Do people still use the phrase, “Act your age, not your shoe size?” Or, am I acting my age just my admitting I know it?
Recently, a friend sent me a chain email about how our view of age changes over time. As children and teens we love getting older, taking credit for half-years and future ages. We say things like, I’m six and a half, I’m almost ten, I’m going to be sixteen. Throughout adolescence, we set our sights on the Holy Grail—becoming twenty-one.
From there our language changes, we go over the hill at 30, push 40 and 50, reach 60, hit 70 and 80, make it to 90 and beyond.
I followed the typical pattern, longing to be sweet sixteen, almost-adult eighteen, and finally-legal twenty-one. In my late twenties, I fretted about approaching the hill that was 30, but then right before that birthday, I got engaged and we married later that year and for a long while, I stopped paying much attention to my age.
That is until two years ago, when I turned 60—and suddenly qualified for early retirement. Seriously? Early retirement? Me?
Sure, on some level, I always knew I was getting older, but I was not acutely aware. A fifty-something coworker summed it up when she learned I might early retire and said, “Wow, you qualify? All these years, I thought you were my age.”
The thing is I always thought I was her age, too!
Since then, I’m more aware of the signposts around me that suggest I am getting old. Often, when I am lugging and stacking firewood, or hauling and spreading a carload of mulch, or riding my bike in traffic, I ask myself, "Should someone my age be doing this?"
They say that age is just a number, that we are as young as we feel and act. I say, “Cool, that’s Totes McGotes!”
I tweet, use an iPad, want a new bike for my birthday next week, and know how to use Totes McGotes in a sentence.
How old does that make me?