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  • Writer's pictureJane Leder

That's Not Me, Is It?

This isn't the first time it has happened. In truth, it happens all the time. I'm in a group, say, at a concert or a play and look around me. I am surrounded by men and women whom I think look and act nothing like me, even though I know that we are peers all dealing with the challenges of aging.

Earlier this week, my husband, several friends, and I went to hear Media Luna, a Mexican group headed by two brothers whose music melds the rhythmical basis of flamenco, rumba, Mexica son, rock and huapango. The sold-out concert was held in a traditional Mexican courtyard open to the sky, resplendent in climbing vines, the smell of blooming flowers and the musty, decades' old odors of bricks that held stories of love, disappointment, optimism, and fear.

If you've followed my blog, you know that I sing the praises of women (and men) whose life experiences afford them wisdom and power. And I count myself as one of the gang. Yet when I am in the midst of so many people my age, it can feel alien, as if I don't belong. Inside, I feel many years younger than my physical facade. And I'm sure many others in their seventies and older feel the same way.

Yeah, yeah. We all know the oft-repeated phrases "You're only as old as you feel." "Age is just a number." "Seventy is the new fifty." But what about the days when we do feel old? When our knees ache after our first bend of the day, when the tightness in our lower back makes walking just a few steps a painful and frustrating experience, when we see our reflection in the bathroom mirror and, for a moment, see our mother staring back? (Don't get me wrong: I loved my mother now dead for over ten years. And I miss seeing her face. But I never in a million years imagined that those vertical lines on top and below her lips would be mine__that the loose skin under my arms would jiggle just like hers__that her sagging chin [really not that bad] would soon be a permanent part of my profile.)

But we aren't' really our mothers, are we? We've aged with more knowledge about all the steps we can take to keep ourselves healthy and happy: good nutrition (Remember canned foods?) regular exercise (Not one Arthur Murray dance class every other week), and the opportunities of work and self-satisfaction that bolster our self-esteem and propel us to independence.

Still, we can fall down the rabbit hole with the best of them: a broken bone; the loss of family and friends; the lapses in memory.

But, hey, we are a resilient bunch and, through a life of trial and error, we know how to pick ourselves up and carry on. If the world out there thinks seventy is the new fifty, then who are we to disagree?

You can check out a post of mine by clicking the link below. It has generated a slew of new subscribers to seventynme and is a reminder of how effective sharing ideas can be.

And please share your comments about all of this. I love to hear your stories!


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