I Don’t Have To Love It

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My husband and I went to a new (to us) movie theater. As the tickets and beverages were being rung up, the young cashier looked at us and said “Over 55 discount?”

I gave a little chuckle/gasp, my husband said “Sure”, and we saved $3. Why gasp? I am over 55, after all, although only two measly years. Sandy’s only 56. Is it that obvious? Have all my anti-aging secrets, my skinny jeans, artfully highlighted hair, not managed to shave a couple of years off my appearance? Yes and no.

I reminded myself that the cashier was about 19 years old, and anyone who was older than his parents had to be over 55. He’s also been taught to offer the discount to anyone he thinks may qualify. And I do! I do! I don’t lie about my age. I lie (to myself) about being my age, and looking my age.

The reality of being closer to sixty than to fifty, and closer to the end than the beginning, is a sober one that I push away. I use my rigorous exercise routine, Retin-A creams, and modern clothing to look and feel younger. Nothing wrong with that. I can pass for early 50’s, woo-hoo! (Except at a certain unnamed theater).

None of those things changes the reality though. And here’s where I need some self-therapy. I am a trained mental health professional; time to look in the mirror instead of across the office! One of my favorite techniques is based on The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
  • Acceptance: My actual age, my passage through time – and yours, and all of ours – this I must accept. Not only is age 35 a memory, age 56-and-a-half is a memory. I am what I am, right now.
  • Courage to change: I can eat better, visit Paris, exercise well, dress joyfully, read better literature, and live fully in the moments. If not now, when?
  • Wisdom to know the difference: oh curses! You mean I can’t change the saggy skin on my thighs, read without glasses, dance all night and swim all day? Curse you, wisdom! Well, I don’t have to love it¬† . . . or do I? Some work to be done here.

Thanks, anonymous movie cashier, for making me reflect. Oh, and for the discount too. ☺

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patti

32 Comments

  1. I know so many people who died before 55 that from my perspective getting older really is a gift. Every year I get, I love. And I say this not as a criticism but a foundation why I love being old (I'm 48 but between my children and our culture, if not 30 you're old). My body is different. I have health concerns I'm addressing but I am happier with my body and life than I ever was younger. Well said Curtise.

  2. For a long time I only got offered the senior discount (sometimes they even apply it automatically without asking, probably trying to be discreet) when I was with my husband. His gray beard was the likely reason. But now it sometimes happens when I am alone. Reality. Sigh.

  3. I had one of those moments today and I"m only 36. I was talking to a 25 year old about buying a house and trying to remember when we bought our house. Somehow I was thinking I was closer to her in age then I suddenly remembered, with a lurch in my stomach, I'm 36!

    Also, you're a gorgeous and stylish 57, so that's something good. ūüôā

  4. I went to the doctor this weekend and, among other questions, she asked if there was a possibility I was pregnant.  I said "um, no." and she asked how old I was.  I told her I was 54 and she became distracted by my apparently youthful experience.  I wanted to say a) you have my chart there on the computer, read it.  b) neither of us would be here on a Saturday morning if I didn't need medical attention and c) REALLY you think I don't look my age.  Really?  Because I don't really consider that a compliment: I always want to say THIS IS WHAT ___ (fill in the blank) LOOKS LIKE!    Variety!  Paris!  Joyful dressing!     Great post!      

  5. Pass for early 50's??! Girl, please give yourself more credit than that. I take that the Retin A creams are working? lol. I love your message in this post, oh and, I sometimes purchase senior movie tickets for discount purposes. Yes, I'm a fraud ūüėõ

    P.S. wanna follow each other on bloglovin, etc?

    http://WWW.ROXTHEFOX.COM

  6. Great post. I have grey hair, so they don't even ask anymore-just give me the discount. But I do remember the first time I got the senior discount coffee at McDonalds. I was horrified. Of course I was indeed over 55 and the cashier maybe 16, but like you, I never dreamed I looked that old!  Inside, I don't feel like I thought a person would feel when they are 63 (yes, 63, yikes!)  But that is my reality.  So, I will keep up with my self care routines and reading fashion blogs, and  I will try to practice the acceptance, courage and wisdom from the Serenity Prayer, aruguing with that pesky wisdom all the way!

  7. i just turned 50 and luckily no one has asked me i qualify for any kind of discounts yet, but i know i will be crushed when they do
    might not make sense, but it is the truth
    brett

  8. When I turned 50 in 1996, I awoke and looked in the mirror.  I saw a golden crown upon my head.  I owned the world.  Aging didn't bother me one bit.  I received my ARRP papers and loved it.

    I turned 60 and not only did everything literally go south upon my body but something went terribly wrong in my head and I went into a funk over which I had no control.  And I am an exceptionally positive person.  I have always been one who has changed the things about herself that needed changing Рon her own.  But 60 didn't work.  I became ill shortly thereafter, something that did not help.  However, today at 66 Рlovin' it again Рwhen I am well.

