Do you cringe when you hear a 35-year-old claim they are getting old? I bet you do if you’re a boomer, which means you are between 49 and 67. If you’re in the boomer age zone, how did you feel about age when you were 35? 45? Now?
I ‘collect’ people who are role models for creative aging, with the hope of learning from them. It could be people who do what they love regardless of expectations related to their age, including people I don’t know (Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Diane Sawyer) and people I do know (a former radio talk show host acquaintance who last time I saw her was still hosting a show and teaching two college courses at age 90). My mother and her older sister each also defied aging expectations and were great role models for getting older (and their brother married his second wife in his 80s).
I hope to be viewed as such a person one day, but on this day I am feeling old. I have a doctor appointment this morning to discuss a new recent pain around a twenty-three year old leg injury. Today I feel great and almost cancelled the appointment, which I just made yesterday. On Tuesday I experienced a sudden sharp pain at the injury site as I stood up to leave work, nearly fell over at my first step and continued to limp for the rest of the evening. There was still some pain Wednesday and a little bit yesterday, when I finally cut through the annoying voice answering system at the doc’s office to convince them I needed the appointment today and not next Wednesday. Today there is no pain but I am concerned that something might be wrong where the metal pin that is still connected to my leg bone after all these years.
Last time I saw this doctor in January for my cataract surgery pre-op exam (just saying that makes me feel old – I am actually young for cataract surgery but I’ve had it in both eyes now), the doctor, who I estimate to be in his 40s, said from this point forward I’ll be making friends with many doctors. The element of truth in his attempt at humor is actually a little depressing. My normally healthy, positive attitude combined with an incredible family history leads me to believe I have thirty to forty years ahead of me, maybe more. But many people I know, from a 33-year-old friend who thinks she’s old to a 48-year-old friend who thought her 62-year-old ex-husband was old to a 68-year-old co-worker who thinks he’s old to a 70-year-old neighbor who thinks she’s old, whine about getting old.
And now I’m doing it here in this blog, which began as a writing vehicle for observations about creative aging.
I really should be shining a spotlight on people who are healthy, vibrant and doing what they love, including musicians I mentioned a few paragraphs ago. Paul McCartney is 70, Mick Jagger is 69, Bruce Springsteen is 63, Tom Petty 62, George Strait is 60, Bono from U2 is 52. Willie Nelson celebrated his 80th birthday this week. Each of them is touring now or has toured in the past three years. I don’t hear them whining about aging. I don’t know that any of them have ever been hospitalized. George Strait rides horses and Harleys and Jagger’s recent concerts look like commercials for cardio exercise plans.
On a brighter note, check out this clip with Jagger.