Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Aging, Gracefully Or Not?

Aging? Who, me?

I don’t like to think about that, but this morning I’m almost forced to admit that time is, yes, marching on. I just got home after nearly a week in Dallas at the annual RWA (Romance Writers of America) conference, and as usual I didn’t get enough sleep.

Who needs sleep when a bunch of normally reclusive writers get together and the much-needed chatter starts flying? It was so good to see people from the various chapters to which I’ve belonged, and still miss, and to meet others among our group of Nexties with whom I’ve e-mailed. The PAN (Published Authors Network) workshops, plus a number of RWA sessions, certainly helped to recharge my creative batteries—one of the best benefits of going to conference each summer. And all those fabulous meals when I’m more used to simpler fare, even sandwiches all but inhaled in the race to finish a book by August? What a treat. It seems safe to say that a great time was had by all.

My stay in the beautiful conference hotel, the Hyatt Regency, was almost enough to make me forget the hassles of travel. My trip home proved to be quite a challenge—delayed flights, lost luggage (with all my best clothes inside the missing suitcase)—but I’m here. And ready to work again. Never mind that my not-quite-youthful body is still struggling to readjust after that (finally) five a.m. arrival in Chattanooga. My bag, thank goodness, did eventually, and unharmed, show up at my door. (sigh of relief)

But today—yes—I’m feeling a wee bit old. Older, that is.

How else to explain the white face I see in my mirror? Or those new dark shadows under my eyes?

Still, there’s hope. My mother-in-law will turn eighty-nine in October. She still wears makeup, styles her hair in her signature red beehive, and has her nails done, fingers and toes. Last week, while I was in Dallas, she went with my husband to dinner and the theater. She and I are planning a girls’ day out soon to shop for an end-of-summer suit she can wear to my younger son’s wedding in August. She’ll be taking the trip to Connecticut then, a traveler herself at nearly ninety.

Graceful? Yes. Old? I don’t think so.

There have been lots of articles written lately about the now-retiring Baby Boomers. In fact, we Nexties did a workshop at RWA on just that topic, well, and with some sex thrown in for spice. Our somewhat older characters still know their way around a bedroom! Today’s retirees are no longer riding off into the sunset of their years, or plunking down in a rocker on the front porch.
We—and our characters—are moving and shaking and developing second careers. My husband, for example, is in New York right now, building his new business as a consultant to the financial world. He’s been busier than ever since he took early retirement in February! No grass grows under his feet. And then, again, there’s his mother who must have given him that energy and drive, a little of which I could certainly use today.

Right now I’d rather take a nap.

But that’s not going to happen. I have a book to finish for Next. My forty-four-year old heroine and her still-hunky-at-forty-six ex-husband are waiting.

And as further inspiration I’m reminded of my great grandmother who lived to be 105. Even then, she thought of herself as a young bride.

With so many grand examples like these, I’m convinced that the old saying is true: Aging is a state of mind.

Or—to use another cliché—you’re only as old as you feel.


Jason h said...

Hey! i'm going to cali this sunday.. gonna be there for a week, this is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash. later!

aromagik said...

I like seeing older heroines in some of the books I'm reading. Full-figured heroines, too. It's nice to be able to relate to them instead of always reading about skinny, perfect 20-somethings.

A box of color for the hair, and no one needs to focus on my age. After all, I sure don't feel old!


deseng said...

There are some mornings when my bones creak and my back says, "Sit down!" I am only 46 for heavens sake! What's up with that?

I don't feel old either but my body sure seems to tell me otherwise. I like the voluptous heroines in books myself. I can really relate to them since hitting middle age and things are tending to go south.


Susan said...

Isn't it wonderful to have people in your life like your mother-in-law!

I agree completely with what aromagik.

CrystalG said...

Your husband and mother-in-law are inspirational.

Virginia said...

I try to accept my age as it is. Yes these old bones get stiff but I just keep right on going. I have never had so many acks and pains in my life. You've just got to keep moving and work the pains out. I don't color my hair I just let nature take its course.

Maureen said...

You are so right. I do enjoy reading those older heroines.