There have been many milestones in the journey of my life. Some conventional – first kiss, first job, marriage, having children, becoming a grandparent. Other milestones have been rich life lessons – leaving home, surviving disappointment, gaining some self-awareness and autonomy, and realizing my parents are real people.
With my 65th birthday barreling down, I experienced another milestone. I signed up for Medicare. My wallet now contains my crisp, new Medicare card, my Medicare supplement card and a shiny red AARP card! There was a time in my life when I thought of 65 as over the hill. Now I think of it as just settling into the best years of life.
Many friends have told me that I am “aging well”, but what does that mean? To age well, do we have to look younger than our age? I am looking to be a better version of my younger self, not a younger version of my current self. Despite our ageist society, I see aging well as living a purposeful and creative life. I want to be open to new ideas and adventures, often stepping out of my comfort zone.
I still want to dress well and have the energy to hike a mountain trail with Mr. Smith. I still want to be seen. One problem with growing older is that you are often treated as if you are invisible. My sister and I were shopping one day and approached the counter for her to purchase a pair of pants. She must have really wanted those black and white houndstooth pants because she tolerated the rude salesperson who directed all her questions and conversation to me, ignoring my sister who was actually making the purchase! This is never acceptable, besides the person assisting us was a mature woman and should have been aware that older doesn’t mean invisible.
As my pandemic 65th birthday approaches, I know it won’t be the celebration I once envisioned. I will spend the next month thinking on how I can make it memorable. Champagne, cake and Mr. Smith come to mind. And what’s a birthday without gifts??? For my 65th, I plan to give myself the gifts of better perspective on life, more self-confidence, and letting go of old grudges. And should family or friends choose to add to my gift pile, all the better! Gifts from the heart are always the best. And of course, I never say no to jewelry, especially jewelry from the heart!
C’est la vie.