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A View From the Other Side of the Hill

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They say life is a roller coaster.

While I agree in principle with this metaphorical fact, I have only today come to the realization that it is not the twists and turns and upside down death defiance that make it so.  No my friends.  When they say life is a roller coaster, what they mean is that you get strapped into a restraint and spend a very, very long and slow chug up hill, listening to the click of the chain, holding tight to your shoulder harness and bracing yourself for the inevitable excitement of the ride.

Once you reach the summit, you have about a 5 second interval during which you look around, stunned by the glorious view from your stellar height.  Life is good in those 5 seconds.  You have made adulthood.  Your opinion is suddenly considered valid.  People cease to bully you.  You feel at ease in your own skin and stop apologizing for the space you occupy on this planet.

You have been validated.  You have ACHIEVED.

r.i.p.

I just woke up one day and I was… like, DEAD.

Then, quite without warning, the earth falls away, gravity takes over and you begin a precipitous and terrifying plunge toward the end of your metaphorical ride. Yay.

In other words, we spend all our youth trying to grow up, achieve adulthood for a good 5 seconds, and then we are suddenly, and quite without warning, on the other side of the proverbial hill.

I’ll never forget words of wisdom I received from a tiny and ancient little lady called Norah… she was just nearing 70 when I first met her, but she looked at least 100.  Still, there was a mischievous twinkle lurking behind the faded slate blue of her eyes.  “The heart is a funny thing,” she said sagely, “it never feels old.”  I looked at her and, from my 28-year-old perspective, I assumed Norah had always been old.  “I still feel 19 in my heart,” she said, “but then I look in the mirror and get a terrible shock…”

Norah was right.  I am shocked on a daily basis.

In my mind and in my heart, I still feel young.  I mean, seriously, very, very young.  Not like I am going to start wearing ripped jeans and get lip implants or go in for a Brazilian butt lift or anything, but I just don’t feel old at all.  Which is why it comes as such a rude shock when I am sharply reminded from time to time that I am, indeed, on the OTHER side of that hill, and that I need to just accept it and grow old gracefully.  (Is there such a thing?)

Somewhere in time, I stepped over an invisible line.  I was old.  Everyone knew it but me. 

These days, with our human obsession with youth culture – or, at the very least, Hollywood’s obsession with it – those of us on the OTHER side of the hill are feeling perplexed.  Do they want us to be old or not?

Take a look at the music charts.  Love songs only sell if they are sung by artists who have only just cleared puberty.

oneD

Yeah, these guys know ALL about love. Sure they do.

I don’t know about you, but when I was 15 I didn’t have the first CLUE what true love was.  Still, the teens and the twentysomethings are the love gurus of the universe.  They have been, apparently, since the 1950s.  Funny how I never realized that until I was well beyond those years.

When I was a girl, old ladies were expected to look old.  They were expected to act old.  There was no pressure to look like Madonna at 55… once you were 27 or so and had a baby, it was perfectly acceptable to stop chasing grays, tie your hair up in a bun, and everybody was happy.

1422569_1450101075228029_1216810693189373761_n

Evelyn Keyes in “The Seven Year Itch.” Twenty-seven, and over the hill…

These days, we are expected to look young pretty much forever.  Which, as far as I am concerned, is not a bad thing.  I don’t have many grays.  I am only 48.  Sure, I’m a grandmother, but I’m not dead yet.  I play frisbee… I ski… I can lift weights.  Did I mention, I’m not dead yet?

But here is the kicker:  As young as you ever look, as young as you ever feel, you are NOT, in fact, young.

If you are ever in doubt, try dancing at a party.  You pretty soon suss out that people are not laughing with you – they are laughing at you.

Try opening a Twitter account.  It is like a foreign language… and I am not computer illiterate by any stretch of the imagination!  Yeah, that’ll make you feel a proper granny…

Try telling a 28-year-old that you write a blog.  Watch them dissolve into gales of laughter and say, “You?  YOU?  REALLY?  You gotta be joking me!” (Blogging is, apparently, like Twitter, like Instagram, like ripped jeans and dance music, clearly the exclusive property of the young.  As in under 35.  Goodness, what on EARTH could someone of my age possibly have to say that was worth reading?)

As young as the world expects us “old people” to look, they still really, in their hearts, are quite happy for us to just be old.

I think I’ll go warm myself by the fire and lick my wounds.

And update my life insurance…

Mother Hen

Originally posted on facebook.com/motherhendiaries.com 10 May 2014

  • feature photo: Shutterstock
  • R.I.P.: costumeexpress.com
  • OneD: directlyrics.com
  • Evelyn Keyes: en.wikipedia.org

© motherhendiaries 2014 all rights reserved

32 replies »

  1. Every time I read one of your posts, I think – hey – that is ME! I could have wrote exactly the same post – if I was as talented as you 🙂 – except I’m 51 not 48, and I don’t ski – 🙂 Great post – enjoyed every word MH!

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    • Thanks, Jodi – that is high praise! Actually, I just turned 49 recently – I penned this post back in May for my facebook page and just ripped myself off. 🙂 As for the talent part, that is up for debate… haha! I figure we have GOT to laugh at all of this, Jodi… we are stuck in a netherland between youth and old age, expected to look young, but when we do people are all, “what’s with YOU anyway?? Don’t you have some crocheting you need to get back to?” I’m not sure which way the ageism axe is swinging, but I plan on going out fighting! 😀 xx MH

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  2. One of my favorite women is in her 60s and is running spartan races. Only a few years back, she ran the Chicago marathon. Two years ago, she travelled to Antarctica with national geographic. All of this after surviving breast cancer, and earning a doctorate (after 45). She has taught me that age is mostly just a number, and perhaps one that we should pay much attention to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What an inspiration! 🙂 I have an aunt (she is Finnish, of course – it’s a Viking thing) – who was running marathons right up to her 70s. Bless her… I’m not quite that athletic. However, as you say, age is mostly just a number. A reference point for our doctor or our biological calendar, perhaps – but when it comes to what we have going on inside, it is really not that big a deal. But try convincing a twenty-something of that fact… haha! I have decided to just have private laughs with them in person, and public laughs out here in blogland. It’s a pretty happy place to be, really… xx MH

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  3. We’ll, I’ll just slide back into my rocker here and finish my warm milk before limping into bed. I should have taken a second nap today but I was to tired from the first..

    Liked by 1 person

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