when did THAT happen?

My word for this year is LEARN.  

So it just makes sense to use this Year of Sundays to reflect on 52 of my most significant Life Lessons.   Some may seem more significant than others, but each one has changed how I live my life in powerful way.   I’d love to hear if and how any of these same lessons have surfaced in the classroom of Your Life.

lesson31 There comes a time when we are all of That Age.

And i’m there.

Stick with me here.    There’s a point.  And I can’t wait to hear your opinions.

I’m a Southerner.   So I’m accustomed to being called Miss Lisa by my friends’ children and young adults, even.   I’m a consumer.  So i’m used to some business people referring to me as Ms Richey.   I even understand that some people under 40 might have a tough time figuring-out how to refer to me.

HOWEVER, this week a medical professional (who was new to me) told me I reminded him of his mother – and I was just.plain.sad.   I get that at 55, it IS biologically possible, but come on.   He could have at least said I reminded him of his favorite art teacher or aunt or Sunday School teacher, but his MOM? ugh.

This aging thing is a sticky-wicket.   I LOVE being 55 and I so look forward to being 80+.   I celebrate my gray hair and wrinkles.  I’m thrilled that:

  • I’ve seen most of The Best Bands in concert;
  • I was going to JazzFest before it was cool;
  • still believe in thank you notes and not texting one person while I’m with someone else;
  •  I’m learning to stop myself before I say anything like, “What an odd name for a band.”  or “Doesn’t that 1/4 inch disc in your ear hurt?”  and especially, ” Do you realize that glorious eagle tattoo coming out of your belly button will one day be a very disappointing blob?”

I’m not sure why this whole, “You remind me of my mom” thing stung so much, but it did.  So I’ll just pay attention to it, while trying not to let it zap my spirit.

In the meantime, I’d love to know how you handle being of That Age?

12 thoughts on “when did THAT happen?

  1. My 89 year old Mom recently was carted off to the ER and fitted up with a pacemaker. SHE has reached the age where she seems to get the same reaction as puppies and small babies. I’m keeping book of all the people who say to me: “She’s adorable!”
    I, on the other hand, have reached and passed the ‘you remind me of my Mom’ age and moved right on into the most annoying part of aging–invisibility. Some of this is no doubt my own fault, as I have gained weight along with grey hair, and so dressing with chic and flair is more challenging. I don’t enjoy being completely unnoticed as I pass through the world.
    I have conversations with friends in which we lament that we don’t remember what it is like not to hurt anywhere. Yet we are grateful to remember that we DID have many years of heedless healthiness, when we did not give a tiny thought to our hands, feet, arms, legs or all the flying around they did for us with nary a twinge. We feel great compassion for younger people who are not so lucky.
    However, there IS that satisfaction of knowing that I can actually remember Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, which I watched live on TV, and even Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation on TV for that matter. I sat in a friend’s house and held my breath as the first human foot landed on the moon. I KNOW why the Voting Rights Act was so important. I’m beginning to reach an age when I can rightly claim and if possible impart the HISTORY of some of today’s pressing matters with younger people.
    Most of all, though, I appreciate being at a stage in my life where it is much more satisfying and much LESS anxiety-making to create something beautiful rather than attempt to look beautiful. I observe a lot of women who are discovering the artist within as they make lovely quilts, great gardens, attractive homes. There’s something so freeing about painting the world with color rather than painting my face.

  2. Wow, Penny has really said it! I will add, that at 60, I’m starting to get used to my students saying I remind them of their GRANDMOTHERS! I am often shocked when I catch a glimpse of myself in the reflection of a store window, etc. and the increasingly chubby little gray haired woman I see doesn’t match the image of how I appear in my imagination. I definitely get her last paragraph with an addition: I am reaching the point of finally not caring if anyone else shares my sense of beauty or worthiness of what I create! I have currently returned to working on an art piece that I abandoned a year ago, because it was questionable whether it could even be considered art by anyone other than I. I now work on it when I can, because I enjoy the PROCESS, regardless of whether anyone else finds “beauty” in the product. With a decreasing availability of time to enjoy processes on this plane, I find myself using one of my kids’ favorite quotes (from a cartoon show I have never really watched, because I’m TOO OLD to enjoy it as they do): “I do what I want!”

  3. Pennny and Mary Louise, I am going to apologize in advance for taking a less reflective view on today’s question. You both shared very serious, heart felt words and I appreciate them. Thank you for sharing them.

