Numbers Game

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Today I was buying a coat and as the cashier was entering the information into the till she hesitantly and apologetically asked if I was 60 yet. No I said, but close. She explained that she had to ask because some people look a lot younger than they are and miss out on the seniors discount.

I said, I’d be all over that discount if I was of age. And it’s only a number don’t be embarrassed.

But I guess she was complementing me in a polite way-looking perhaps young if I were 60. Not sure. She was maybe 20, and everyone over 40 would look 60 in her eyes. I was 20 once too.

But why is it considered an embarrassment – like I should feel somehow deflated to think she thought I was older than I am chronologically?  Well I guess I might inwardly wince if she thought I was say 15 years older than my actual age. I’m being truthful here.

My mother is 89 and although she has some issues of some restricted mobility she looks much younger than her years, and in her mind she feels younger than 89. In fact she’s astounded when I remind her she’s nearly 90 (those times when she forgets). She can’t believe it. One day she said out of the blue when I walked through her door, I need to go shopping for some clothes. When I asked her what she’d like to look for she said, I don’t know, then asked, do I dress alright? She had my curiosity by this point. She went on to tell me that she thought she should maybe start wearing “old lady” clothes.

I restrained my chuckle. She followed with, I think I look alright, but other people I see that are my age dress differently. She often wears skinny jeans, (they’re like support stockings, she says, good for her knees), hates wearing socks in her Keds, wears comfortable tops and ties it all together with a rather liberal outlook and bright attitude. And she does look good in what she wears. It’s not her intention to act more youthful, or even dress more youthful, it’s just who she is. She has inner youth. I reassured her that she looks fine, that if she began wearing micro minis and crop tops then there’d be a reevaluation on the subject. But she does her best to keep current, she has had an iPhone for a few years now, and with our help, a Facebook page, which she does need a hand in navigating, but once shown, again, how to access her page she’s good to go.

IMG_1549She is showing me how to navigate too.

When I left that store today and walked to my car I knew what I should have said to the young cashier, what I’ve said many times on other occasions, but didn’t today. I would say to her there have been some family members and good friends who didn’t make it to 50, some far less. I’m 56 and happy to be here, I’ll take as many more years as I may be graced with and be happy there too, no matter how “old” I may happen to look. Bring_it_on.

Can’t we see aging as a privilege? To be alive long enough to be witness to whatever World/Humanity changes that will come?

That’s pretty cool.


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