Apr 17, 2014
Tagged with:  Aging

 I turned 50 six months ago!

So, the next time someone asks me my age, I’m going to say, “50 and 1/2,” with joy and enthusiasm!


Will I do that? Maybe, maybe not, probably not. Wait just a minute, yes I will! Even though nearly everything in American culture tells me, I ought not celebrate being fifty. Surely, I should try to hide crossing the half century mark. It would behoove me to do everything within my power and my pocketbook’s not to look this old. Creams for the creepy skin of my neck, lotions for the crow’s feet around my eyes, hair dyes to remove the grey, spanks that defy the gravity of my lower body say – Hey! You’re old – at least have the decency not to look it! A doctor recently said to me with a sad nod and raised eyebrows, “Well, you are fifty now …”

What?!? How dare she say that to me, to any of us! Why is getting older a bad thing?   I think of that joke, old age is rough, but it beats the alternative. I, frankly, feel more full of ability than I ever have in my life. Yes, I sometimes look in the mirror and think, oh dear! Who is that? Sure, people tell me that my grandchildren are adorable -HELLO! THESE ARE ACTUALLY MY CHILDREN!  Oh Yes, sometimes I linger a little longer than I would like to admit in front of wrinkle creams.

Listen young grasshoppers there are many gifts that come with aging. For instance a lot of self consciousness drops away, acceptance of self and others comes more readily. There is no more trying to fit in and no more asking why don’t they like me? Plus, I am all the ages I have ever been. A cascade of choices plays in my head and I can reach in to be 7, 23, or 12. I think our concept of aging needs to change, along with our ideas about ability.

In China, age is associated with wisdom and respect. I was told while visiting Beijing, that the greatest compliment you can give someone is to ask their age and how they came to be so wise. Imagine that! Yes, let’s imagine that! While we’re at it, let’s imagine asking someone who uses a wheelchair, can you pop a wheelie? Or asking someone who is visually impaired and navigates the world with the cane, how did you learn to do that?

Let’s stretch our imaginations and create a world where every ability, every age, every difference is celebrated for its unique wisdom.  What is your favorite age? and why?


Author: Elizabeth Vander Kamp

  • L Kovalevsky

    You go sista!! You and your 50 years of unique experience! No one else has had the life you’re living…I haven’t thought of that before. Thanks for the welcome reminder that age, physical challenges or differences in abilities…don’t make anyone a second class citizen…if anything it makes us more experienced, compassionate, wise and resilient. Yeah us!! xo

  • Lori

    AMEN!!!! My favorite age is now! Thank you for this very important reminder.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Sista Lisa – you be da bomb – forever and always! Here’s to the next 50 years at least! xoxoox, E

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Hi Lori – Yahoo for now! And it’s always now!!! Thank you!

  • Phil

    I enjoyed your article, and the photo in particular! I wish I had been there! Even though I feel more comfortable with myself as the years pass, I notice I tell our children, “I’m old, be nice to me.” They insist I’m not old and ask that I stop saying that.
    As I get older, I like myself more. I have forgiven myself my failings, my weaknesses, and my shortcomings.

  • Elizabeth Vander Kamp

    Phil, Thank you for your comment and insights! Elizabeth