When is Getting Old Worth It?

The other night I watched Betty White’s 90th Birthday Celebration. I watched because I admire Betty White, her successes, her humor, her endurance. How wonderfully she’s aging. 90 years old, and look at her! She has her own TV show(s), she guests on many shows, she’s intelligent, lucid, active. If I could grow that old that way, it would be worth it. It would be wonderful.

Betty when she was younger

Oh, I’m sure she’s had some work done. It seems to be what you do when you’re a star (although Judi Dench doesn’t seem to have fallen into that). But not to the extent some have – Mary Tyler Moore, Carol Burnett, for instance. While I love both of them, I think they’ve gone a bit overboard. I think they are not aging quite as gracefully as Betty.

Aging is tough, sometimes. My biggest fear about aging is becoming a burden. On anyone. If I am a burden, I don’t wish to exist anymore. If I can’t do for myself, what is the point anyway? The wrinkles aren’t important, nor is the sagging skin. Well maybe it matters a little. I am not without vanity, after all. A wake-up call was when I complained to my son that a picture he took showed my wrinkles, vividly. He responded with “Mom, you have wrinkles!” Oh. So we’re going to talk reality, are we? Fine, just fine.

The advantage to aging is that my emotions run more level now, I am more mellow. That’s not to say I don’t get angry, or excited, or passionate about things. But it takes more to set me off, little things don’t bother me nearly as much. Another advantage is that there are certain things that are no longer expected of me, because I’m not young. I needn’t carry heavy packages, I needn’t climb tall ladders, I needn’t give up my seat on public transportation. Unless I choose to. I can be grumpy, if I choose to. I can wear purple dresses and red hats, and I can drag my cane along an iron fence, enjoying the racket (or I could if I had a cane, or knew where there was an iron fence). I can spend my pension on wine (a bit of paraphrasing there). I can be all those things Jenny Joseph so eloquently expressed in her poem “Warning – When I am an Old Woman I shall wear Purple”. And more. I can be just what I want to be.

Betty White, in maturity

And what I want is to be able to age like Betty White, complete with bawdy humor.


About Carol

I'm me - nothing unusual, just me. Widowed, 2 grown children who are my best friends, 1 dog, retired, loving being retired. I am woman, I am strong.
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9 Responses to When is Getting Old Worth It?

  1. and like Betty White, or fine wine, we get better as we age 🙂


  2. suzicate says:

    She has always been lovely and quite a character…to age like her is grace!
    I’ve debated about whether or not to purchase my own domain, but so far have ruled against it…too much trouble for people who already have subscriptions I’d think, and wordpress covers all my needs thus far.


  3. Kathy says:

    If only we can all age like Betty White…I want to, as well.


  4. Dawn says:

    There’s a woman friend of mine that I used to run with. She’s headed toward 70, still running (I am not)..she’s training for a spring marathon. I want to be just like her when I grow up. And I tell her that repeatedly!


  5. Heather says:

    Aging is certainly a dilemma about which we have very little choice. I’ve come across several articles at work lately (I work in the healthcare data industry) about dying, and it’s had me thinking. Too bad we all can’t age like Betty White. She’s a favorite of mine as well, and I wish more celebrities would take a cue or two from her.


  6. Lisa says:

    She was a stunning woman in her youth, wasn’t she? I’ve always liked her…especially her bawdy sense of humor! May we all age so well.


  7. The amazing thing about Betty is that she is timeless. My son came across an SNL episode she was hosting and that was all he could talk about the next day. If a 90 year old can impress a 13 yr old with her character and sense of humor, more power to her!


  8. Consider the alternative! I think Betty is a great example of staying young while growing older.


  9. Aging well – it’s a wonderful goal! Eventually, though, everyone comes to a point where we need help. I’ve been watching this happen to family members, and have come to realize that it’s not just important, it’s vital to learn how to accept help. Not so much for our own benefit – no, learn to be grateful when it’s appropriate so your helpers don’t have the added burden of letting you pretend they aren’t needed.

    Getting old. It’s not for wimps. 😦


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