You’re old. You sag. Get over it!

Sophia Petrillo on The Golden Girls certainly has a way with words!

Sophia Petrillo SmallerI never watched The Golden Girls when it was in “prime time,” but I love to catch the reruns. And Sophia is my favorite!

As The Golden Girls Wiki on Fandom points out, “Sophia is best known for her wisecracks, put-downs and brazen remarks.” I do think “You’re old–You sag–Get over it” meets all three criteria! Let’s just say Sophia isn’t known to pull any punches.

The Golden Girls offers a comedic perspective on what “old age” was like in Miami in the late 1980’s. What totally amazes me now is that when The Golden Girls premiered in 1985, actress Rue McClanahan (Blanche) was actually 51, Bea Arthur (Dorothy) was 63, Betty White (Rose) was 63, and Estelle Getty (my Sophia) was 62!! What’s wrong with that picture?? I’m 70! If they were old, what am I?? Aye yai yai.

But I digress. Regardless of the ages of the actresses playing the roles, cheerful programming about aging women was and is a welcome diversion from programming that exalts youth and beauty above all else and minimizes the value of those of us who have celebrated many, many birthdays. While certainly there are stereotypes in The Golden Girls, the program balances happy times and sad times and also exemplifies the importance of sharing our lives with kindred spirits who will help us navigate our ups and downs with both humor and caring.

Moving on now from The Golden Girls…a 2017 HBO documentary entitled If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast is worth checking out. First of all, I love the title! In the article The Sunny, Funny View of Old Age, Sophie Gilbert describes how in this Emmy-nominated documentary “acclaimed nonagenarians including Carl Reiner and Betty White challenge stereotypes about life after 90.” Now I’m feeling a bit more youthful!

Sophia Petrillo’s harsh quip about aging aside, whether we’re mere septuagenarians or we’re current or aspiring nonagenarians, we can do ourselves the favor of maintaining a positive spirit and being grateful for our blessings.  And also – for good measure – let’s be sure to do what Oprah advises…“Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.”

Great advice, I’d say!

P.S. Thanks, Pat, for the great “tip” about If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat BreakfastIt’s a keeper!

Toto, We’re Not In Kansas Anymore…

And that could be a GOOD thing!

Dorothy 2 with borderHow many times have I seen The Wizard of Oz?  Too many to count! Many lessons could be learned from that enduring old movie. Today I’m thinking about how Dorothy’s “We’re not in Kansas anymore” observation applies to those of us at 70 years old – or older – now.

Not so long ago being 70 often meant watching the world pass you by. It doesn’t have to be that way! Today at 70 we can choose to be a part of the world around us…and be happy and content. While the media and even some of our contemporaries might suggest that folks our age are depressed and lonely, thankfully that is often simply not the case.

An article in The Guardian entitled Could your 60s and 70s be the best decades of life? shares great insights. For example, “Research suggests that…sixty-five to 79 is the happiest age group for adults…” Is that not a “delicious surprise”?!?

This article also quotes Monica Hartwell, 69, as saying, “The joy of getting older is much greater self-confidence…It’s the loss of angst about what people think of you: the size of your bum or whether others are judging you correctly.  It’s not an arrogance, but you know who you are when you’re older and all those roles you played to fit in when you were younger are irrelevant.” Such liberation! I love it!

Will all of us in our 70’s be traveling, running marathons, or creating unbelievable adventures? No. The lives we create in our 70’s will be as diverse as the lives we created in our younger years. Each of our journeys through the 70’s and beyond will be both personal and unique. What’s really important is that we surround ourselves with kindred spirits – people who share our perspectives, interests and values. And don’t forget. Even if we can’t get “out and about” to do that, we can connect with those kindred spirits virtually…like we’re doing right now, “as we speak”!

No, we’re not in Kansas anymore. We’re not 40 or 50 or even 60 now. However…we can choose to be joyful and grateful…and embrace life with a positive spirit!  Let’s view our 70’s as an interesting new beginning.

In the words of an old Swedish proverb, “Those who wish to sing always find a song.”

So…let’s find our songs!

A Rose by Any Other Name…

Am I “revered”…or just plain “old”?

Pink Rose 2 with outlineIn Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare penned that, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” We could debate the context of that proclamation, or we can just use it as the starting point for a conversation about how we are perceived as we age.

