“Silver Alert: We have a missing housewife. She’s 5’5” tall, heavier than she looks, blonde hair with grey roots. Last seen careening down a hill in her old neighborhood riding a 21-speed bike. She’s wearing a purple helmet, orange madras shorts and white Keds. Likely has bugs in her teeth. Answers to “Mu-ther” or “Hey Bitch”. Family is anxious to find her because laundry is piling up and the refrigerator and pantry are empty.”
My favorite part of the afternoon is picking up my six-year-old daughter from the bus stop and talking to her about her day at school. Recently, her big news of the day was learning the age of her first grade teacher. My daughter happily exclaimed that Mrs. H was 25 years old. I said, “Wow, she’s young. Do you know that I am old enough to be her mother?” She responded with a laugh, “Are you kidding me?” Then, I took the analogy one step further and said, “Now I’m really gonna blow your mind. Do you know that I am old enough to be a grandma?” Her jaw dropped and she had a look of astonishment on her face. After a few seconds of silence she asked hesitantly, “Are you in the elderly?”
Elderly?! I’m only 47 years old! Then I panicked as I realized that I’m a lot closer to 65 than 21. I also started thinking about how old I look and how old I act. You’re only as old as you feel right? Well, think again. If you are showing any of these tell-tale signs, you may be “in the elderly”.
Your mother constantly comments on your beautiful white hair. This isn’t new. These comments started in my thirties. Who do I look like – Estelle Getty? I’m gonna wash that grey right outta my hair…and will continue to do so until they take me out feet first.
You wear street clothes when you exercise. I have a bad habit of leaving my street clothes on when I take a bike ride around the neighborhood. My street clothes are flanked by my purple bicycle helmet circa 1990. As I rode up to a circle of neighbors during a recent evening gab fest, my husband proudly introduced me as “special” because my helmet happens to sit on top of my head like a mushroom. I prefer to think of myself as “challenged”. Besides, safety comes first and, I am too damned cheap to invest in some modern safety gear. My route is mostly downhill (translated: little peddling means little sweating) so I really don’t see the need to dress for the Tour de France.
You shop at Talbots. The advertisements say, Talbots is the classics. I’ve always been a sucker for a cute sweater set. Yes, you may see some of the patterns on your dining room wallpaper or on an old couch, but they are classic and they fit. Perhaps I would do more shopping at Bebe or Ann Taylor if they weren’t embarrassed to stock sizes larger than an 8 on the floor.
Your age category is omitted from make-over articles. My mother pointed out that magazine articles covering beauty at every age cut off at 60. Maybe that’s why many elderly folks have tight curly perms, only wear rouge, warm-up suits and sensible shoes. They are not getting any professional guidance. Hey – InStyle and Cosmo, gals want to be fashionable in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s too. Betty White’s the new cover girl. Capish?
You make references to old TV shows. It’s not like I’m constantly referring to Vaudeville, but I do make a lot of references to classic television shows from the 60’s and 70’s. I once had a momentary lapse of memory at a bank drive-thru window. After getting frustrated with the clerk about not being able to pull up my account, I finally figured out that I was at the wrong bank. During my mea culpa, I asked the clerk if Allen Funt was going to jump out. This twenty-something had no clue I was referring to the host of Candid Camera. Luckily I was familiar with the show, “Punked” hosted by Ashton Kutcher, only because he is married to someone my age, so I redeemed myself.
You start repeating yourself on Facebook. It’s only a matter of time before I start retelling stories on Facebook, only to have some young punk – who I accepted their Friend Request in a weak moment – point out that I need to magnify my screen so I can see what I’m typing. Tuff Noogies Bucko! I can post the same story as many times as I like. Put that in your Friend Finder and smoke it! (Warning: Using phrases such as Tuff Noogies Bucko can also place you “in the elderly”.)
You can’t text without your reading glasses. It’s just a fact of life after you turn 40. I’m not being rude by not responding right away. I just can’t see a damned thing. Enough said.
So despite my age, yes, I may be showing some signs of being “in the elderly”. Yet, when I ride my bike through my old neighborhood, I’m still 16 in my mind. I reminisce about the houses where I had babysitting jobs and summers at the pool. I ride past my friend Jennifer’s house where I still picture their classic cars in the driveway and long for the days when we thought we were bored out of our minds while laughing hysterically at our perceived misfortunes.
When I arrive back at my house and fondly tell my husband about my trip down Memory Lane, he just looks at me and says, “I hope you didn’t see anyone because you have a big black bug in your teeth.” So I took my purple helmet off, pulled out the Polident, turned on one of my programs, took a Doan’s Pill and went to bed early. Us old people need our rest.