    As I read Lisa’s post and the question, all I could think of was the FB post I shared yesterday: I am a “Cougar-fan”…. I just found out my golf crush, Rory McIlroy, is only a year older than my son.

    So…my answer to how do I handle being “That Age”?????? I laugh out loud and keep on going!

  4. I find all of this fascinating – remarks included. I am a grandmama, have my mama and feel that someone comparing me to their mom is a compliment usually. Esp. you Lisa – you are a mom to a lot of us by listening well, sharing love, laughter, joy, and by being the best friend anyone could have. Hugs, peace, and love.

  5. Penny, I love “heedless healthiness.”
    My younger brother died recently at 57. I’m the only one left. My change of perspective started 3 years ago with a grandchild and reality keeps hitting me, sometimes obviously, sometimes in sneaky ways I am grateful that I am here to see it all.

  6. I really appreciated this post and the responses. At 41, I am now my boys’ mom to most people I encounter rather than just plain ol’ me. I like being my boys’ mom, but realize that I need to keep cultivating my own identity. Plus, I am just old here in our college/beach town–and realize how blithely arrogant youth can be. 😉
    I am also realizing that I need to appreciate where I am and what I am able to do now–physically, creatively, whatever. I also am trying to be grateful for how I look now, knowing that years later I will probably look back at pics and wonder why in the world I was so hard on myself (which is what I think now when I look back at earlier pics). Great thoughts, Lisa and commenters. Thankful.

  7. This is a great post along with the comments. Has really made me think…and grin! A youth I was recently working with commented to me that I was old enough to be her mother…(then she quickly added) … ‘s younger friend! I must say I certainly chuckled with that one!

  8. Love this thread. I will never forget my 12-year-old-looking orthopedist telling me, “We see this in women your age.” At first, i was crushed and then realized that i had to laugh.

    I am ALWAYS stunned when I look in the mirror. I, too, have realized that I am crushing on a man my son’s age. I will further confess that I am sometimes envious of my daughter’s legs and perky breasts.

    But, if I was given the chance to turn back the clock, I would probably decline the opportunity. While I might have done some things differently, I would not want to lose what I have experienced — the good and the bad. I have known some amazing people who have changed me for the better. Lisa, you are certainly one of those. My joys have enriched me, and my sorrows have strengthened me.

  9. Thanks for this reflection, Lisa, and for the comments. Today my niece, her husband, and toddler stopped for a little while. As they were leaving when I was hugging my niece’s husband said, “you remind me of my Mom”. His Mom died after a long course with cancer when he was a junior in college. I thanked him for the dear compliment. How amazing after reading this blog.

  10. Well, this might be right and it might not be…….but, perhaps the medical professional was saying, “You remind me of my mom when I was a child and she was a beautiful young girl.” Or perhaps he was saying that your spirit (wonderful) reminds him of his mom’s great spirit. There are several GOOD ways this person’s comments could be interpreted. Perhaps he offered you the ultimate compliment any person who loves his/her mother could offer….”You remind me of my mom.” (See Lisa, your optimism IS contagious!)

  11. to borrow a word from last year, wOw!
    the richness of all of your comments just plain humble me. and i LOVE how ya’ll are ‘making friends’ with each other on this blog.

    Penny, your adorable Mom, heedless health of youth and current face-paint-free zone clearly helped many shift;

    Mary Louise, thanks for your enlightened encouragement for us all to “do what we want”;

    Judi, may we all embrace our own Inner Cougar (even/especially when we don’t act on it)! personally, i’m currently mourning Adam Levine’s recent engagement ;);

    Adena, YOU are the ultimate Mom! thanks for the refocus that the comparison can be a good thing;

    Amma/Robin, i am grateful you are here, too;

    Alicia, thanks for the reminder that identity IS choice – thankfully;

    Marjorie, i’m STILL grinning about your young pal’s “…younger friend” save. LOVE IT!;

    Jean, when DID all of these doctors turn into Doogie Houser? lol! and i couldn’t agree more, looking forward is a LOT more fun than looking backwards – at ANY age;

    Mary Jane, what a sacred compliment indeed. thanks for helping me refocus, too;

    Tom, ahhhhhh… you have such an an optimistic way of re-framing. thanks for being my partner in life.

    as always, i’m grateFULL to you all AND to all who’ve joined in this discussion and community more privately. it’s such a joy to walk this road with all of you.

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