    Age is a state of mind as "they" say.  But it is also a "state of body."  Sometimes that is easy to manage for some.  Often though the aging process is just that Рone of actual physical aging and dying.  After all we begin dying the moment we are born.  At 66, I want to look 66.  I have gorgeous curly thick grey hair.  I don't even own a comb.  When I was young I dyed my hair, it had been an awful mousey brown (but with red highlights so we went red). 

  9. I think all the judgments that accompany the phrase "looking good for one's age" really ought to be let go!  It implies that aging is necessarily bad, something we want to hide or deny, that if you are older and look good, it's somehow surprising and unusual.
    Come on, we are women in our prime! Would we really want to go back 30 years, or are we happy to be who we are now, with all our knowledge and experience and skills and style? I am OK where I am (49 this year, if anyone's counting). I don't know if I look 49, 39 or 59 – but I know I don't much care, and I can't change it, so why worry?
    You look fabulous, Patti – and I bet you did at 27, and I bet you will at 77! Take the discount and laugh! xxxxx

  10. You will always be a gorgeous woman no matter what age you are.  Keep smiling!

  11. I don't think you look 57 at all, but I guess age is really just a number, and you've embraced that.¬† A bonus though, you get discounts now ..woo hoo!¬† ūüôā

  12. You look beautiful and HEALTHY, i'd be proud of that! And for a discount i'd take it too. I love a discount! haha ūüôā

  13. I accept…I own it…and if I can save money with it, then hip hip hooray!! ¬†Life is short…let's enjoy each moment!

  14. Lol! Patti, I'd never guess your age because youth and beauty resonate from your smile. And hey, I'd take any discount I can get. I find myself still getting charged the student (17 and below) price on the bus on occasion. I don't fuss about it (too much), just save my extra 80 cents. ūüėČ

    The serenity prayer has always been a good mantra. Whether you believe in the Judo-Christian concept of God or not. AA, Al Anon and associated meetings use it, and I've always enjoyed it as a good centering focus. I think seeking the wisdom is both the hardest and most necessary thing in our lives. 

  15. Hey, as long as you've got gray hair Рyou can get the discount.  Did I say that?  

  16. Yup. ¬†There's that punch to the gut first time … not surprised though, that you went through it so gracefully! ¬†Years ago, right after my birthday, I began adding one year to my real age. ¬†In my head, and how I presented myself. ¬†That way, I was completely used to reality by the time it finally arrived on the next birthday! ¬†Strange, but useful for my twisted little mental processes.
    You look glorious in every post.  Run, girl, run!

  17. Here in the UK we get what is called a "Freedom" pass which entitles the holder to free bus and metro rides and discounts on rail and cinema tickets. I treasure mine.

  18. I have found that if you just visit Paris, everything else sort of falls into place.  

  19. What a lovely post!  I think wisdom brings peace that was not there a few years ago.  -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

  20. I don't think it's bad to look older. ¬†You are so pretty!! ¬†And you dress lovely and take care of yourself. ¬†I know you get tons of second looks from men of all ages ūüėČ
    Better old than dead!! ¬†That's my motto and¬†I loveee discounts!!!Becky ūüôā

  21. In your Visible Monday post, you look like you're in your early 40s. So fresh and youthful (in just the right way).

    I haven't been offered a senior discount yet, but I did recently turn 50 and received that "are-you-KIDDING-me" harbinger of incipient decrepitude, the dreaded AARP invite.

    PS–After seeing¬†your photo of the Target bracelet a couple posts ago, I hied myself thither and got myself into some serious trouble. Fabulous brightly colored enamel bracelets in the clearance bins for $5 and $7.

  22. This is perfect timing for that sage Serenity Prayer that was on the wall of both my Grandparent's bathroom and my parents bathroom. After going through some exceedingly difficult times these past weeks and last few days I need to take that advice to heart. Realizing that we are all on our way to die should make us want to live harder, stronger, better but sometimes that is lost in the every day details of living.

    I am right now re-assesing myself my choices and my life to see which changes should be made. The realization that we have no control over certain things is a very hard pill to swallow and one I am trying to accept. 

  23. What an enjoyable, thought provoking post. You're an inspiration to me, Patti, if I look half as vibrant and well as you do at your age I will be very happy! One more point to add to the list perhaps: to be grateful for having a body that works, whatever one's age. I've felt grateful for this from a young age, growing up with close family members who are disabled.

  24. Perfectly said Patti! I'm also working on it. It's rather funny to think we work so hard to look younger when all we end up doing is looking great for our age!! And aren't we lucky to have reached our age?

  25. Quite frankly, I think you look 37, not 57.  Thank you for the reminder that life is a gift. The more days/months/years you have, the more gifts. And who doesn't want lots of gifts?

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