80 is the new 80

Lois Cronholm,  Age 85

80 is the new 80. While anyone reading this title is likely to know why I am writing this tome, I ask your indulgence to read on. There are some half dozen expressions that either bore or annoy me. “How are you” when they really would not want to know. Or “You look wonderful” which translates into “For her age.” But the two worst are: “70 is the new 50” and “Age is only in the head.” 80 is not the new 60. 80 is what comes after 79 and it is on its way to 81. Age may be in the head, but as an uninvited invader that removes fond memories; age is in the arthritic encroachments into what were agile muscles and bones.
If luck follows you into this decade you will get there with your spouse. But you will not be planning your next trek up Mt. Everest together, or washing sand off your back from that great lay on a dark beach. One of you is or soon will be a caregiver and one a caretaker. You will find this is more challenging than scaling mountains, less romantic than a swirl in the sand. Once I was a role model for young women aspiring to the kinds of professional success I enjoyed; now I am a role model for how to be a successfully formerly successful old lady. Once those boots were made for stomping; now they are in that Good Will bag before that fall which is the scourge of old people.
‘Tis true: old age is not for the timid. I am old and not timid. How old? As of this writing, closer to 86 than 85. While I am a non-timid happy old lady. I loathe people who pronounce the key to their happiness a universal principle. So I won’t do that, never have. But I will drop the principle of privacy as all of us who write our stories must (or should) to give you one of the endless streams of mottos that punctuate my tale. To thrive, not just survive old age, fight but don’t deny. (Hah, I slipped two homilies into that one short sentence — I, about whom it is said “It takes her a paragraph just to say hello”, with a painful reminder it is my own adored son who thus portrays his mom.)
So my tale is about how I stumbled into readiness for the fight, how I enthusiastically fight now that the time has come, how I recognize time to deny, and how I became ridiculously satisfied even in denial. If it fits wear it. If it doesn’t it will be a good target to criticize; either result is my gift to you.

This entry was posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, 70candles, Ageism anecdotes, Caretaking, Family matters, Goals ahead, HUMOR, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Read Stories, Share your story, What do we do with our time?, Work life and retirement and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to 80 is the new 80

  1. mary hirsch says:

    I would love to be in contact with any of these fabulous women now living in Massachusetts and, ideally, in Boston!

    • Blog Mavens says:

      Great idea, Mary!
      If women would post their home towns, maybe 70Candles! Groups could emerge across the country.
      There are so many mutual interests and needs.
      Let’s start with Boston…
      Jane and Ellen

  2. Diana says:

    Lois, thank you so much for writing such an insightful piece.

    Reacting to aging is as complex as aging itself. Your honesty is greatly appreciated.

  3. savannah says:

    how about meeting some nice oldies in the south suburbs of Chicago? I’m 82 and active.

  4. Susan Adelle says:

    Lois, I have come to this site for the first time today, closer to 75 than 74, and reading your post helps me continue a solid march forward. Thank you. I didn’t have any thoughts at all, turning 70… but 75, which brings me into the 4th quarter of my personal century, is profoundly sobering. I’ll drive up to Mendocino, walk the headlands, and count gratitudes alongside the too many little non-life-threatening aches and pains that seem to dance with me these days.

  5. GEORGIA POST says:

    Jane ..thanks for encouraging me to start : ….I must be out of touch with most of these sentiments .
    Humor is my antidote to aging. Judith Viorst just published a book about getting to 80. Lovely. Magical. An antidote to my cynicism. We appear to be living second hand with all these easy connections…I dunno

    Does anyone out there really think the local Publix cashier really cares how “are you today”? I get a stunned look by saying: Does it matter…and then I smile and say, thanks for asking. I am so-so. Not terrific.
    Does she really hear me?

  6. Michelle says:

    Yes 70 is the new 70. I hate it when people say I don’t look 70, I would like it put in more specific terms, “you could look a lot worse!” Writing from Marin County where it is expensive to live, but so beautiful. Love what you wrote. Helped me in todays’s down mood, helps to buffer sadness with humor when possible.

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