the MIRREN LEE

The 2012 Act Three Journey of an Actress/Coach/Writer.

Day 55 Age

Posted by themirrenlee on 24/02/2012

Hang onto a good attitude, and ageing won't be scary, it'll be interesting.

Age.

Attitude determines your age, not years.

I know old 20 year olds, and young 90 year olds. There are people in nursing homes staring at TV game shows who are only in their 60s. Then there’s Betty White with a career resurgence at 90.

I was reminded of this while spending the day with Zina yesterday. In March she turns 91, and yet even her doctors are astounded at how young she seems. At one appointment she attended, she said the doctor told her to wait while he brought in some colleagues to show them how young she looked! (We are NOT talking about plastic surgery, we are talking about a natural youthful attitude, and a corresponding youthful appearance because of it.)

Evidently, according to this theory of evolution, we all start out as cats, then become a child, a robot, a cricket player, and someone needing a cane. Hmmmmm ...

And yet, because of our illogical, incorrect and just plain stupid perceptions, she constantly hears the phrase, “At your age …”.

“At your age, you have to accept your limitations.” “At your age, you have to take it easier.” “At your age, you can’t do everything you used to take for granted.”

As a result, she has started constantly using the phrase herself. I told her yesterday that every time she says, “At my age …” she has to pay me a dollar. Pretty soon I’ll be able to go first class to Europe!

Let’s examine this, shall we? We change physically with each passing day. That’s a fact of life. We’re born, we decay, we die. People hate thinking about it, but that’s the way it is. The circle of life.

I don’t have a problem with it, because I have a very strong Spiritualist/Buddhist faith. I believe we’re each here for specific reasons, to learn karmic lessons for our own particular souls, and then we cross over and reincarnate back. I don’t think about this faith, or try to convince others of it, I’ve just always believed it. I’ve had many psychic experiences in my life, which may have helped to imprint it on my consciousness, but whatever, it just feels right and I am very comfortable with the way life is. I’m also not afraid of death, which is not the case, I’ve found, with many so-called religious people.

I’ve never understood that. If you believe in a god figure, such as Jesus or Mohammed, and their individual heavens/after lifes, then how can you be afraid of death? I have to say it kind of implies to me that maybe you don’t get as much comfort from your religious faith as you should.

The same with ageing. If you feel that your religion has the answers for why you’re here, and what you’re supposed to be doing, then it seems to me that you should consider ageing a natural part of the whole process – the growth part, in fact.

With all the progress we’ve made with health issues and our quality of life (unfortunately, only in the more developed parts of the world), we’re living longer than ever before. As the saying goes, “50 is the new 30, 60 is the new 40, and so on.” (So I guess 20 is the 10? Yeah, that feels about right!) And yet, we still seem to be stuck in the old mindsets, before the Baby Boomers changed the rules about ageing, and said, “I still feel 18 inside.”

The mindsets that say, as we age, we should dress/act/feel/do things in a certain way. Women, in particular, are the victims in the ageing wars. A 60 year old woman is considered to be on the scrap heap, not sexually attractive, and ready to wear a blue rinse in her hair and a flowered polyester dress. Uhhh, people, hate to break your mind but the list of older women who are still rocking their sexuality is endless. Madonna will be 54 this year! Meryl Streep, at 63, can’t keep up with the work thrown her way. Not to mention all the women in their 60s fast approaching 70: Helen Mirren (talk about sexuality!), Cher (almost 66), and the luscious Susan Sarandon (64). Tina Turner is 71 (and have you seen her lately?!), Sophia Loren was doing a sexy striptease in “Pret a Porter” when she was 60 (She’s 77 now and still gorgeous – I think there might be something to that whole pasta diet idea.)

I have to say that the English (and Europe, in general) have led the way forever when it comes to “allowing” women to age in the entertainment Industry, and not “punishing” them for it. We see more older women (looking their age, as well, not Botoxed to rigidity) in English films and TV shows than we ever see in American ones. I think we’re starting to see a slow, but steady, change though, as directors complain that Botoxed actresses can’t give them expressions!

With the guys, it’s expected that they’ll still be attractive to women, even if they’ve got one foot in the grave – something about the penis that just gives them carte blanche to feel sexy at any age. But still, I have to admire people like Mick Jagger, who at 68 shows no signs of ever giving up rock and roll. And Clint Eastwood at almost 82 certainly doesn’t let age dictate his activities. Hans Solo, sorry, Harrison Ford, will be 70 this year and is also still going strong.

I could go on for pages giving examples of people who just look upon age as a number, not a command to slow down. And not just in the arts. If you’re interested in looking up how old people in show business are, go to The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) and type in the name you’re interested in. It started out as a small data base run by movie buffs, and is now THE Industry website for information.

I turned 61 in January. I was so sick as a child with asthma that I never thought I’d live to become an adult, so every day is a gift to me. I just ignore what I’m “supposed” to do, and get on with living my life the way I want. My first husband was 10 years older than me (and since I was 16 that was a bit scandalous, but then being pregnant at 15 trumped the age thing!), my second husband was 5 years older than me (so that was “acceptable”), then my third was 4 years younger (oooh, getting a bit Bohemian), and my last was 19 years younger. Now THAT was food for gossip! He was 3 years younger than my son, David. And when my grandson was born, my husband became a “grandfather” at 29! Delicious.

You’ve just got to enjoy your life at any age, and keep good health as your primary objective, always. You actually have no idea how old you really are, because you have no idea when you’re going to be called to that big movie set in the sky. If you’re 20, but are destined to only be here until you turn 40, well then, you’re middle aged. If, on the other hand, you’re 40 and will beat the Queen Mother’s passing (102), then hey, you’re a young ‘un.

As Maude said, “Give me an L. Give me an I. Give me a V. Give me an E. L-I-V-E. LIVE! Otherwise, you got nothing to talk about in the locker room.” (In the movie, “Harold and Maude”, which is about a friendship between a wonderfully eccentric 80 year old woman and a sad, suicidal young man. Well, it was actually about a friendship with benefits, but no one wanted to admit that with the age difference; that felt too “creepy”. See? Mindset. It’s a very funny, inspirational movie, and I wish the whole world would see it.)

Embrace your age, whatever it is. And be too busy enjoying life to even REMEMBER how old you are!

I’m just happily agein’ …

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