Aging is an extraordinary process where you become the person you always should have been.
This is sixty-five.
65 is gratitude more than anything else. Gratitude for each of the 23,725 days I’ve lived on this planet.
65 is thin skin. All I have to do is knock my hand against a counter in passing, and I have a bruise.
65 is having graduated from high school 47 years ago. Which is insane.
65 is still knowing all the lyrics to “I’m a Believer.”
65 is not needing any more prescriptions than I needed at 57.
65 is halfway between 50 and 80, which, as hard as I try, I cannot wrap my head around. I mean, I was just 50.
65 is still more freedom than I’ve ever had to do what I want. The constraints of age may kick in at some point, but right now, the freedom meter is still going up.
65 is having one book published and another scheduled for publication when I’m 66 and working on novel #5 and understanding how critical revision is to my writing process. I can only go so deep at one time. Which is why I have to go back again and again.
65 is often dancing my way to 10,000 steps, and I can still do the pony like it was 1969. It’s playing the music loud not because I can’t hear it but because I like it loud. It’s having played 45s, albums, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs, and now pressing a button on my phone. Current favorite dance song is Pink’s “Raise Your Glass.”
65 is my body being a little stiff—in the mornings and if I stay in one position for too long. And I don’t spring up off the floor anymore. I get down there, and I get back up, but no springing.
65 is not yet having used age as a reason I can’t do something. And I still want to do just as many things as I wanted to do at 15.
65 is understanding that I will always be preoccupied with freedom.
65 is using the timer on my watch to remind me I’ve been sitting too long and to take the pizza out of the oven. These days time races by if I’m focusing on something.
65 is having spent 999 days in my small house in Provincetown, on the very tip of Cape Cod, as far as you can go without falling into the sea. I love being here, in the winter most of all. And I love being the only one on a dark street with the wind freezing cold.
65 is still eating cheese at most meals and still preferring a candy bar or sour gummies to a fancy dessert.
65 is 6 grandchildren. But we are not your mothers’ grandmothers; we are grandmothers who text from airplanes.
65 is, as Cal says, one day older than I was yesterday.
65 is not walking down the stairs anymore putting on a shirt. In fact, I don’t walk down the stairs doing anything else. And, my hand is usually just above the railing.
65 is no longer having parents who are alive. My father died when I was 61, and my mother died four months later, when I was 62.
65 is not having as many days as I have lived still to live, which is why I’m obsessed with how I spend my days.
65 is still loving to travel—all the movement and that moment the wheels lift off the ground. The pandemic has taken some fun out of it, that’s for sure. But I still love it.
65 is getting back to strength training after a year off due to a shoulder injury and feeling stronger this year than last year. It’s understanding that my left shoulder and my right foot will not get better without surgery and that surgery is not worth it.
65 is having watched and loved The Killing, The Fall, Broadchurch, The Tunnel, Hinterland, Trapped, Bordertown, Deadwind, Occupied, CB Strike, All the Sins, Rectify, Borgen, Big Little Lies, and The Split. I particularly like the snowy moodiness of Nordic crime dramas. It’s having watched Love Story on the big screen the same week it came out back in 1970. It’s having only been able to see Mary Poppins once as a child because there was no buying or renting or streaming.
65 is being a Delta Diamond Medallion Flyer for the first time.
65 is almost never wearing makeup, forgetting to even pack it. It’s wearing black exercise pants most of the time, then changing into black sleep pants.
65 is 37 years of marriage and still liking each other, even after being quarantined together, just the two of us, all day long, for days and then weeks and then months. A schedule is what saved us. Having specific alone time and together time. And no talking in the morning even when we ended up at the coffee maker at the same time. (That was for me.) He still makes me laugh.
65 is still using the word still.
65 is listening to The Lumineers and HAIM and Vienna Teng and Brandi Carlile and and Langhorne Slim and Jade Bird and Maggie Rogers (especially when she goes high like in Fallingwater) and listening to Mumford & Sons’ Forever, Bill Callahan’s One Fine Morning, Hozier’s Would That I, One Direction’s Story of My Life (yes, oh my gosh, I love singing to this), Sara Bareilles and John Legend’s A Safe Place to Land, Kevin Morby’s Nothing Sacred / All Things Wild, and The Secret Sisters’ Hold You Dear…
65 is not yet 70, although it’s close to 70. It’s not yet 80 or 90. It’s not yet 100.
65 is being excited about the days ahead and the rest of this journey that belongs to me.
She sees that she has before her an important task: to understand that all the things that happened in her life happened to her. That she is the same person who was born, was a child, a girl, a young woman, and now she is old. That there is some line running through her body like a wick.
–Mary Gordon, The Rest of Life
THIS IS 65