Present Tense

I’m at that age….

I’m not sure at what age you realize that you’re getting older.  I suppose it’s different for everyone and for most of us, we really never quite feel it happening.  But, it does.

I’m at an age where I feel great, but I know and accept that I’m no longer young.  Emotionally and spiritually,  I’m morphing and growing in a productive direction.  But, then I look in the mirror and see a middle aged woman gazing back at me; which doesn’t exactly freak me out, but I do on occasion wish I was seeing my 30 year old self.

Lately, there have been rumblings around work about a need to sound ‘younger’; to appeal to a younger demographic.  To not seem so old; to try and channel my inner 30 year -old.  You know what?  I don’t want to.

I don’t want to dampen what I’ve learned over the years; it was a hard fought battle to grow up and see things through the eyes of experience.   I don’t want to edit my perspective to appear younger and hipper, when I’m not.  Young and hip is overrated, by the way; my goal is to be older and hipper…or a hippie.

As I said, I’d love to have my 30 year-old body, but my 30 year old mind, sensibility and immaturity have all been buried, never to be revived.  I’m finally at the age where I am seeing that as you get older, there is a cultural bias that I’ve most certainly taken part in as a young whipper snapper.

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘older and wiser’ for as long as we can remember, but until you get there, you don’t fully understand it.  And I should add that I’m certainly not fully there; I’m not as wise as I will be in 5, 10, 20 or God willing, 30 years.  But, I’m older and it’s most certainly starting to define me, at least to others.

I don’t want to be the old lady that preaches about how my extra years have given me extra insight (even thought it’s true).  I don’t want to turn into one of those older folks who constantly tell you how long they’ve been on the planet (I’m 53 years old).  But, it is increasingly frustrating to feel as if you DO have some wisdom and insight and experience and knowledge to impart, but the older you get, the less the younger folks want to hear about it.

As a ‘civilian’ this really doesn’t bother me; as a media professional, it’s harder to swallow.  Fortunately, I’ve seen it coming and I’ve planned for the day when I outgrow the demographic that we are charged with attracting and appealing to.  It’s okay; I’m probably happier and more at peace than I’ve been since I WAS 30, but it’s kind of sad that our culture doesn’t prize wisdom and experience as much as we prize youth and beauty.  That lament is certainly nothing new and none of us say it or think it until we’re over 50.  It’s just that  I’m at ‘that age’ where I’m seeing that older people can fade into invisibility, thanks to this cultural bias against “old people”.

I began to internally disengage from my public persona a few years ago.  I didn’t do it consciously, but maybe I was sensing that getting older could mean I would begin to lose value, professionally.  Accepting that I have changed and morphed and possibly outgrown that persona has been a fairly easy transition.  We all evolve in our relationships to work, other people, and our families; it’s inevitable and it’s probably easier if we anticipate it and accept it.

I’m flying back to Michigan to visit my 93 year-old parents in a couple of weeks.  At their age, every minute is precious and for the first time, I plan to sit with them and ask them what they’ve learned; what they can teach me as I approach the sunset.  They’ve taught me plenty, through their guidance and example, but I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never looked them in the eye asked them to teach me.  This time, I will.

January 26, 2013 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , | 16 Comments


We’ve been going through a bit of a transition in our house regarding our plans for the future and it’s required a lot of physical, emotional and psychic energy over the past month or so.  It’s taken me a while to process my feelings about how life will look going forward; to stare my fears and anxiety in the face in order to grow and evolve.  We all come to forks in the road where we need to choose a path. I’m working on doing that from a place of wisdom, rather than fear; a place of growth, rather than stagnation.

I was corresponding with someone that I consider a mentor about some of the choices I’ve been struggling with and he told me that the problem with getting older is that sometimes we make choices based on fear; fear of shaking the status quo, fear of losing what we’ve worked so hard to accomplish and accumulate, fear of making the wrong choice.  He reminded me that I’ve always been one to make bold choices and now is certainly not the time to suddenly start making decisions based on fear of the unknown.

