Serena J. Cavanaugh :: Blog

March 30, 2009

Feeling Old

Filed under: Beauty, Cultural Rants — Tags: , , — serena @ 9:50 pm


“Already?” my twenty year old niece asked.


“Yup,” I answered. “I can hardly believe it.”


We were discussing my thirteen year old and the fact that he is, well, a teen.


My niece surprised me when she said, “Wow, that makes me feel old.”


I chuckled – and it was in no ways a chuckle of delight, but one of bitterness. I had once felt “old” the way she did, and that was much, much more preferable to the “old” I feel now.


Old isn’t so much the shock of your up-coming ten year high school reunion, but more the realization that you have forgotten the names of high school acquaintances, teachers, and even some memories that without family and friends would be completely erased from your mind.


It isn’t so much waking up sore after a long day of skiing, but waking up with an aching back for no reason. In fact, it’s opting not to ski because you can’t bare the thought of falling and the pain that will follow for days when falling used to be fun and funny.


It’s accepting the double digit pant size, the one piece swimsuit, the fine lines around your eyes, the ever changing body of a woman as it morphs into a phase that doesn’t put its best face forward.


But this isn’t to say that my niece – and myself when I was her age – isn’t feeling something akin to old… but what is it?


I suppose she is merely feeling the passage of time, which can be easily mistaken for feeling old when you don’t know any better. I wish I had understood that idea for what it was rather than mislabeling and thereby assigning it negative connotations that it didn’t deserve. The passing of time, unlike aging, should invigorate and motivate. In that way it is a beautiful thing.


Then, I wonder, am I – right now — really feeling old, or is it again just the passage of time? If so, then I should perhaps feel motivated to focus on my health and relationships in ways I never did in my twenties. Is my mother in her sixties really feeling old, or is she too just readjusting her motives? 




What I am Reading



The Adventure of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

No Regrets by Michele Ann Young


  1. I really enjoyed this one. i think you’re getting the hang of it.

    Comment by daffy — April 1, 2009 @ 2:10 pm

  2. Really? I had major reservations about this one, but I am so glad you liked it.

    Comment by serena — April 1, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

  3. I like this. It provokes a little introspection and review. :)
    My “I feel old” moment came when some of my students had no idea who Adam West was. They’re around 20-21… and the gap between them and myself suddenly seemed enormous. They hadn’t seen Willow, either, which merely struck me as tragic.

    Comment by Rachel — April 8, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  4. This made me think of all those times in my life when I said to myself, “I know better now cause I’m older.” No matter how old you are, 7 or 70, you think for sure you know everything; but the passing of time doesn’t always bring wisdom.

    Comment by S.Herbst — April 21, 2009 @ 10:32 pm

  5. have to agree with #4, wisdom comes after the fact. you have to travel the road before you get the wisdom.

    What makes me sad is that even though you may tell your niece “age is a state of mind” , she will never believe you!
    With this craze for anti aging, our time on this planet and in this life is a sad thing to loose and hide. With each wrinkle, laugh line, crows feet and grey hair, we mark the passages of knowledge and wisdom. We have our sorrowful moments, our laugh out loud moments, our pain, our trials and woes, our narrowing of eyes when we see things that are good or bad, ugly and beautiful; things we have experienced in this world. They all mark our experiences and prove that we overcame them. Our badges of courage as we pass through time. Viva Aging! Were it proud and with honor and grace I say! It is why we look with awe and respect at that lovely older woman who stands tall. We can see in her eyes that passage, the road to wisdom. I want to be like that when I am finally old enough to say “I am old”..

    Comment by samantha dollar — April 25, 2009 @ 6:50 pm

  6. # 5 — It’s looking old that is looked down upon, not so much getting old. To me this is sad. Strange, too, that women depicted in movies and on T.V. never look younger than 20, or older than 30, no matter how old or how young the character they are depicting are. Take Ann Margret, who played the 16 year old heroine in the 1963 Bye Bye Birdie production… when she was 22.

    Comment by serena — May 27, 2009 @ 12:51 pm

  7. #4 Willow was one of the first “grown up” movies I shared with my kids and they loved it. How can any parent neglect their children to such a degree as to not share with them the movies of their childhood? Tsk. Tsk.

    Comment by serena — May 27, 2009 @ 12:52 pm

  8. #4 — It isn’t so much knowing everything at any certain age, but just recognizing that every age is a transition, a constant movement. If we embrace this, than age will motivate us to grow and change, to refocus rather than stagnate. Wisdome, I think, is 90% acceptance. Or maybe more. Maybe 100%.

    Comment by serena — May 27, 2009 @ 12:56 pm

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