Deborah is a writer, healer, and teacher. Her goal is to help people live their best lives every day by sharing her joy and love of life.
You're Never Too Old
How OLD Are You?
I don't know how to act my age. Looking in the mirror, I pause, wondering. Inside, my mind reels with activity, thoughts, dreams, plans, goals. Outside, I am my mother. "How did she get here?", I wonder.
I began using wrinkle cream years ago. At forty two, I feared I had damaged my skin beyond repair, during my youthful days of sunning myself. Spending hours everyday, religiously rubbing oil, rolling myself every half hour. Too thin to care about exercise. Too vain to care about skin cancer.
Now, in my fifties, I try to keep a balanced perspective. While I can't undo the damage done in my early years, I work hard to take care of my skin now. I examine my sunspots closely, hoping they will fade. I religiously apply sunscreen. I wear a hat. The things my older friends do. We are hoping to slow the clock, as it marches relentlessly forward.
But I still don't act my age. I wear bikinis. I wear skirts and shorts and try to have as much fun as I can, every day.
Beyond the physical aspect, I do not know how to act the proper mental age. My friends are in their fifties and sixties. We all want to learn. We want to grow. We thirst for knowledge, we hunger for learning, and we want to teach others. The younger ones. But they aren't hungry yet, for what old ladies know. They don't respect the vast knowledge that years bring. They enjoy the blissful ignorance of youth. Book knowledge, without experience. They have learned, but they have not yet lived.
I may be getting older, but now, I am fully alive.
The Aging Process
Aging With Children
Now that I'm approaching the halfway point of my life, I can look back at a lot of the questionable choices I made. Married. Divorced. Remarried. Again. And then again. Learning lessons in love and marriage.
I have lots of kids. And I have learned lessons in becoming an adult every day since the first one arrived. I have learned about sending children off to school, and homeschooling, and teenaged daughters and sons and adult children. The lessons I learn from my eight children are sometimes painful, sometimes beautiful, and always, always memorable. Children take you places you never thought you'd go.
Through the pain of actual childbirth, to the pain of watching my children suffer, the pain and anxiety of watching them grow into adults and make their own decisions and their own mistakes, I have grown.
The experience of raising children has been teaching me and aging me since I was a mere child of 18. Looking back, I am amazed that I felt so grown up and capable at the time. When looking at my own children, as they pass the magic age of 18, I can't imagine burdening them with the worries of raising a child.
Becoming a parent ages you in ways that you can never imagine, and takes from you a carefree nature that you will never recover. Being a parent never ends, and you never get back those years. They are not lost, but you have been altered and aged.
Hopefully, with children and parenting comes wisdom and maturity. While that isn't always the case, we can hope that our children will make us better people.
A Granny who knows how to say young!
The Sting of Death
Death, Where is Thy Sting?
I have not yet been widowed. My parents live on. The sting of death has touched me closely only a few times, but they were memorable.
My sister died at a relatively young age, 21. She had lived a lifetime in those few years. She lived fast and wild and free, in a way that made me envious due to my own responsibilities.
My sister's death left a permanent, indelible mark on my mother's spirit. My mother has hurt for years.She has suffered a lifetime of pain, since the passing of my baby sister. I was too young and self involved to see beyond my own pain. I wish I could have offered my mother comfort when she needed it.
Now that I understand my mother's great loss, the scar is set on her heart. Her pain deep and untouchable. She aged a lifetime, giving up her desire for fun and youth to grieve the loss of her beloved daughter.
My own children live healthy lives, and I sometimes feel guilty for my good fortune. I realize that I have no control over their lives, nor their eventual deaths. I have let go of micro-managing every decision and move they make. And I watch them as they age, with a mix of angst for the future, relief that they have made it this far, and anticipation for the things they will accomplish.
My former husband, and the father of my two oldest children, passed away suddenly, at the young age of 57. The shock of his passing left my children heartbroken and without anchor. He was a great dad to them, and the loss still impacts all of us.
The truth is, we will all fill the sting of death eventually. Rather than live enshrouded in fear, let us celebrate the gift of life. Let us live fully and completely while we walk this place.
Gaining Freedom and Finding Youth
I spent my children's youth, and much of my own youth shrouded in fear. I clothed my fear in religious zealotry, thinking religion could save me from the dark scary world. I sheltered my children, home schooled them and protected them in the name of God.
I hid myself. Cowered from my husband and hoped that God would save me. God wasn't love back then. He was punishment, vengeance, and anger. I knew I was paying for my youthful indiscretions, and for things I might do wrong in the future.
I didn't act my age then. I acted old, dead, and scared. Life was not for living. It was for enduring. There was not much I enjoyed, there wasn't much life in me, and I certainly felt old beyond my years. I was filled with fear, dread and anticipation of worse to come.
Slowly I emerged. After twenty years of penance, I broke free from the chains of fear that bound me. In the process of grasping my freedom, I discovered a God of love, forgiveness and peacefulness. I learned that life is for living, exploring, and enjoying. In the process of becoming free, I became a much younger, happier version of myself.
And now. Now, I certainly don't act my age. I feel alive, young, eager, hopeful. I want to learn, to know, to grow. And when I look in the mirror, I wish I had started sooner. I figure I am about halfway through my journey on this earth, in this form. I want to make a mark, albeit a small one. I want to touch and heal lives. I want to make a difference in someone's life today.
The Fountain of Youth
Never Grow Old!
