It’s Not an Age! It’s a Concept!


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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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!


  2. 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.


  3. 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!


    1. 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!


  4. 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!


  5. 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!!


  6. 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!


  7. 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.
    Petra :-)

    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
    46.Your wisdom
    47.Your advice
    48.Your ability to let go
    49.Your ability to forgive others
    50.Your ability to forgive yourself


  8. “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


  9. 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.


  10. 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.


    1. 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.


  11. 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…


    1. 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!


  12. 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.


    1. 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.


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