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Grandma or Glamma? Being cool about aging in the new millenium


So the transplant destination wedding location and date have been set, and already there is more exciting good news. I am going to be a grandmother! (Yes, things move fast in this household)!

Once my brain stopped reeling over how to simultaneously plan a transplant wedding and a transplant baby shower, it settled on the more important issues.

There will soon be an adorable little baby to cuddle. The family legacy continues. My daughter is going to be an awesome momma.


Wait, what? How is it even possible that I will be a matriarch? Wasn’t I just in college? Don’t I still know the lyrics to all the latest and coolest music? Can’t I still run as fast and jump as high as I ever did (admittedly, not very fast or high. One of the drawbacks of short legs). Don’t I still wear high heels? Grandmas don’t do that, do they? Aren't I a whiz with technology, including my amazing iPhone? What does it mean to be a grandmother in the new millennium? Can we can still be glamorous and dance and wear cute clothes?

Contemplating Grandmahood has forced me to realize that it’s getting harder to function under the delusion that I am still in my thirties. Even with the blessing of good genes and good health (my own mom is a nonagenarian), even though just the other day I was compared to Benjamin Button, even though my coworkers say that I act, think, dance and sometimes dress like I’m in my twenties, the math just doesn’t add up.

But what is aging really? Satchel Paige once said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

Personally, I like to abide by that theory. Ignore your age and it will ignore you. Therefore nothing irks me more than when my contemporaries explain away every illness, ache, pain, fatigue and health issue by saying, “I’m getting old.”

I want to say, no, you’re not getting old, you’re just being lazy. Or maybe you need more sleep, or more exercise. Or how about getting off the couch once or twice a week? Or just take a vitamin and be quiet!

I’m sorry if that sounds harsh. But today 50 is the new 40. We’re living longer than ever. Grandmas no longer wear sensible shoes and sit in rocking chairs. So if we start complaining about our age now, what’s going to happen by the time we really are old? We won’t have any voice left not because we’re old, but because we used it all up whining.

I recently tried to read Anna Quindlen’s memoir Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. I've always loved Quindlen’s writing and have read most of her work. But I simply could not finish this book. It annoyed me too much. Because instead of it being an ode to coming into one’s own as a woman of a certain age, all I kept hearing was “I can’t do this or that anymore because I’m too old.”

C’mon, Anna, you’re better than that!

Because there IS a lot to celebrate about aging. One really does become smarter and wiser after having so many experiences to learn from. (Unless one is insane of course.) Many things do become easier. Like the way I barely need to try things on anymore when shopping for clothes. I’ve been on enough shopping expeditions to know by looking at something on a hanger whether or not it will look good on me.

And one’s perspective truly does change. I really don’t care much anymore about rules or what other people think of me, as long as I think I’m doing right. For example, keeping a perfect house is no longer important to me. I mean, my house is tidy and the Board of Health certainly wouldn’t shut it down if it was a restaurant, but I don’t obsess over cleaning like I did when I was younger. Now I wonder…why did I ever care so much about that? Perhaps it’s because I spent so much time in the house when my kids were growing up and I was a stay-at-home mom raising them. (And now that those kids are grown I can also sing along to music in the grocery store or in the car as loudly as I want to and there’s no one to roll their eyes at me.)

And speaking of being in the house, I rarely am anymore. My kids are out, I did my job, and now it’s time to be a little selfish and do what I want. That’s another thing I believe keeps you young. Find something you love to do and do it, and you’ll have too much fun to notice your age.

I was never one of those girls who did cartwheels. I was never able to pull off a really good cartwheel and never went through that phase most little girls do where they break into spontaneous cartwheeling for no apparent reason. My own daughters did. God only knows where they got their cartwheel abilities from. But if I was a cartwheel girl, I would still be doing cartwheels down the hall. Instead I sometimes break into a skip when no one’s looking, just because it’s fun.

Perhaps I find it a bit harder to focus these days (was that a squirrel?) but physically I honestly don’t feel any different than I did thirty years ago. Sometimes I think I have more energy now than ever. Who knows? Maybe I’m actually manic, but it’s pretty damn fun.

And as for being a Grandma? I will definitely be down for some intense babysitting and I hope that kid goes home at times and complains to his or her mom that I wore him or her out.

So yes, I am fine with the idea of a grandchild. I am more than fine. I am thrilled.

Just don’t call me Grandma. It’s Glamma, thank you very much!

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