When I turned thirty, I wrote an article about growing old gracefully. Was that really seventeen years ago? It seems more like seventeen months. I’ve never been hung up on age. I don’t care who knows I’m forty-seven. Maybe it’s because ever since I was child, I’ve always done things early.
When people tell me I don’t look old enough to be a grandmother, it’s really not a complement, because I’m not. I married my husband when I was eighteen. I gave birth to our eldest when I was nineteen and our youngest was born when I was twenty-one. When my son was in high school, he used to tell everyone my age when he introduced me. “Because I don’t want anyone to think you had me in high school.”
We live in an age-restricted community. You have to be forty-five to live here. My mother-in-law lives with us and my parents live two houses down. I think I’m the youngest one in this community. There are nine who are under the age of sixty; most of the residents are in my parents’ age group.
So in nearly every group, I’m one of the youngest, which helps me feel young. Someone reading this who is older than me will say, “You ARE young!” But a younger person might say, “Whatever! You ARE old.” So we can establish that age is relative and feeling old or young is a state of mind.
Part of aging well is genetics. Either you are blessed with good genes or you’re not. You will probably age as well as your parents. My dad’s father had blond hair until he was about eighty and then it seemed to turn overnight. My dad is about to turn seventy-five and he has just a touch of white around his sideburns. I love this because we have the same hair. Each year that my dad stays blond, I cheer because I’m anticipating my hair will respond just like his.
So what does it mean to grow old gracefully? Is plastic surgery OK? Is it wrong to dye your hair? What does God think about Botox? Please join me as I explore all of these questions and more over the next few weeks.