Krissie: Age

Photo on 2014-01-31 at 16.08 Is that the face of a 65 year old woman? Does it matter?
I never thought I’d let a certain number get to me. I greeted 40 and 50 and 60 with complete equanimity, and I was looking forward to medicare which has been GREAT. But for some reason the number came up like something deadly on a slot machine (not that deadly things come up on a slot machine) and I’ve been in a funk ever since.
I’ve felt like everything’s over. I kept waiting until I finally hit the big time, but now I think that time has passed completely. Just because I turned a certain number. I’m afraid I’m going to die soon. Granted, the older I get the sooner I’m going to die, but I could have died six years ago when I had borderline ovarian cancer (I was going to cancel my appointment and not bother with rescheduling because it seemed like a fuss over nothing. Instead I went and was in surgery 5 days later).
But I digress. I feel like parts of me are wearing out, like my knees and my wrists and my skin. Well, my skin is really good, as my mother’s was. My wrists and knees have been bad since my 40s, and the knees can be replaced.
But I started thinking about being tired of all the stress, thinking “don’t I deserve a rest at my age?” and all sorts of stuff like that. I’ve always deserved a rest from taking care of everyone — age has nothing to do with it. And you get fed up when you get fed up — it has nothing to do with a magic number.
Basically I’ve just been seeing myself as “over.” It makes the idea of moving seem depressing, because even though we’re isolated here we’d be even more isolated elsewhere. I think I have to be around my grandchildren, and god knows I want to be, but at the expense of everything else in my life? At the expense of Richie’s happiness?
Anyway, a couple of days ago things suddenly slipped into perspective. I can be any age I damned well please — numbers don’t define me. I come from long-lived stock if people don’t drink or smoke. There’s almost no cancer in the family (so far just one first cousin. None of the aunts and uncles or grandparents or parents). I can live forever, I can be glorious. For some reason I lost track of that.
One reason might be society’s emphasis on retirement. I’m not going to retire — I write because I love to. I wish I didn’t have to be such a slave to contracts, though.
I think having almost my entire family (except Mini-me) be dead is part of it too. I’m older than my father, brother or sister ever were. I really have no peers up here. I have Crusie, but you know, Crusie is a force of nature. She can do anything — leap tall buildings in a single bound etc. Just because Crusie can do something doesn’t mean I can.

But all this feeling defeated is just so much crap. I can write the best book of my life when I’m seventy-two. I can go for longer walks at 75 than I did at 45 if I get my knees in shape and work on the rest of my body. I can still be glorious — it takes more than a stupid number to dim my light.

I don’t know why it took me so long to figure it out. Maybe because Richie’s been depressed. Maybe because the financial burden still seems overwhelming. Maybe because there’s another change in my life that leads toward feeling older, but since that involves someone else I don’t think it fair to talk about it in even our private-sort-of public.

But you know, fuck that. Instead of standing on the shore waving pathetically as life passes me by, I’m going to take a flying leap off the cliff and do a spectacular landing in a warm, sparkly sea, grinning like Esther Williams. I’m going to be the person I was meant to be, even if that person is a little over the top for some people. I feel like I’ve been tied up, confined, lectured to, and now I’m breaking free of all that.

Phew! We get really ridiculous over some things, don’t we? At least, I do. Maybe the rest of you are more sensible.


So my goal is think about all the things I can do. Not a fucking bucket list — I’m not even going to think about the bucket. Just a world full of wonderful things, a brain full of wonderful things, opportunities and delight. I’m ready.

20 thoughts on “Krissie: Age

  1. 65? 65? First of all–I don’t believe it for a second. I’ve met you, after all. And look at that picture. Is that the picture of 65? Not unless 65 is damned young.

    And that’s the point, really. What the hell is a number, anyway? My grandmother lived to be 99 (and 10/12ths, to be specific) and up until the last three years she lived her life more fully than I ever have at any age. My parents, both in their mid-70’s, are fully alive, involved, and living life to its utmost.

