top of page

The Old Woman I Will Be

ANOTHER BIRTHDAY.

A BIG ONE. 65.

Over the last few weeks, I have been preoccupied with the significance of 65.

Two thirds of my life is behind me. Maybe more. Do I have 30 years left? What if it is only 10?

I’ve wasted a lot of time in 65 years.

John Lennon said,

“Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.”

But have I enjoyed it? It’s gone now… all those hours waiting for boys to call or vegging in front of TV or playing online games or shopping for things I hardly ever wear. I can’t get those hours back.

But I want to make the most of whatever time I have left – and to enjoy that time. Maybe that still means television and shopping. But maybe not.

I will soon (not quite yet) be an old woman.

I’ve been asking myself:

What kind of old woman do I want to be?

I’ve haven’t decided, but I know a few things.

FOR ONE THING, I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A RELIEF TO BE OLD, AND NO LONGER CONCERNED ABOUT MY APPEARANCE. NOT TRUE. I CARE.

I want to always care. How I look on the outside impacts how I feel about myself. This has always been true, and in the past, it was often in a negative way. I never even felt pretty until I turned sixty. But surprisingly I found I liked my sixty-year-old looks. And at 65, I feel quite beautiful. That’s such a lovely feeling. I’m keeping it. I don’t want to look like an old woman trying desperately to be young. But I will be a beautiful old woman, with good hair and makeup and carefully chosen clothes.

I want to be a smart old woman. I’ll stay interested in politics and the environment and literature and the arts. My father suffered from mild dementia late in life, and I recognize that could happen to me too. If it does, I hope people will be as kind to me as they were to my dad. Maybe I will at least be lucky enough to stay smart in something. My father could still follow the football game. If I can still read a book, I will be happy enough.

Some people tell me they look forward to the freedom to be outspoken. But I come from a long line of non