Age Is Just A State Of Mind
By Kathy Koches
Most of the time I don’t think about my age. It is just something that is and it doesn’t bother me one way or the other. That old adage “You’re only as old as you feel” never meant much to me until recently. I had an “O” birthday this year, and now I understand. Some days I feel 90, and look in the mirror wondering who that old woman is looking back at me, but most days I feel younger than I am. The energy levels are not what they once were, but I’m still kicking and enjoying my life.
I am terrible at guessing ages, and always have been. I have good friends who are 15 years older and good friends who are 10 years younger and we rarely notice the difference in our age. My husband is 6 ½ years older than me, and while we didn’t know each other as children, we both grew up in Los Angeles, so share a lot of childhood memories of places and events. But every once in a while he will say to me, “Do you remember…….?” And I will have to respond with, “No, honey, I was only two at the time!”
Recently I had an experience that showed me just how bad I am at estimating people’s age. I went to the balnearios with three of my girlfriends for a “spa day” to relax and enjoy the thermal pools and each other’s company. As we approached the desk I happened to be the first in line. I whipped out my INAPAM card and asked for the “senior discount” which I happily received. I turned to my friends and said, “Do you all have INAPAM cards? If you do you will get a discount.” One of my friends smiled and said, “Nope, not old enough yet.” But my other friend…….oh, she was NOT happy with me. “Don’t you have to be 60 to get one?” she asked me. “Do I LOOK sixty?!”
I stammered and backpedaled and said, “Ummm, no, of course not. I just didn’t think about that.” She was honestly offended that I thought she could be old enough to qualify for an INAPAM card! I told her I truly meant no offense and I was only thinking of the discount that was available. She was decidedly cool towards me for quite some time, and it was only after I apologized several times that she said, “Oh, okay, don’t worry about it anymore.”
It was then that I realized I was the “old lady” of this group, and that I was, perhaps, 15 years older than one of them! This got me thinking about aging, and what it really meant to me. I do believe that moving to Lakeside has extended my life and improved my health. I am now retired, but it is more than that. It is an attitude, a way of living and enjoying each day as it comes. I now have time to, as the old cliché says, “stop and smell the flowers,” to try my hand at things I always wanted to do, such as writing, and to wake up each morning, grateful for another new day and the new adventures that await me.
I have learned to understand the saying “Don’t fear growing old; it is a privilege not given to everyone.”
But my favorite saying about old age is one that my husband says to me from time to time: “Grow old along with me; the best is yet to be.”