    Be a crone, babe. Be the best damned crone they’ve ever seen. To thwart them, if for no better reason 🙂

    Happy belated birthday, too.

  2. Danielle Doelle says:

    You are glorious. I don’t comment much but I come here every day and your mind and spirit and creativity have inspired me. I finally started my first quilt because of seeing all the beautiful things that the women in this verse are creating. The want has always been there but this community gave me push I needed. You may be 65 and I may be 28 but I hope I have a margin of the success that you have had in life.

    You may think that you will be more isolated in a different town but I must say that moving to my new small town in WI has been my best move. I am halfway between my job and my family. I have enough of a buffer that when I get angry at one of them I have to drive a half hour to get to them. I eventually get hungry or pass a mall. That buffer is everyone’s friend.

  3. Danielle! You’re a Gilmore Girl fan!! Love, love Lorelei! Some of the snappiest, smartest dialogue in the universe on that show.

  4. Cath G says:

    Thank you, thank you!

    I have bee feeling very low, very old and very decrepit. Your words give me hope. I am divorcing my husband and moving to upstate New York to be closer to family. Plus I may need four surgeries – two for bones that haven’t healed, one for carpal tunnel, and one new knee. All have to be spaced out around moving. My greatest fear is that I will end up in a box of an apartment too cripples to go out and do anything.

    Your words give me hop. Thank you.

  5. I was filling out a form the other day and it asked me to click a box on which age group I belonged in. The last box was “65 and up.” I have eight more months to go until I check THE LAST BOX. Then I remembered that it’s take me sixty-four years and four months to be happy and at peace with myself and the others in my life, and I decided I wouldn’t trade old age for youth if I had to that journey over again. No idea how long I have left, although both my parents are going strong at 87 and my mother is about to claim 88, but I figure as long as I have the best time possible doing the things that give me greatest joy, I’m in the prime of my life. Also, thank you for the Force of Nature bit, although considering how often you’ve seen me sniveling and broken, I think you’re giving me a bit too much credit.

  6. Hey, sometimes Nature is sniveling and broken too. You know, in between hurricanes and floods 🙂

    And I wouldn’t trade this almost-54 year old body plus wisdom for my younger body plus stupid. You couldn’t PAY ME to live through it all again, either.

    There are worse things than growing older. The alternative sucks.

  7. You know, 65 hit me damn hard too, Krissie. I think it was the signing up for Medicare. I felt so damn worn out. But, a few months later I realized I’d gotten published not once, but four times in that same year. That for me was incredible. I can’t say it made me feel a lot younger, but it did make me understand that I still had things I wanted to do, things to contribute to, so now I feel more like 63. Ha ha.

  8. So true!! They are my go-to DVDs when I walk on the treadmill or when I just need to smile or be someplace else for a while. I want to live in Star’s Hollow…

  9. Sixty has been harder than I expected, mostly because I have to try to find some decent healthcare to last me until I get to 65. That’s been quite a journey and I’ve cried more in the last three weeks than I have in years, but I think I’ve found an answer and it’s through the ACA exchanges, which have saved me as a freelancer. Oh and, by the way, private insurers, it’s NOT heart disease! It’s a heart electrical anomaly! I’ve had it all my life. My heart and it’s surrounding valves and arteries are perfectly healthy! Sheesh!

  10. aunt snack says:

    If you can’t get too much credit from a woman who calls herself your sister, where can you get it? Seeing you sniveling gives her an unmatched view of how much you’ve overcome.

  11. aunt snack says:

    I think passing significant birthdays is almost always a huge relief. For months in advance you worry so much about how turning that multiple of 5 or 10 will redefine you that you scare your self into immobility. Once you pass the milestone, you can stop fearing it long enough to notice that you are essentially unchanged, but now qualify for some things that make your life easier. When I became Medicare eligible (two and a half years after the date of my disability) my medical costs went WAY down.

