At 60 there was little doubt Cathy and I were totally fabulous. Fabulous is many things, but simply put it indicates living and deciding how to live at a constant state of high standards and strong principles – being a good person, a good citizen, family member and friend. It is caring about oneself and one’s life, work, obligations and connections and, yes, how we look. It implies trying harder and doing more than just slouching toward the end zone of one’s life.
A fabulous woman has respect for everyone and many things, but most definitely respects and cherishes herself. Fabulous women aren’t victims, takers, people who do the minimum, connivers or bad people. They are not perfect but they are perfectly fine in the broadest sense of that word and absolutely self responsible.
At 65, we know we are still completely capable of being fabulous. But, it is no longer a given. Working at being fabulous takes more energy that on some days we just don’t have (or what I find very telling), we don’t want to have. Let me not speak for “us”; let me say for just me, some days it is now OK for me not to be fabulous. Ouch. I never thought I would say that. But it is true. Finally, at age 65, I just let myself off the hook in one or another small way that I have learned doesn’t matter or shouldn’t matter any more. And in my view, that means I am not quite as fabulous – but fabulous enough.
The term I am getting more comfortable with is “older”. I know I am not young. I know I am not middle aged, but I am not yet ready to be called or labeled old. To me old, and I do think I will be old, is 80 and up. Just how I feel it goes in this early part of the 21st century. Certainly 100 or less years from now, old may be 90 – or 100 – but from where I sit, where and what I see, it is now 80. Of course I know developmental psychologists have a number of models that label stages of life in other terms than simply old and young and older. Stages of one’s life is a common way of looking at a person’s life from birth till death that explains the challenges and approaches to life one takes at various times. It is interesting reading if you haven’t had the chance to explore it.
I bring this up because my comfort with being called and labeled “older”, is for me a great bit of progress. Being “older” doesn’t let me off the hook for anything I don’t want to do anymore. That is being lazy – and women who use the “I am older” card to get out of perfectly simple things clearly are not fabulous. But being “older” to me implies I have had certain experiences that have given me knowledge about what works for me and what does not work for me right now.
I have exercised enough to know when my body says no more and means it.
I have prayed enough and meditated enough to know when it isn’t worth praying for something or my mind and heart are not ready for the truths being whispered to my highest self.
I have worked enough to know when something just isn’t worth the time, effort or money that has to go into it to achieve anything.
I have done enough things that I did not want to do believing they were the right or only thing to do to know for sure that some things are truly important and absolutely worth doing even if you don’t want to. But that list is VERY small versus all the stuff I thought was on that list.
And I have worn enough “on sale” or second rate outfits to know being cheap with oneself is always a bad investment.
So I am at peace with being older – and I like it. It doesn’t hurt my feelings that I just don’t want to do or be something anymore. Selectively it is OK. It is what I earned. I am not so much letting myself off the hook as I am conserving my lessening energy and passion for those things and people that honestly are important for me now.
If you just give up because things are hard, you lose your fabulous self. But when you are more discriminating in the BEST sense of that word, you become someone more deeply yourself: mysterious and wonderful. “Older” – and that is just fabulous enough for me.