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.