  12. I have always loved the name of this blog, but I also think the fabulous is already here. Krissie, I love your entries . . . and Jenny’s . . . and all the commenters. There is such great heart here — generosity, perseverance, wisdom. This blog reminds me not just of who I want to be, but of who I already am. Not perfect. Oh, hell, no. But brushing myself off time and again. Thinking it through. Trying once again. This might sound terribly vain, but I’m saying that I see what I truly value revealed here again and again, and it reminds me that I, too (on occasion), have those qualities, or virtues. Call it a Good Wolf win.

    And because I also am aging (that big 60 is coming up rather fast), I too have been thinking a lot about what I have and have not done or accomplished and what I am likely or unlikely to accomplish in the future . . . .

    I think I want to say: this counts. In that list of what you’ve done, this blog counts. It is abundant. Just that, abundant. Because when I browse the web, much of what I see there is so small, so cramped and shrunken. I mean, people are taking an approach to life that is miserly and, all too often, quite ugly. And what is here? Generosity to others and our selves, a striving to do and be right, but also kindness with our daily challenges and confusions. We cheer the wins and comfort the losses. And then there’s this fire, too. This passion and hunger. This commitment to living.

    I think I’m saying thank you. And also, have you noticed just how fabulous this is, and how fabulous you are for creating it?

  13. My first thought reading this was, Wait, you are the big time to your fans. I love this blog too because it feels like being invited somewhere warm and cozy with hot chocolate. I hope you keep rocking it for a long, long time.

  14. That was incredibly sweet. This blog was Krissie’s idea from the beginning; I just went along for the ride, so she’s definitely the one to thank, but I loved hearing that, too.

  15. Micki says:

    The past few months have been very worrying to me on the aging front (I’m only 45). My hands turn into old lady hands — wrinkly, you know — in the winter, and each year, they turn just a little bit earlier. That was the first thing. The next thing was working with these “old guys” with salt and pepper hair, and then finding out they were two or three years *younger* than I am. Yikes. My husband turned 49 (he looks 35, though, and can still wear his wedding suit). And now, my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this weekend.

    There’s such a disconnect in my mind — decrepit people celebrate their 50th in a hall with all their friends and family around them. My in-laws, though, are still incredibly active on the farm, and don’t look like 70-somethings.

    Well, anyway, we aten’t dead, and that’s something.

  16. JenniferNennifer says:

    First, I loved all the comments – thank you guys.

    Second, uhm, how do you define hitting the big time? I mean, being a household name in the romance world, with how many books published? Think about it, you have brought pleasure to THOUSANDS of people. Probably tens of thousands. How many people can say that? I rest my case.

    And as for the future, my darling mother went back to school in her 50s and became a librarian. After she “retired” she started being a substitute librarian and worked until within 2 weeks of her death, active and happy. She was blessed with good health, but it was really her good spirit that made the difference.

  17. What a terrific post and wonderful comments!

    I wasn’t bugged by just turning 53. In general it’s feeling obsolete (because I haven’t found work yet) that’s getting me. It’s feeling I’ve wasted so much time not doing the things I want to do and looking at myself and my life and thinking I have nothing to show for being 53.

    But I’m not dead yet. There is still time to create something, to do something lasting. To fill my life with wonder.

  18. Jill says:

    I copied these 2 sayings from plaques in our hospital gift shop.
    *Instead of thinking outside the box-get rid of the box
    *The time you enjoy wasting time is not wasted time(John Lennon)

    My ‘word’ at the beginning of the year was “do not overcommit” That hand basket left for hell pretty quickly. I am now way overcommitted in planning (and paying for) our grandson’s wedding. Very long story. Bride is 20, on her own since she was 15. Josh (21) gets home from Afghanistan the first week of March, the wedding is April 12.A full meal deal. Shower here. Rehearsal, dinner, wedding , reception-not here but almost. Josh will go back to Ft Hood, TX and Ft Benning , GA for more training before going to South Korea early in 2015. Argh !

    I am 70. I took up motorcycling riding at 62. My worse birthday was 25. I had a kid and I was a quarter of a century old !

    Krissie-I like how you look and I like your new outlook

Comments are closed.