 39 this year. It’s definitely not the real me either and yet somehow it is too!
Exactly — not the real us…yet at the same time is the real us. Love you Sophie and SO glad we connected.
Liebe Marilyn, alles Gute zu Deinem 53sten Geburstag(wishing you well to your 53rd birthday)! Just a little reminder about all the wonderful 50 things coming along with being an amazing 50. Let us enjoy every sliver of moment as we laugh, sing, and dance through our fifties.
50 Good Things About Being 50
1.You’re less fearful
2.You’re not afraid to have opinions
3.You know yourself
4.You have a greater appreciation of life
5.It’s easier to laugh at yourself
6.It’s easier to laugh at others
7.It’s easier to take life less serioulsy
8.You stop caring what other people think
9.You stop sweating the small stuff
10.You have a lifetime of wisdom to help you make decisions
11.You are more at peace
12.You’re less critical of your body and weight
13.You know that eating right and exercise are the best medicine
14.You embrace your imperfections
15.You make jokes more often
16.You get to use the excuse, “I’m set in my ways”
17.You have a reason for forgetting things
18.You have a reason for losing things
19.You have a reason for telling the same stories
20.You can be as grumpy as you wish
21.You can learn to dance
22.You can learn to sing
23.No one cares if you’re a bad singer
24.People expect you to be a bad dancer
25.Your inner confidence shines
26.You can go home early without offending anyone
27.You can enjoy being settled in life
28.With kids out of the house, you can be more spontaneous
29.Your kids stop expecting big gifts from you
30. AARP discounts are everywhere
31.Other age-related discounts and free stuff for seniors
32.Younger people will help you more
33.You have more time to explore new hobbies
34.You can wear red hats that don’t match your clothes
35.You can wear glitter or funny sweaters and laugh at yourself
36.You can wear glitter or funny sweaters in public with pride
37.You can go gray with your hair
38. Retired life is just around the corner
40.Nap time is fun again
41.Waking up too early and watching a sunrise
42.Resting feels natural
43.Buying more comfortable clothing
44.Less comparisons to younger folks
45.The amazing things you’ve seen that younger people have not
48.Your ability to let go
49.Your ability to forgive others
50.Your ability to forgive yourself
LOVE this Petra – thank you thank you! I am going to use it as a blog post this week! xox
Anytime Petra :-)
Bye the way, I received this sometime back — do not know the actual author.
“Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made. Our times are in his hand who saith, ‘A whole I planned, youth shows but half; Trust God: See all, nor be afraid!” Robert Browning
Thank you for this wonderful poem. So much love to you.
This blog really resonated with your 89-year-old aunt. AND, it brought to mind a favorite scripture passage from Second Corinthians 14 Starting with verse 6, Paul writes, .”God who said ‘ Let light shine out of darkness’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay.” But the verse I quote often is verse 16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” I translate this “Though my body is growing older and weaker, my soul never does, because it is constantly renewed” Praise God, and now on this your birthday, celebrate God’s goodness, and remember Kristine.
My 89-year-old aunt who is so much younger in her heart. I love you Aunt Ruth and I remember Kristine. Hugs.
Happy Birthday, cousin o’mine! Yes, it’s a concept. Eventually you get to wrap you head around it, but I’m never sure the ‘real you’ follows all that closely.
When our Grandmother was about 75 she and I had a wonderful conversation about age. By that time her knees were slowing her down considerably (at least she thought so) and she said: In your head you’re always 19. But then you try to do some 19-year-old thing and your body reminds you it’s not going to happen.
The good news is I can pretty much still do those 19-year-old things. The better news is I’m smarter than that now!
Enjoy your day — enjoy your year! May it be filled with gracelets each and every day.
Thank you Leslie Anne, for the memory of your Grandma K, my Mom. When she was in her late 80s she mentioned dreaming about running up and down stairs. And Happy Birthday, daughter dear! I do hope you are keeping warm enough there in the cold northeast.
Loved your story of Grandma K too! And love your wish for ‘gracelets’ – love that!
I love you Marilyn
Paulette – this made me smile and I think I might have even had a little tear in my eye…..xoxox
Oh Marilyn…. Happy Birthday! I wish you well. I wish you joy!
Love you Robynn!
Happy birthday! I maintain that we are all–even the 90-year olds–still in our early 20’s in our heads. It is indeed a shock to look in the mirror or to see a photograph of an aging self. Watching my parents age (they’re in their mid-80s, and in a slow, visible decline) has been an education for me, as well. I’m thankful for God’s grace and close presence on this journey.
Blessings for the year ahead…
Yes to God’s Grace and Presence! Thank you for this. And totally agree with the mirror thing? What’s my mom doing in my mirror?! I wrote a blog post on that!
When I was 39 I was horrified, the great big 40 loomed ahead. When I turned 4 O I realised I was the same person I had been the day before and really I had feared 40 as a matter of social conditioning.
Who says one is old because of the days one has lived on earth. One can be mature and responsible, philosophical and have understanding and wisdom at a young age because they are in touch with their ancient souls. As long as one keeps their innocence, as long as one can view the world with wonder and joy and with new eyes each day I think one can stay as young as they want.
You and me Marilyn will probably be a very young 90. :)
A Very Happy Birthday to you my friend.
Wish you had been here, sharing it with me. Moroccan food, laughter – you would have loved it. So grateful to have met you online and looking forward to meeting you in person one day.