Because, let’s be honest:  life IS unknown.  No matter how much planning and scheming and plotting we do, it’s a crapshoot.  Giving into fear makes no sense because in the end, we all get whipsawed by fate.  Adaptation is a better guiding principle.

I have a dog tag necklace that has one word on it: Fearless.  I wear it to remind myself to speak, act and live a fearless life; I’m good with that.  As I get older, I’m trying to embrace that concept more and more. I know way more now than I did 20, or even 5 years ago and I’m emboldened by that.  It’s a shame that we don’t value and revere the wisdom that our elders can pass along.

As a kid, I would cringe and shut my ears every time my mother uttered the words “I’m older and wiser than you”. In fact, I ignored the sage advice that usually followed that statement for a very long time, much to my detriment.  I’m finally starting to understand the whole ‘older and wiser’ concept because it’s true.  I’m morphing from being irritated by older people AND younger people, into reverence for the old and their life experiences and amusement at the young and unwise.  I know what’s it’s like to be young and stupid and I can’t wait to be older and wiser.  Acceptance, adaptation, fearlessness; those are my new buzzwords.

I’m reading a book by Richard Rohr, called “Falling Upward: A Spirituality For theTwo Halves of Life” and his premise is that the first half of our lives is all about building our container, while the second half is for filling it up.  We work hard to build a life, a career, a family and we end up making a lot of sacrifices that can sap our souls.  The key is to get to the place where we can finally enjoy and fill that ‘container’ that we’ve spent so much time and energy creating.

I’ve built my container; it felt a bit crowded with extraneous stuff, so I’ve spent the past few months purging it.  Much of it has been a physical purge of possessions and junk, but it’s been equally about purging expectations, both mine and others.  I’m purging the past to make room for the future.  My container was full of a few too many moldy leftovers.  Things I was afraid to throw away.  Not any more.

Acceptance.  Adaptation.  Fearless.  Moving forward.

August 26, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Rage Against Age? Nah…..

Getting old sucks.  There really is no way to sugar coat the aging process.  You begin to sense your physical limitations and even if you stay in shape and eat well and all that stuff, you begin to creak.  It’s a strange place to find yourself.  The first half of your life is full of growth; physical, emotional, professional, intellectual and then one day you realize that you’re at the part of your life when you’ve begun the slide toward the sunset.

I’m there.  We all get there, I guess, and some handle it better than others.  So far, the physical aspects of getting older are manageable, even though they can be nagging and annoying.  The emotional stuff; not so much.

I’ve spent the last couple of years trying to work out how I will move forward and it has happened to coincide with turning 50.  I would encourage all of you who are younger than me, to begin your process NOW.  Don’t wait to get to know yourself; that way you can grow old together gracefully.

Getting older isn’t all bad.  You DO become a bit wiser, although there is always someone older and wiser to set you straight.  There is a time when you can say the most outrageous things and all you get is  an indulgent “bless her heart, she says what’s on her mind”.  Unfortunately, I’m not quite that old, yet.

I have discovered a few things that make getting older worth the hassle. I listen to the music that I like, regardless of hipness factor. I wear what I want to wear, meaning no dresses…EVER.  I’m content to be home on a Friday or Saturday night (and New Year’s Eve).  I don’t know or care what’s in fashion….period.  I adopt technology on my own time.  I unapologetically make dinner plans for 5:30.  I’m quicker to call bullshit, mostly on myself and I’ve accepted that we lose who and what we love, but that doesn’t mean you don’t commit to  more love.

So, as I sit here with my stiff neck, aching back and oscillating hormones, I have to admit that there is a bit of wisdom and clarity that can come with advancing years.  I’ve only got so many good years left and if I want cake and ice cream for breakfast, I’m gonna have it and if you don’t like it, you can kiss my ass!  Say it with me:  “Bless her heart”!

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 7 Comments


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