I’m Too Young to Be This Age

This is sixty?

I’ve been sixty for about ten weeks now, and I still don’t know what I think of it. For the past ten years, I’ve been steadfastly tossing membership invitations from the AARP in the shredder. Wouldn’t be strictly accurate for me to join. The initials, after all, originally stood for the American Association of Retired Persons. And I’m not a retired person. Not yet.

Mine is the generation whose members are mostly unable to afford to retire as soon as we might wish to. We might live for 2, 3 or even 4 more decades yet, heaven help us. We occupy the Sandwich Generation. Some of us are still helping our kids pay off college loans while looking after elderly parents who can’t live alone any longer. We tend to be over-mortgaged and under-pensioned. Some of us try to retire and then have to return to work because we have trouble making ends meet, even with Social Security. It’s not pretty. But it’s not all dire either.

After all, a lot has changed since my mother was my age. She would never, for instance, have gotten a tattoo for her 55th birthday, or for any birthday in fact. I recall that menopause seemed to hit her a lot harder than it hit me. She hated the insomnia. When I had insomnia, I’d just get up and teach myself a few more tricks in Photoshop. When her back started bothering her, my mom took yoga classes. Me, I took tango and salsa lessons. I would take three one-hour classes in a row on Friday nights, Beginning Tango followed by Beginning & Intermediate Salsa. One night, a tall, rangy lad in Salsa II was sharing a new double twirl move he’d figured out in a Salsa club. I’d been getting twirled for two-and-a-half hours by then, but I practiced the double-twirl with him till I had it down. And then suddenly had to sit down and remain very, very still for several minutes so I wouldn’t hurl. It was a fantastic evening.

A few weeks ago, I noticed that my kneecaps have started making a funny, crunchy noise when I bend them. We physical therapists have a word for this noise. We call it crepitus. The word is as hideous as the sound it makes, but it’s not necessarily the end of the world. Not yet. I can still get up from a full squat, but sometimes it does hurt a little. With an air of wry tragedy, however, I called one of the local orthopods I know and left a message for his secretary to book me an appointment. Meanwhile, I’ve given myself a physical therapy regimen — strengthening and stretching exercises. I’d like to have an X-ray so I can see if there’s anything ugly going on in there so far. Just to have a little advanced warning, you know. Forewarned is forearmed and all that.

For years, one of my bellwethers has been Rene Russo. Rene and I were born in the same year, although she turned sixty about seven weeks before I did. I’ve always liked her attitude. She was 45 when she starred with Pierce Brosnan in ‘The Thomas Crown Affair.’ I found it encouraging at the time that another middle-aged white chick with longish, reddish-brown hair could still be such a hottie. This photo of her was apparently taken when she was 59. I notice that, like me, she’s added some blond highlights to her hair coloring. Helps hide the gray roots better. She’s got those neck lines like I have, and that extra half-chin when she smiles, and crow’s feet. Still, she looks wonderful. And normal. And human. Rumor has it that she’s had a little facial plastic surgery, but that hasn’t been confirmed. Judging by the absence of vertical lines between her eyebrows, it may be true that she’s had a little botox and some laser work. No matter, though. I have no doubt that the back of Rene Russo’s arms start to look like wadded up crepe paper if she goes without moisturizer for a day. Some things are just unavoidable. I’m not likely to resort to botox, but I bleach some of my sun spots. And if I slather on enough baby oil, that crepe paper thing goes away. You do what you can.

One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that I’ve suddenly decided that I have too much stuff. Well, except maybe books and music. And since they can, if one prefers, be had in e-form, and thus don’t need extra shelf space, technically, they don’t count as ‘stuff.’ No, I mean everything else. Clothes, picture frames, gewgaws, dishes, furniture. Even power tools. I just have too much stuff. I’ve spent much of this year unloading as much of it as I can. The Big Sisters are quite fond of me these days. My neighbors look forward to what I’m going to leave at the end of my driveway.

Speaking of clothes, I have begun to hear myself asking a truly ghastly question as I sort through my drawers and closets. That question is: ‘Am I too old to wear this now?’ Dear gawd. This is applied to everything from certain hemlines to tank tops to anything that is too clingy. The bikinis got tossed decades ago. But there’s a lot of stuff that’s hung around, waiting for me to decide if a certain item makes me look extremely fortunate or like a damned idiot. I’ve kept my tight jeans and my red high heels. I’m not so sure about that paisley, halter, mini-dress.

In the meantime, to get down to what truly matters, I’m very grateful to have known so many kind, lovely, funny, intelligent, creative people over the years. And I do want to thank those of you who’ve hung in there with me through any portion of the past sixty years, especially the last five or six since the you-know-what suckage. I very much appreciate those of you who still genuinely care about me, and who don’t get on my nerves, and who employ decent grammar, and who aren’t ill-informed gits who get their health advice from people like Dr. Oz. Oh, I kept all my lipstick, by the way. So, a big mwah from me. I’ll let you know when I get around to throwing the party.


