Discovered newfound confidence and success.

Discovered newfound confidence and success.

Corrine D., age 80

Aging terrified me. I couldn’t think about it, refused to acknowledge it was happening to me. I didn’t know who this person was who no longer attracted other women, who wouldn’t ride a bike or walk in the woods. Add to that being alone for the first time in my life, and it was a perfect mixture of physical and emotional trauma.

A few years earlier, an old college friend, whom I had not seen for many years, came for a visit. I was shocked to see her using a cane and even falling. My shock became anger, why didn’t she tell me, warn me, why didn’t she just stay home? Recently the same experience was turned around on me. A coffeehouse friend invited me to stay with her for a week’s vacation. From day one, I felt her anger and I knew exactly how she was feeling. She was angry that I was slower than she was, less energetic. That kind of experience never would have happened to me 10 years ago.

This month I’ll reach my 80th birthday. Old women are invisible in our society. No one pays attention to us. More than once, I have spoken out when a clerk ignores me standing in front of him or her but directs attention to a younger person behind or beside me.

I am grateful to have work that I can still do, actually do better. I’m not distracted by chaos at home or worry about the future. I am a surprise to myself and welcome a newfound confidence and success. Growing older isn’t easy. I try not to obsess about the physical changes. And each day I feel a little easier about what I’m doing that day, a little more open to the possibility of joy.