How Old Is Too Old?

I study the little poofy ponytail in the mirror, the same type my hair has made since I was a little girl. The apartment is warm but I have work to do, vanity be damned.

I notice that my once-prominent cheekbones have softened my face into an oval, my dark hair now colored a lighter shade of brown to more effectively disguise the greys. Am I too old to be seen with a ponytail?

Which brings on the questions.

City people walk a lot, so my legs still look ok. But should I still wear skirts? Skinny jeans? Skinny skirts? Sure, especially to work or  if I have to be with hostile people.

At what age do we stop dancing? Not just the familial dancing at weddings but those rare, fun nights with friends and strangers on the dance floor. What about the dance classes that always made my back feel strong and limber?

I’m the oldest of many siblings and I often feel like an alien around them. My life references are different. I knew relatives and traditions that were lost to us before my sibs became cognizant. I live a more urban life than they chose. My high school and college music sound quite different from what they grew up with.

AARP cardI hope to barrel through midlife, living mostly in the here and now, my shiny new AARP card clenched in my teeth. I’ve got this.

I’ve written about it before and I will do it again. This is not my grandma’s midlife. My cooking and sewing skills aren’t as advanced as hers were. At my age she had raised not only her own kids, but some of her grandchildren as well. I don’t own a housedress.

Ageism is not new and it’s not unique. But the nine year-old girl with the poofy ponytail whom some kids were not allowed to play with because of her ethnicity is grown now. The same skills I developed to handle that will serve me well as a midlifer.

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11 thoughts on “How Old Is Too Old?

  1. Love this! And while your questions belong to us all and we will always find our own answers, my two cents: We should never question ourselves because of AGE. Nine or ninety-nine, the things that make us love, laugh, and live – we are who we are. Regardless of our age. And our age should never make us feel less than who we are.

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  2. A year or so ago, I was walking home from a late-evening meditation class and bumped into a neighbor. He went to school with my kids so he was a generation younger than me. He asked where I’d been and when I told him, he said, “When are you going grow old?” it was too dark out for him to be making a comment on my personal appearance. So it wasn’t about the pony tail.

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  3. You articulate so eloquently what so many of us ponder these days. I say go for the ponytail, showing off your legs and dancing–and screw what anyone else thinks. We only have this one life and–especially at this point in it–we must live it for ourselves.

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