Is there something wrong with me?
I’m 73-years-old and I can honestly say, I have never been on the wrong side of “ageism.” I’ve never had anyone ignore me because of my age, discount me because of my age, not hire me because of my age, not make love to me because of my age, not do anything because of my age.
Don’t get me wrong—I have had all of these things happen, but I promise you when they did happen, it wasn’t because of my age, but rather because of my attitude.
I’ve had people not talk to me at dinner parties, at my own daughter’s table—but then, I’d expected them to talk to me—and moreover—to talk to me like the Queen that I thought I was.
I’ve had people not hire me because of my age but then, I expected them to understand that it was just fine that I didn’t know anything about social media and that I could learn but by the way, they owed it to me to cut me lots of slack because of my long learning curve and forget the fact that they needed someone right away.
And yes, I have had some men decide that I was too old for them—but these were men my age who were projecting their own fears of aging onto me.
Speaking for myself, I am in the very best decade of my life.
Do I look the same as I once did? Hell no. But I am still beautiful. Not beautiful in that 30 or 40 or even 50-year-old beautiful way, that I once was, but beautiful in this 70-year-old way.
Can I still do the things I once did? Probably not. I’m too busy doing the things I can do now.
More importantly, I know who I am. I know my faults and my failings, my insights, my gifts and what I have to offer. I know that I don’t have to have any of this recognized by anyone else—I just have to own up to it to myself. I also know that I don’t know everything, that my opinions matter, not much to anyone but me. And that I can, in fact, an old dog can be taught new tricks—I still have a lot of new tricks to learn. Bring ‘em on!
Am I living in the same universe, where people are writing about being discriminated against because of their age, feeling invisible because they are wrinkled. Where they don’t have the respect of their children, peers, people at work, grocery clerks or medical professionals—they are seen as a drag on society or they are not seen at all? Am I?
I say, come and look at the world through my window.
Come and look at this wonderful world, that is still thrilled to have an old lady like me in it, in which people/strangers write to me and ask my thoughts on this, that or the other thing, a world in which my children tell me how to invest my money or how to dress. I take it as love, not disrespect.
A world where my third husband loves me more and more and in which I can flirt outrageously with the bartender and enjoy myself thoroughly just because he and I both know there are no expectations.
In my world, I have to lay down and have a nap every day and don’t bother myself about it, but enjoy it.
I paint, write stories and do my legal transcription for lawyers, who are one-third my age and smarter than me. I get my nails painted, in red, and go on new vegan diets and still drink two shots of tequila with dinner every night.
Is this the wonderful world, that I read about, in which ageism abounds?
Maybe I live in a fairy-tale world. Or maybe it’s one of my own making?
Maybe when I’m 93 I’ll feel differently. Lordy, I hope not.
Author: Carmelene Siani
Editor: Asheigh Hitchcock