New clarity accompanies signs that youth has departed

08/22/2013 4:54 PM

08/22/2013 4:54 PM

We all have it – and if you haven’t had it yet, you will someday, so ha ha. It’s that moment when you know that yes, you are middle age, and youth is a thing of the past. But that epiphany is a piece of cake compared to the rude awakening that you are a senior, and we’re not talking school here.

One of my favorite writers, Connie Schultz, who writes essays in “Parade” magazine, wrote one about “Life in the Middle Ages.” Seems a young man chased her down in an airport thinking she was someone else. After looking her over from head to toe, he explained, “You look younger from behind.” Nice. Actually, I would love to look younger from behind.

It is those comments, however, that make us realize that youth took off like a speedboat and we’re still standing on the beach.

When I was around Connie’s age, 55, I was standing in the security line in the Florence, Italy, airport. An older man was standing there with his son talking to him, in Italian of course, but he was looking at me. The son turned and said, “My father said he is sure you were beautiful when you were a young woman.” Hmmmm. Thanks. I think.

My sweet husband said, “I think she still is.” I could have kissed him. Actually I think I did.

A friend of mine was at a funeral, and when she complimented the minister on what a nice service it was, they chatted awhile before he said, “I bet you were gorgeous when you were young.” Guys, guys. Think it over.

But it’s not all guys. When a young waitress came back to the table with my tab and credit card, she said, “You are Bonnie Bing?” I told her yes, she cocked her head to one side. I guessed what she was thinking: “You thought I was younger.” She said, “Yep. A lot younger.” I wanted to tell her to enjoy being a smooth-skinned-flat-belly because someday gravity would catch up with her, too.

Not long ago a woman said to me in the grocery store, “Please don’t be offended, but has anybody told you that you look like Bonnie Bing?” When I told her, “That’s me,” SHE acted offended, said she didn’t believe me and walked off. Wait, now what?

Oh well. Let’s face it, ladies, we’re in this together. We can’t read the menu without glasses, an inch-long chin hair appears overnight, our colorists are saying, “It’s getting more difficult to cover the gray,” our upper arms look like our moms’, one great weekend of eating and drinking makes our jeans so tight sitting is a painful experience, the whole social media thing is mind boggling, and the crowns in our mouths cost as much as one for our head. With rubies.

But for all the joints that ache, the weight that won’t go away, the guilt for not exercising more, etc., etc., this time of life is a blast. Finally it’s very clear what’s important. We don’t want stuff; we want time with loved ones. We don’t want the latest, greatest trendy item; we want laughter and peace of mind.

So stand up straight and walk right up to that kid with a mouth full of braces and tell him you want the senior discount.

Youth sped away, but happiness is the best revenge.

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