Just a Number?

Yesterday, I took the FJ to the car wash to have Mark’s “red-neck paint job” (up-north mud!) removed.  When I stepped up to the counter to pay, the woman looked at me for a moment and then asked, “Are you 55?”

Several seconds ticked off the clock as I swallowed, took a deep breath and murmured, “No, no I’m not.” 

After I paid, I walked over to the large windows to watch my vehicle coming through the wash.  From the outside, I may have looked serene, but inside I was screaming.  Do I look 55?  Seriously – DO I LOOK 55??

Later, as I prepared for bed, I washed my face, brushed my teeth, flossed and applied my age reversing cream which obviously is not working and stared a long time in the mirror.  Do I look 55?  I wondered again.  And what does 55 look like?

I am less than two weeks away from my 50th birthday.  I have had a year to get used to the idea of turning a half-century old.  I remember quite well the day last spring when Mark and I were hiking up north and I admitted to him that I was going to have a hard time turning 50 and he had a year to prepare for it.  I had no trouble at all with 30 or 40, but 50 – well, that’s been hard to get used to.  Although, as my dad would say, it’s better than the alternative!

People keep telling me it’s “just a number”, but is it?  Personally, I think that’s just something people who don’t like their age any better than I do say to comfort themselves.  And then there’s the other old stand-by – you’re only as old as you feel.  As if our birth dates don’t really matter at all and we can just determine for ourselves how old we really are.  Or how old we’d like to be.

I always looked young for my age, but I guess time and gravity are catching up with me.  I guess I’m going to have to get used to being asked if I qualify for the senior citizens’ discount.  It’s so weird because inside, in my head and in my heart, I still feel like I did at 30.  But the physical reality is that I cannot do the same things I did 20 years ago.  Oh, I’m in pretty good shape.  I exercize daily and stay very active.  I eat pretty healthy, most of the time.  I did have to resort to coloring my hair.  I just wasn’t ready for all that gray!  (Uh-oh, the secret’s out!)

No matter how hard I try, I can’t convince myself that my age is “just a number”.  It’s more than a number, it’s a constant reminder of how long I’ve been on this earth, and how much time I may have left.  Every time I’m writing and I can’t find the word I’m desperately searching for in my brain, it’s another reminder that I’m getting old(er).  Every time I get up from the chair and I have that stabbing pain in my right hip where I wore out my SI joint five years ago, I’m reminded I’m not getting any younger.

Ah well, such is life.  We grow old.  Thankfully, I have eternity to look forward to, where there will be no more aging, no more aching joints, no more gray hair.  I will remember all the words.  But until then, please don’t ask me if I qualify for the senior discount.

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12

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12 Responses to Just a Number?

  1. Nancy says:

    Well you made me smile Amy and since I am 15 years older then you I can say fifty is not so bad. I never minded birthdays until I turned 60 and I will say that really really bothered me. This year I have to face that my baby is turning 40 and my baby sister is 50. I think I will stop counting birthdays and call them something else like a celebrate life day.

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  2. Aunt Zelah says:

    it took me almost 85 years to realize that I am getting OLD! Inside my head I’m not over 50. Its the look of that person in the mirror that finally convinced me it’s time to admit that I can be happy and old. (don’t know if is Dementia or not, rather not know) smile

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  3. I know the feeling. Last year as I was pondering my choices as far as where to live, it dawned on me that I now qualify to move into a senior condo development, what a shock.

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  4. I totally understand! Though I have 3 years till the big 50 😉 ~ I have been dreading getting older for years! At 30 (seriously) I felt that it was the magic year that I could no longer blame anything on my youth. Even though I was married and very responsible by time I was 19….I just felt the time and any traces of my youth had passed. Now, I tell myself quite often that the 40’s are the “new” 30’s. I read it somewhere and it’s become my mantra. LOL So, don’t worry…. you’re not turning 50…it’s just another 40!!! (and you don’t look 55 from your picture, I bet the woman at the car wash counter had forgotten her glasses that day)

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    • Well, she was squinting! LOL And yeah, a lot of people keep telling me that 50 is the new 40! I guess I have to just keep active. I have a sister who is going to be 57 and she still rides horses, lives alone, cleans stalls, hauls hay, chops wood, and my dad just turned 86, so I guess I have pretty good genes.

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  5. Kathy says:

    I had a hard time at 30 it was not my favorite year. Not so much about age but my emotions were up and down. It took awhile but I decided to like myself just as I am. I still work at my weight, I no longer color my hair, I use a dictionary to write because of my spelling, God made me this way and if it’s good enough for Him it’s good enough for me. I think of the years past and all the hard work, the hurts, the Love of my family, the joys and I think I worked for those years and I will count every one of them because I earned them. But here are some saying to ease the mind. ” To me old age is always ten years older than I am” or how about ” Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional” or ” Youth is the gift of nature but age is the work of art” or ” It takes a long time to grow young” or the one by Abraham Lincoln “And in the end, it’s not the years in your like that count, It’s the life in your years.” .. So color your hair, use your age reversing cream and remember that woman probably didn’t have on her glasses because they make her look old, so next time say ” Why yes do I get a discount.” then go buy chocolate
    with the money you saved.

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  6. Hey, I saw on the news recently that there are some really great deals on senior condos in Florida! 😉 I think part of my trouble comes from being the baby of the family. I always felt “little” and young. Now I’m going to be 50 and several of my older sisters are on social security! 😮

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  7. kyotoredbird says:

    I had a bit of a crisis turning 25 this year! Not bad. Just a “wow” moment. High school doesn’t seem like it was that long ago! I was working with some teens at the dance recital last night and it hit me that I was at least ten years older than all of them and that they had to listen to me because i was the adult in charge. It was kind of a weird feeling.

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    • The older you get, the faster time goes. It gets rather frightening by the time you hit 50 and it seems like life went by in a blink! Soon you will be glad you look so young for your age. 🙂

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