I’m seventy years old.  Am I officially elderly? Did I cross that threshold years ago and just didn’t know it yet? Or…am I a distinguished person whose life and experiences are valued? That depends in large part on your perspective.

In the American culture youth is valued. Actually that’s really quite an understatement! As we baby boomers age, the market for face creams, cosmetic surgery and other harbingers of the illusive fountain of youth continues to grow.  Someone near and dear to me has laughingly professed that each night she washes a hundred dollars’ worth of makeup off her face!

A message that implicitly runs loud and clear in the American culture is that we lose our value as we age. We might be thought of as a fossil, an old goat, over the hill, or even decrepit. (Yikes!) The list goes on and on.

But wait! Some cultures actually do value aging! In an article in the Huffington Post aptly entitled 7 Cultures that Celebrate Aging and Respect Their Eldersauthor Taylor French shares that…

•  Koreans are socialized to respect and show deference to older individuals.
•  In ancient Rome, elders were a precious resource.
•  In India, elders are the head of the family.
•  In the Native American culture…elders are respected for their wisdom and life experiences.
•  In Greek…culture, old age is honored and celebrated, and respect for elders is central to the family.

I feel a little better now!  Words to describe “the elderly” in some cultures might include revered, respected, honored, distinguished, esteemed or…my personal favorite…celebrated! Regardless of how “the world” views us or chooses to describe us, we must always be “crystal-clear” about our own true value.

As Eartha Kitt once said, “Aging has a wonderful beauty and we should have respect for that.”

Hear, hear!!

Old Age Ain’t No Place for Sissies

When we are blessed with many birthdays, we have already faced many challenges…and will continue to face challenges for as long as we are given the gift of life.

closeup photo of adult white and tan american bulldog near wall
Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Bette Davis was right! (Younger folks might have never heard of Bette Davis.  “Oldsters” like me recognize that name.) Yes, Ms. Davis was “on the money” when she made the declaration that “Old age ain’t no place for sissies.” Obviously she was old enough to know that when we are blessed with many birthdays, we have already faced many challenges…and will continue to face challenges for as long as we are given the gift of life.

Do you know any aging folks who seem to have given up and sometimes almost relish wallowing in some kind of self-imposed purgatory? How sad is that???

Let’s see. I’ve experienced the death of both of my parents and my big brother, Tim. I said good-bye to my precious grandparents, “Munner” and “Pap,” so many years ago. Today I am trying to help a very close family member navigate more-than-difficult life twists and turns that have come her way. Tomorrow? Who knows?

But…I have also been blessed through the years with two wonderful daughters and two grandsons that I love more than life itself. My best friend of close to fifty years  has brought me so much strength, happiness and balance as we have lived our lives and faced life’s challenges. While we live miles apart, we are always close at heart!

In other words, Bette Davis was indeed right. Old age ain’t no place for sissies! It’s a place for those who have both survived challenges and been blessed beyond measure.

Get on board the old age train to contentment, acceptance, happiness and thankfulness. You’re in good company!

Do you have any inspiring “old age quotes” to pass along??

70 is the new…70?!

Wait a minute…

70th CakeI’ve heard it said that 60 is the new 50. Hmmm. And did you know there’s actually a French film entitled 50 is the New 30? (A romantic comedy of course!) I do absolutely appreciate those perspectives.  After all, we look and act much younger than our parents and grandparents did at our age, right? Well, maybe! So, we could proclaim that 70 is the new 60…or even 70 is the new 50. (Remember, we’re optimists!) But wait a minute…

As much as the number 70 can be a bit frightening in terms of age, I have been on this good earth for 70 years. I deserve credit for that!

If I wasn’t 70 I wouldn’t remember that crank phone on the kitchen wall when I was a kid…and our “phone number” being two longs and a short. (My grandparents’ was three shorts!) I wouldn’t have memories of watching Sky King, Hopalong Cassidy, or The Lone Ranger on Saturday mornings with my brother Tim. I wouldn’t have the memory of holding my precious grandmother’s hand as she cried at the sight of her father’s work boots hanging in “Pap’s shanty” after he passed away. And I wouldn’t remember sitting in study hall in high school and learning that President Kennedy had been shot and killed. Or − on a much lighter note – how about seeing Elvis Presley making his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1956?  Woo hoo! Those old memories are all a part of me.

Would it be nice to be 50 again? Or be 60 again? Sure. But I’m not and I won’t be. I’m 70 and proud.  70 is what we make it.  Bring it on!