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:
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. ☺