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This entry was written by Kathi, posted on Saturday, June 21, 2014 at 06:06 pm, filed under Attitude, Life & Mortality and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

23 Responses to “I’m Too Young to Be This Age”

  1. Oh girl, you so crack me up!!!I am only 55 so I shall keep the sleezy tops for at least another five years…won’t wear them..after all, no one wants a gramma that dresses like a hooker… but by some chance I wake up and God has decided that I need a redo for part of my life,I will be all set. what do I wear 90% of the time is :.. scrubs.. because I work all the time. Hope I make it to 60.. hugs dear friend

  2. I’ve tentatively planned my retirement for the year after my fatal coronary.

  3. Renee Russo looks fab. She does a little botox and, hey, whatever it takes if you don’t like the elevens between your eyebrows. And YOU. Well, you look amazing, but more importantly, you have that decent grammar thing going for you.
    Now, I know I’m ‘only’ 51, but I swear to God, I think I’m regressing. In a good way. I feel exactly the way I did when I was 19. I totally get the progression Anna Quindlen writes about:
    “It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult. First I was who I was. Then I didn’t know who I was. Then I invented someone, and became her. Then I began to like what I’d invented. And finally I was what I was again.”
    Big hug Miss Sixty. As they say in the old country (and as my mother still says to me when I need encouragement) “Keep her lit.”
    xo

  4. As someone who is much, much younger than you (I won’t turn 60 for another nine months), I want to thank you for being such a great role model.

    You rock, Kathi!

  5. Happy happy birthday KAK!!!! I think about you all the time:). Wishing you health, wealth and happiness for the next 4 decades!!! Lisa……. Aka Coonie. :)

  6. Happy Birthday KAK. I’m just behind you but look 10 years older than you. Thanks for the smooch even though my grammar sucks sometimes.

  7. Sharon, as I recall, you have never exhibited a tendency to use sucky grammar. And besides, you’re stuck with my friendship forever. xo

  8. Coonie, my dear!!! So good to hear from you! I’m really not sure I want to live to be a hundred, but we’ll just have to see what happens. I’m just taking it one decade at a time. ;)

  9. Knot, I’m selfishly rooting for you to join Club Sixty in nine months. I need as many friends here to keep me company as I can get. <3

  10. It’s a Zen thing, Yvonne. I had a professor who told me about that Buddhist thing about how, when you start on the Path, mountains are just mountains. Then, when you make progress, mountains are more than mountains. Then when you achieve enlightenment, mountains are just mountains again. ‘…finally I was what I was again.’ Like that. It’s progress to regress sometimes.

    Oh, and BTW, Rene has used Frownies for years (little pieces of paper tape to iron out your wrinkles). I use medical tape, which is cheaper. And it works. Poor woman’s botox, and it doesn’t paralyze your muscles. ;) xo

  11. Good plan, Rich. Why I’m clearing out all this shit. I don’t want to leave a mess behind for my friends.

  12. Frani, it’s a fine line between tastefully sexy and foolishly slutty. We have some good role models, though. Susan Sarandon, Helen Mirren…

  13. You look wonderful. And normal. And human. Wear it with pride, my dear!

    xoxo,
    Gayle

  14. Thank you, Gayle dahling! xoxo

  15. From what I can see, you wear it well. Happy birthday, Kathi!

  16. Hi Kathi,
    So thrilled to see a new post. I’ve missed reading them! This one gave me more than a few chuckles. And I love the title. I’m too young to be this age too… Of course, I am younger than you at least! ha ha.

    I’ve started getting rid of stuff too, although at a painstakingly slow pace. And the what to wear dilemma has taken on a whole new meaning now for me as well. Oh well. At least I worry very little these days about what others think.

    Here’s a big mwah back at you! Keep writing blog posts when you can. xoxo

  17. Thanks, Eileen. :)

  18. Believe me, Nancy, my own house purge is going at a snail’s pace. But it’s going. We may be slow, but we’re persistent, my friend. And isn’t it nice not to give a crap about what others think? Love that. xoxo

  19. hahahah… paisley halter mini dress! I love you, so glad to read your blog again, love your humour and I completely relate, even though I’m much younger than you. :P Keep on rockin’ you beautiful woman you. I’m purging with you. Mwaah!

  20. Love you, too, Carolyn. Feels good to write something, especially after the blog was broken for so long. Ugh. xoxo

  21. Sorry I’m a little late to the festivities but happy (belated … bad me!) birthday!!!

  22. Thanks, Bethany. So great to hear from you! xo

  23. I seriously love you, woman.

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