Owning My Age, by Freelance Writer and Baby Boomer Renee Fisher

Wed, Feb 15, 2012

Features, Healthcare, Home, Leisure, Lifestyle, Money

Aside from “You’ve just won the Publisher’s Clearing House Sweepstakes,” most boomers would love to hear, “You don’t look anywhere near your age!”  I, too, used to fit into that category, and for most of my life, I looked a lot younger than I really was.  It was frustrating back in high school and college, when boys wouldn’t talk to me because they thought I was a little kid, and in my twenties when I started teaching and looked not-much-older then my students.  But when I reached my 30s, I began to appreciate my baby looks and by 40, I prided myself on looking 10, or even 15 years younger, than I was. 

Then I lost my closest friend to breast cancer when we were both 47. The loss of Miki changed a lot of things for me, and one thing it did was to change the way I saw myself in the aging process.  I couldn’t bring Miki back, but I could declare that I would live for her as well as for myself.  To say that Miki was full of life is an understatement.  To say that she would have filled those unlived years with joy and laughter and love is a certainty. So, if she weren’t around to do it, I would be.  Year after year after year.

It’s been 17 years since Miki’s death, 17 years since I have been on this earth to laugh, to experience joy, to love.  To push the boundaries everyday, just as she would have.  And because of that, each birthday is a joy.  It’s when I declare to the universe, “Look, here’s me, ready to take on another year.  Bring it on!

And another thing happened, as well, when I began to embrace each birthday.  I stopped feeling flattered when people told me how young I looked.  I no longer wanted to be an imitation of any age other than the age I was. If I were a powerful woman, embracing each birthday, then I would be the best example possibly of that age. I remembered back to what Gloria Steinem said on her 50th birthday, when someone told her she looked good for her age. She said, “This is what 50 looks like.”  I didn’t understand back then what a huge, powerful statement that was.  But I understood it after Miki died. 

Now, when people tell me how young I look, instead of saying “Wow, thanks,” I said, instead, “I’m (insert age).  Just tell me I’m a beautiful, vibrant example of that age.”  

Most people get it, and they shake their heads, smiling, thinking about what that means.  Some obviously don’t get it. I think they feel that they just gave me a beautiful gift and I declined it.  That’s OK.  I gave a gift to myself: immense pride in who and what I am.  I am a beautiful, powerful, and visionary 64 year old.  And that is what my 64 looks like.

6 Responses to “Owning My Age, by Freelance Writer and Baby Boomer Renee Fisher”

  1. BoomerWiz says:

    Oh I love this post and I am gonna share. You go Renee!

  2. Fred Cubero says:

    Realty sometimes strikes deep and brings with it new challenges. Part of feeling young is thinking young. Start thinking your old and you will begin to feel old.My father who turned eighty in december continues to think as a younger man and has never lost his interest in life that I’ve seen so many people half his age do. I’m not ready to throw in the towel just yet. The gang at the gym cannot believe I’m fifty three. The “you look very young for your age routine” is only adding fuel to the fire. I take it as a compliment and thank them for their positive feed back.I am self motivated and determined to stay young and healthy to the end. Renee I respect your opinion and I’m glad that your a fighter like me. Hope to hear more from you soon.

    Fred Cubero
    Baby Boomer

  3. Jen Belloso says:

    Such beautiful looking food those colors, oh my! It sounds like you guys had a lovely time, I can’t wait to try out some of those recipes.

  4. reisingfost says:

    Liebo short T-shirt

  5. Jim richards says:

    Like you I always looked young for my age and experienced the same issues only in reverse. As a teen I looked like a little boy and had to work hard to be taken seriously by girls my own age. As you experienced looking young became an asset later in life.
    I am 60 now and loving it. This age (a birthday I dreaded) brings peace, calm, wisdom, perspective and grandchildren!! Our lives are better for these things – immeasurably better, richer, and from the grandkids we experience unconditional love again – Celebrate the metamorphosis!!!! It brings marvels along with the wrinkles…
    How we look is no longer central to our identity, who we are and how we relate is. We need to honor the accumulation of the years that which has made us, our generation, greater, even those things that involved painful challenges, and failings. Struggling through difficulties is how we developed the resilience and compassion that make us better people and better friends than we were. Owning our age is a step in the right direction – we boomers have altered the mindset of every life stage and are doing so again.

  6. reisingfost says:

    Simple Beaded One-shoulder Floor-length Mother of the Bride Dress – $240.00 : Professional wedding dresses stores, weddingdresstrend.org

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