“I don’t think of myself as old…”
The woman in the photo, Connie Britton, was 49 when she said that. I admire her determination, but it’s foolish. Here’s why.
When you say, I don’t think of myself as old, or I don’t act old, etc., you’re judging “old” in a negative way. Fine, that’s your prerogative.
But one day you won’t be able to deny it any longer. When you can no longer reject the proof in the mirror, what will you think of yourself? After a lifetime of teaching yourself to reject old, to negate its signs in yourself because apparently it is something bad…there it is. There you are. OLD. And OLD=BAD.
What a pity not to spend the years of your young old-age learning to value yourself in the second half. Growing more powerful mentally.
If you can’t embrace old, at least become neutral about it. It’s a word related to a number, a quantity. Why do we run shrieking from it? I mean, we all know the answer, but think about it.
We color the word with a certain value judgment, and then we protest that we’re not that. We’re not that thing. Even if we are, we try not to act it, so we can still live in denial, which makes us feel safe. But what if we were stronger than that? What if we weren’t afraid?
To be defiant about age may be better than despair – it’s energizing – but it is not progress. Actually, after fifty, aging can become an exciting new period; it is another country.
– Gloria Steinem
What if you grew beyond that childish, western-culture, fecundity-is-all mode of valuing human life?
Then instead of stamping your pretty little foot and declaring you’re not old, you could be old and it would be no big deal. And you could go about enjoying your life.