Negative feelings about being old

Anonymous, Almost 73

I am almost 73…I have the feeling that most comments sent to you are on the positive side….But I have very negative feelings about being old….I dislike that the physical beauty I once had is gone….I dislike that I’m seen as an old person….Sometimes I forget and react to younger people as if I’m still young….But the look in their eyes reminds me that they see me as old and I feel like an idiot….I am well aware of the concept that it’s only what’s inside that counts, not outside….Of course being a good human being inside is of utmost value….But the idea that external beauty doesn’t count is a lie….The horror of it all is that it can only get worse….Unlike many diseases, there is no hope of finding a cure to this one….Plastic surgery can aid somewhat but that has its limitations as well….So often my dreams are such that I look young and socialize with young people as if I were….But I am in con tinual fear that they will find out that I’m really old.

To me it is a constant and awful reminder that I have only so many years to go and that the possiblity of changing my life and making future plans is so limited….For example, many, many years ago my husband and I took a very long and adventurous overland journey across Asia….Naturally we couldn’t see everything….So we said that we would go back at a future time….But now, because of our age, traveling like that is no longer possible.

One thing has changed….I was always terribly curious about what the world would look like in the future and very sad that I wouldn’t be around to see it….But now that curiosity has greatly diminished….Since we now know about the atrocious direction the earth is heading, I feel strangely relieved that I won’t be around when the worst happens.

The one positive thing I can say is that I still have a loving and caring husband….But he too is old and there is no way I would want to live whatever years I have left without him at my side….That is a certainty and it is of some comfort to me to accept that when he goes, I will go along with him.

This entry was posted in 70 from other perspectives: looking forward and looking back, About turning 70, Family matters, Looking ahead, Our bodies, our health, Stories, Traveling and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Negative feelings about being old

  1. Blog Mavens says:

    Thank you for your post. I could relate to nearly every word.

    My husband and I still travel—he is 74 and I’m 73—but we won’t complete another marathon or kayak the Kongakut River in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge again. That’s sad…in a somber kind of way.

    I say thank you because I tend to look on the cheery side of life, and it can throw me hard when I stop to notice the countless wrinkles on my once-beautiful and maybe still differently-beautiful face. It can throw me hard to realize, as we all do at our age, that it’s now about how many years we have left rather than how old we are.

    Life is deeper and more beautiful, I think, when we can be grateful for who we are and what we have AND mourn what can’t be again. So I’m thinking that very positive AND very negative views about aging are equally hollow, and real satisfaction comes from acknowledging the joys and feeling the pain.

    One way we differ is that you define the direction the earth is heading as “atrocious” and I put my faith in science. Maybe we’ll see, maybe we won’t, maybe we’re both right.

    I love your thoughtfulness,

  2. Sue Shoemaker says:

    70 Candles!

    Hi Jane and Ellen!

    I love your site and the wealth of wisdom and information you share with us here! It’s hard to believe you have been “here” since December of 2010, and I have only just found you.

    Since June of 2009, I have participated on a site for “women in the third age” called Elderwomanspace. The “conversations” I have enjoyed on that site have been invaluable to me. I “retired” from a 38.5 year career in education in June 2010.

    My mom died in 1984, and I have no sisters…so the women on EWS have helped to “fill that need” for mature, female conversation. I live on a farm in the Thumb region of Michigan…so I might feel pretty “isolated” if it wasn’t for my online friendships.

    One of the reasons I am especially interested in what you have to say here, is that I am 65…and I am ready, willing and able to “listen to” and really “hear” the suggestions of women who are little “further down the path” than I am.

    Just a couple of weeks ago, I had a similar conversation (as the one posted above) with a woman in my Coreball class who was lamenting the loss of her youthfulness. I listened and we talked…and she has mentioned twice since that conversation about how much better she feels.

    Talking about our feelings is very powerful, and I give the woman who has shared here credit for having the courage to express her feelings. Sometimes that’s all our feelings need…to be expressed.

    Your thoughtful and kind response, Ellen, is also what we need. Knowing that someone has “heard” us, and empathizes can go a long way in helping us deal with uncomfortable feelings.


    • Blog Mavens says:

      Welcome to 70candles!

      We appreciate your posting and know our readers will as well.
      There is powerful energy in these thoughtful and heartfelt exchanges among women.
      We look forward to hearing more from you.
      Jane and Ellen

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