Age: It’s All (Your) Relative

When I spoke with my son a few days before his 45th birthday last week, he seemed somewhat bummed out by the prospect of his advancing age. 

I tried to reassure him that, from my perspective of 63 (soon to be 64), he was a young whippersnapper.  To me, 45 is still youthful. 

I don’t think I convinced him.

Two days ago my husband had his 75th birthday.  He’s not big on celebrating his natal day either.  He discourages any big show of gifts and he suggested that everyone just ignore that date on the calendar. 

He felt it should be skipped over for lack of interest—his. 

But I couldn’t do that, of course, so I got him a funny card from me and the cats, and our daughter here in town got him three packages of his favorite treat this time of year—Easter Peeps.  (Those things make my teeth hurt just looking at them.  Everyone knows chocolate is the only real candy, folks.)

In an odd juxtaposition with my telling my son he’s still (relatively) young, my husband’s 92 year-old mother phoned to wish her first born son a happy 75th. 

Now, that has to be a weird feeling for her.  How many mothers live long enough (and have their children young enough) to be able to wish them that? 

Not many, I’d wager.

Last night on an episode of Roseanne,” her mother, Beverly, is considering moving to a retirement condo.  She’s 63. 

Jackie is all for it because it will get their mother out of their hair, but Roseanne is oddly reluctant.  The condo is set up for older residents, with a medical alert button on a wall in every room and the option of moving to an adjacent nursing home should the need arise.

Roseanne tells Jackie that it makes her really uncomfortable to consider their mother’s death.

Jackie:  “Come on, Roseanne!  We’ve been planning her death for years!” 

Roseanne:  “That’s plotting, Jackie, not planning.”

Beverly has her way and moves into the condo without Roseanne’s blessing.  But Roseanne drops by with a housewarming gift and the two have a chat. 

Roseanne asks her mother how old she feels inside, since she and Jackie had that conversation earlier. 

(Roseanne had said she feels like she’s still sixteen.  Jackie started to say “Twenty-…” and then amends that to “Twelve—or maybe eight.”) 

Beverly is perplexed:  “I feel like I’m 63.  I feel like a 63 year-old woman.”

After a bit more discussion about the retirement condo and the looming nursing home, Beverly hugs Roseanne and tells her not to worry. 

Beverly:  “I may be 63, but I don’t feel like I’m old.”

Roseanne:  “Yes, you are.   And you’re draggin’ me with you.”


31 thoughts on “Age: It’s All (Your) Relative

  1. I turned 47 last month. It doesn’t feel old. About the only thing that makes feel old is the fact that I work with so many people that are young enough to be my children. Other than that I have a hard time believing that 50 is just around the corner… I know I don’t act my age. Not sure what age I act – somedays 12, somedays 20-something.


    • I think being around younger people helps to give you a younger outlook on life. Being around my grandkids brings out the inner eight year-old in me, for sure. And I get to watch all the old Disney animated movies again without guilt!


  2. The topic of age is something to which I can relate. How’s that for being grammatically correct. My sixth grade English teacher would be proud.

    Anyway, I’ll be 71 in June. I was told, actually I overheard the doctors say, “Richard should do OK. He should make it to 30.” I was 15 at the time and, at 15, 30 seemed a pretty long way off. So I guess I’ve beaten the odds.

    My parents were a different story. My mother died at 96 and my father died at 101. Any way you figure it, 101 has to be considered old. But my dad didn’t seem old. He enjoyed watching baseball and golf, and was still working on projects around the house.

    The only time my dad would say something negative pertaining to his age, was when one of his contemporaries would die. Most of his long-time friends had died years before. Once he told my sister that he thought he’d been around too long. He felt it was his time to go. My sister replied something to the effect that his time of death was God’s choice, not his. Without hesitating, my dad shot back, “Well, He is sure taking his sweet time about it!”


    • This is great, Richard–thanks for commenting! We share Gemini birthdays in June and I hope you have a happy one and I’m glad you’ve beaten the odds!

      Love your Dad’s reply to your sister. It’s wonderful he was still enjoying life at the age of 101. Losing your contemporaries has to be one of the great difficulties of being in that age bracket though. I watched a remembrance about Elizabeth Taylor the other night and she had said one of her greatest fears was living as long as her mother did, who died at the age of 99.


  3. Congratulations on your long lived family! I am looking at 64 tomorrow, and all the cliches are true. I wouldn’t be 20 again for anything, but, boy howdy, I wish I could be 40-ish and know what I know now. No do-overs in ageing, however. Grandchildren are the very best thing about getting old. Michele


    • Happy Birthday tomorrow, Michele! Hope you have a great day.

      Yes, I look back at photos of me from when I was 40 and think “Damn, why didn’t I appreciate that more?” As they say, you should savor your current age because you’re never going to be this young again. 🙂


  4. Ahhh, it’s all relative, isn’t it? I’m freaking out because I’m 47, but my 60-something and 70-something friends just laugh at me. But my friend’s 14-year-old thinks I’m a fossil. 🙂


    • LOL! That reminds me of a birthday card I saw when I was looking for one for my husband. On the front it said “Remember when we were young and we used to laugh at old people?” and on the inside it said “What the hell was so funny?”


  5. The whole thing about age is fascinating. When I lost one of my closest friends to breast cancer when we were 47, my entire life changed in a moment. Now, I jump for joy with each birthday. I shout my age to the heavens (63! 63! 63!). Each day is a gift. Each day I get to live for me and for the woman Miki would have been, had she lived. Bring on tomorrow. I’m ready.


    • What a great attitude! I think we all forget what a miracle it is that we’re here on this planet at all. What are the odds of even being born? Good for you for honoring your friend by living your life to the fullest.


  6. Yes, the definition of “old” depends on your age at the time you define it. It is disconcerting to think of my parents at my current age. My impression of them doesn’t fit me at this age!


  7. The ATC is a jewel. You know, the 60’s don’t feel nearly as old as I thought they would! Love the birthday card message you mentioned in your comment.

    Happy belated birthday to your men. Your husband probably doesn’t want his birthday acknowledged because he’s married to such a hot young chick.


    • Thanks! I don’t know about the “hot young chick” thing. Although, the 97 year-old, three-times-a-widower gentleman who lived near my daughter once said to her that he found me “very attractive.” Eat your heart out, Lady Gaga.


  8. Wow, that’s amazing that your husband’s mother called to wish him a happy 75th birthday! You’re right. I bet that doesn’t occur very often. Thanks for the thought. I remember once an elderly couple, who lived across the street from my parents, and who I thought were among the oldest in town, referred to a friend of theirs as “he’s really getting on in years.” It’s all relative.


    • Thanks for the comment and for stopping by, happykidshappymom!

      That’s funny about the elderly couple. When I suggested to my mom that she visit the Senior Center in town, she wrinkled her nose and said “Too many old people.” This from a 91 year-old person. Go figure!

      Y’all come back!


  9. I can tell I’m getting old. It’s taken me 3 x to figure out how to put a comment up here. Uh…getting old. As my parents used to say, better than the alternative!


  10. I’ve had the same thought as Nance: This is the oldest I’ve ever been. On the other hand, this is the youngest I’ll ever be. Both thoughts are really annoying.

    Great post, TTPT. And happy birthday to your husband — he probably thinks you’re a young whippersnapper.


  11. Great post.
    I will show it to my mother who at a youthful 79 is acting like Mathusaleh these days (with apologies to Mathusaleh).
    My sister and I who are in our early 50’s bought pink bunny ears with cat glasses for Easter to wear at work. …and No, we will never act “our age”.


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