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Here’s to Aging, However it’s Defined – by Dianne Drake

cathy-rigby-peter-pan[1]I love Broadway musicals.  I’ll admit it.  I always have, always will.  And while I don’t get to Broadway too often, I do go to as many of the Broadway roadshows as I can.  So, last night we went to see Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby.  I’ve never given her much thought as an actress, but I did know she’s done this role for quite a while.  Little did I know how long (close to 40 years!)  And little did I know Cathy’s age.  She’s 60!  Yep, the big six-oh.  And she’s a powerhouse, flying around on stage, doing all those gymnastics, cartwheels, hand stands.  Peter Pan is a vigorous role for anyone of any age, and there was Cathy leading the way, while another actress, probably 35 years younger, struggled for breath. Yet, as the younger actress was gasping, Cathy Rigby was kicking it around better than actors who were young enough to be her grandchildren.  Hats off to Cathy Rigby.  She’s amazing at any age.  But at 60?  Oh, my heavens, I’m impressed. 

I watched the show before I Googled Cathy’s age, and I’ll admit if I’d known how old she was prior to the show starting, I would have probably looked for signs of aging.  It would have distracted me.  Glad I didn’t know, because I was caught up in the pure magic of the performance.  But now, in the aftermath, I’m left wondering, what exactly is 60?  Or 70?  Or 50? 

My grandmother certainly would have never flown out over an audience dropping fairy dust on them when she was 60.  In fact, she was a gray-haired, prim and proper little granny-type at that age.  She stayed at home, wore an apron, baked pies.  Nana was the epitome of everything a grandmother should be – no bloom of youth on her that I remember.  And yet four children have a grandmother who routinely does aerial somersaults as part of her workday.  She dresses in tights (looks great!) and gets hoisted up in the air.  So my question is, when did 60 become young?  When did people that age get back into life and kick the proverbial old-age stuff in the butt?  Because when I was growing up, 60 was old.  No two ways about it.  It looked old, it acted old.  It certainly didn’t flaunt itself (and couldn’t have flaunted itself) the way Cathy Rigby’s 60 was flaunting itself on and above the stage.

The thing I’m noticing about aging in myself is, I’m not like my grandmother was.  Not even like my mother.  The ladies of my past had retirement expectations when they were 60, and they lived like it.  Life had pretty much passed them by as far as hopes and dreams and expectations.  In so many ways, they were done achieving.  And it wasn’t just my mom and grandmother.  It was their friends, and my friends’ mothers and grandmothers.  I think there was a different expectation just a generation or two ago.  As I’m creeping along that path, though, I’m anything but done.  I have books to write, a family business to run, places to go, new things to explore.  People still expect figurative aerial somersaults from me.  In fact, if I were an actress (and in great physical shape), it would probably never occur to me that at age 60 I couldn’t fly like Cathy does. 

The generations are changing, I think.  Maybe in the past we were conditioned to get old, told that’s what we had to do.  But as Peter Pan said: “I don’t want to grow up.”  The heck of it is, Cathy Rigby proves you don’t have to.  And what’s amazing is that at age 60, people everywhere are flocking into the theaters to see her do what grandmothers just a few years back would have never attempted.  So, what will I be doing when I turn 60?  Pretty much the same things I’m doing now because, like Peter, I don’t want to grow up either.  I want to continue writing my stories where love prevails and happily-ever-after is always guaranteed.  I may not be able to soar through the air as I’m doing it, but that’s OK.  I’ll leave the aerial acrobatics for the 60 year-olds who can do them.  And I’ll be in the audience, applauding them on.

Here’s to aging, however it’s defined! 

Now, I’m going to do a little giveaway here.  Free book and another little goody.  But here’s the deal.  First, you’ve got to be 60 or more.  Second, you’ve got to be the first one of that age to respond to my blog.  I’m not going to make you do aerial somersaults or anything like that.  Just give me a shout-out. 

Until next month, wishing you health, happiness and all the aerial acrobatics you care to do. 



13 thoughts on “Here’s to Aging, However it’s Defined – by Dianne Drake”

  1. I’m only 51 so not eligible for the draw but I did enjoy your blog. It hadn’t really occurred to me how expectations have changed but you are so right. I will not be knitting in a rocking chair at sixty. Hopefully that wont be because I’m too senile to remember how to knit. 😉

  2. I’m having a good laugh thinking you’re actually going to get women to shout out they’re over sixty! LOL. I can’t hide it from the mirror as I add on a new year every November – but somehow I worry telling the world my age can impact my writing career.

    For those who may be holding back on shouting out your age – I’ll say one thing – Dianne gives great gifts!!!!

  3. Diane, my parents are 80 and 81 and so busy that I look at them and think, “am I never going to get a slow down period in my life!” 😉 Age is a state of mind. A remarkable Australian, Dame Elizabeth Murdoch died recently aged 101. She was a powerhouse of philanthropy and a perfect example of how keeping connected and involved (plus good genes) keeps you young.

    1. I knew a gal once who got her pilot’s license when she was 93. She won a national ballroom dancing competition when she was 96. Ran a trucking company until she retired at 103. Age really is a state of mind!

  4. Loved your blog. I will be 53 in May and I think of when I was young-ER (cause I am still young!) and I thought people in their 50’s were soooo old, . Now I know the truth – the old cliche is true and we are only as old as we feel. I wear fun clothes (okay, no belly shirts or naval rings – I have my limits), I refuse to cut my hair (for which I get a lot of flak because of age – excuse me, is it a law we have to cut our hair at a certain age) and I still have fun with my kids and hubby. It is so different today because I think we are finally doing what some other countries have always done – not be afraid of aging by embracing it.

    1. My brother was a gymnist, almost went to the Olympics, then discovered the world of girls and that was all for him. Me – I was doing good to walk and chew gum at the same time.

  5. Dianne,
    I’m not 60 yet but as I had a birthday this week I’m well on my way. Even at 54 I’m just getting started with my new career and don’t plan to get old anytime soon. Glad to hear you’re not going to either.

  6. Diane ~ I’m 64 and I could never do gymnastics either. I’m trying really hard to get back in shape so I can still hike this summer. I know that some days when I wake up I feel old and other days I feel fantastic. Either way I haul my body out for that hour long walk.

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