So how do you act your age? I wish I knew. My kids wish I knew. Their stodgy, strict, angry, fearful mother has transformed into a free flying spirit, embracing the cosmic energy, and flowing with the movement of the angels. They hardly know what to do with me. I hardly know what to do with myself.
My advice for acting your age: Grow. Be happy. Wear sunscreen, and a hat. Do something to brighten someone else's day. Be the best you that you can be. And that is the age you should act.
Never Grow Old
© 2010 Deborah Reno
Deborah Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on December 03, 2012:
Thank you epigramman, warmest wishes to you as well!
epigramman on December 01, 2012:
....Tom Waits has a fabulous song you can find on You Tube called I don't wanna grow up - and yes I love how you personalize your writing and tell it like it is - with sincerity, passion and conviction.
And of course there's another breed of animal (lol) who fits the theme of your hub presentation: the single man in his 50's who is owned by two cats - lol - and sending you warm wishes and good energy from lake erie time ontario canada 12:45am while listening to Leonard Cohen - great late night music
U Neek from Georgia, USA on May 03, 2010:
There is one good thing about getting older, other than having more birthdays, I'm not nearly so concerned with what other people think. I think about what they might think, and think, so what, they haven't experienced my life! I do feel sorry for my hubby sometimes, as he is suddenly married to a stranger and she doesn't act her age, her IQ or mind her manners at times. Thanks for a great hub! Here's to being ourselves, whoever they may be!!
Micky Dee on April 30, 2010:
The lady in the video was young! Thanks Deborah!
Kelley Marks from Sacramento, California on April 29, 2010:
Hey, at 42 you haven't begun to age! Anyway, I think acting one's age is a matter of attire. If you don't have good legs, please don't show them to me! Later!
breakfastpop on April 29, 2010:
I love this hub. Your writing is superb and I appreciate the openness with which you view your life. I have never really cared about acting my age because half the time I can't remember what age I actually am. The truth is I'm open to everything and everyone. I am friendly with 23 year olds and 86 year olds because everyone has something wonderful to bring to a relationship and I could care less about their actual number. The funny thing is yesterday I heard a commentator on television refer to a 66 year old woman as elderly. That blew me away, 60 is the new 50!
Deborah Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on April 29, 2010:
Thanks for the beautiful poem MFB, and thanks to everyone who has stopped by.
Matthew Frederick Blowers III from United States on April 29, 2010:
Never forget to play
it is the greatest
therapy of all,
find some wonder
in the world
and wallow in it.
Every day there are
new wonders to enjoy.
Laugh often and loudly
for it contagious and
the world is sorely
lacking for laughter.
Keep the little girl
inside you happy,
let her come out and
dance across your face,
far from your troubled childhood,
and savor its sweet taste.
We gorw old too fast,
but I have feeling that
heaven is chock full of
little kids who used
to be old,
and all day they delight
in their newfound innocence,
and play endlessly beneath
the glorious Sun of God,
Superb write~~~MFB III
Feline Prophet on April 28, 2010:
They say you're only as old as you feel...and young as you think! And while I may feel my age sometimes, I certainly don't think I'm anywhere near it! :)
prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 28, 2010:
Very inspiring hub. I am 31 and still going to find about the life. I hope someone love and care for me...amen. Great hub and two thumbs Up for you.
Katie McMurray from Ohio on April 28, 2010:
Deborah, I refuse to act my age... what is that anyway. Great Hub, Thanks and Peace:)
Ethel Smith from Kingston-Upon-Hull on April 28, 2010:
Act however old you feel. I am 58 and going to grow old disgravefully.I have far too many wrinkles and not only see my mother in the mirror at times but hear her voice coming out of me. We need to just learn to laugh at life and ourselves.
You will have far more experiences than you credit yourself with.
Deborah Reno (author) from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD on April 28, 2010:
Thank for stopping by and reading. I hope to die dancing.
Tammy Lochmann on April 28, 2010:
Great reflection...I have been asking myself the same questions I don't feel like a 40-something I still feel like I did when I was a lot (A LOT) younger. Sure I know more now than I did then but I am happier. I guess because I have been there done that. I share your enthusiasm. Cheers!
Enlydia Listener from trailer in the country on April 27, 2010:
Shari from New York, NY on April 27, 2010:
interesting I was just talking to my daughter who will be 21 this Halloween .. and I was telling her it is impossible that she is going to be 21 if I am only 28! Great Hub. . way to go . . 60Dc and you are doing great!
suny51 on April 27, 2010:
why should we 'act'DD,we should be what we are,at our best,to the fullest, we have every right to live like we are.God bless you.
Alice Lee Martin from Sumner, Washington,USA on April 27, 2010:
This is perfectly wonderful Deb! I remember when reading "Tuesdays with Morrie" that he says we are every age we have ever been and ever will be! We embody that childlike wonder, that teenage angst and the twenty-something frenzy to be, do and get everything...and as we age...we also bring all that, which has ever been and ever will be "potential" and are who we are perfectly. There is nothing we went through that was not perfectly aligned with be-coming!
I know I am young inside, and as the outside may shrivel, or line, or atrophy...I have the wisdom to know I am as young as I please! Why do we say we are "50 years old?" anyway...why not 50 years "young"....age is like a clock, invented to keep track...but when not thought about, life still goes on ticking...
Love the Hub, your energy and reflective nature!
lmmartin from Alberta and Florida on April 27, 2010:
There is no such thing as acting your age. I am resentful of the idea there is a certain way to act at each age -- what: are we living according to a script? Don't worry -- just be yourself and if you are eighty on the outside and twenty on the inside -- who is to say it's wrong? God loves us anyway we are. Lynda