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Sixty is the New Somethin’ Else

Roz Warren is the author of OUR BODIES, OUR SHELVES: LIBRARY HUMOR. This essay first appeared on Zest Now.

When Feminist icon Gloria Steinem, turning forty, was complimented on still being a pretty hot babe, she famously replied,  “This is what 40 looks like.”

Sixty is the New Somethin' Else

Steinem turned 80 this year. Google her. She‘s still a pretty hot babe.

Pete Townshend is known for singing  “Hope I die before I get old.” But he didn’t. At 69, he’s still around.

“It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” Neil Young once sang.

But Neil did neither. At 69, he’s still here too.

This is what we’ve learned. Maybe we‘re not that young anymore, to paraphrase The Boss.  But there’s something to be said for sticking around.

Just ask Joni Mitchell. She’s 71.

Or Sweet Baby James, at 66.

Paul Simon, who once sang, “how terribly strange to be seventy,” is seventy-three.

Is he feeling groovy? I bet he is.

“Who knows where the time goes?” sang Judy Collins, now 75.

Excellent question.

I’ m 60. I could pass for younger. But why should I? I’d rather be honest than coy about my age.  But while I‘d never claim to be younger than I am, in my little AARP-aged heart I don’t  FEEL that old.

I’m guessing that Chrissie Hynde, at 63, doesn’t either.

My friend Deb, who turns 70 this year,  says that when she recently caught an unexpected glimpse of herself in a mirror, her first thought was, “Who IS that old lady?”

“I’m retired. I’m a grandma. I’m old and, yes,  I’m wise. But inside?” she says, “I don’t feel a day over 27.”

Why believe what you see in the mirror?  Go with the age you are at heart.

I may have been born in 1954. But in my heart I’m no older than thirty-seven,  the age I was the year my son turned four.

Mick Jagger is 71. But at heart? I doubt he’s that much older than twenty.  (Time, obviously,  is on his side.)

Billy Joel (who once sang “only the good die young“) is 65. But his girlfriend is in her thirties. At heart, it’s unlikely that he’s ready for Medicare.

Some men I know seem frozen in perpetual adolescence. Others will always be in their forties. A 70-year-old woman I work with at the library turns into Scarlet O’Hara whenever an attractive man approaches the circulation desk. Her eyes sparkle, she bats her eyelashes and her wrinkles appear to vanish —   and the guys, young and old,  eat it up.

At heart, she can’t be a day over 24.

If you’re a senior yourself, be honest. Do you truly FEEL your age?  Or is your 63-year-old hungry heart telling you that you’re really twenty-three?

(By the way, The Boss turned 65 this year.)

How do we Boomers manage to feel so young, disregarding the evidence we see whenever we take a selfie?

We’re a generation that’s good at fantasy.

Remember the TV all of us watched growing up? Think Mary Martin as Peter Pan. If you actually believed that a middle-aged woman was a young boy (who could fly!) you can believe that you’re really seventeen, not seventy.

A magical talking horse. A suburban housewife who is really a witch. “My Mother The Car.” And what about “The Wizard of Oz?” If you could believe Judy Garland as a Kansas farm girl, you can believe anything.

So what if we’re kidding ourselves about how old we really are? We act responsibly. We take care of our families. We’re good at our jobs, or thriving in retirement. What the harm of being, at heart, decades younger than our faces?

This year, Bob Dylan turned seventy-three.  But in his heart?  Forever young.

Roz Warren

Roz Warren writes for the New York Times, the Funny Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Jewish Forward and the Huffington Post. And she‘s been featured on the Today Show. (Twice!) Her 13th humor book, ”Our Bodies, Our Shelves: A Collection Of Library Humor," is available on Amazon.

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Sandy Nelson

Monday 3rd of August 2015

I'm 63. I don't know what 63 is supposed to feel like, it's my first time being 63. But, I'm still rockin' it. I'm active and I think that's key. Stay moving. Be in life!

I remember my Grandmother at 70 in 1968. She had a poker game going every Friday night. There was booze and cursing, money bets, and five women.around the table--all in their 70's hootin' it up and gabbing about Frank Sinatra!!.

She is my role model!

Carol Graham

Monday 3rd of August 2015

Couldn't agree MORE! Absolutely. I started a new career at 65 with a serious upgrade at 67 and now I am busier than I ever was in my entire life and loving it. Age is a state of mind. Few people can keep up with me and I find that hilarious. You can be 40 and be OLD.

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