Illustration of older lady waving.
Essays,  General Thoughts

I’ve been old (but not necessarily wise) my whole life

I’ve been thinking a lot about aging lately. I just turned 43, and that plants me firmly in middle agedom. But in reality, I think I’ve been old my whole life.

Age vs. Maturity

Interesting/Funny story: My mom visited a psychic for fun when I was a small child, and I didn’t hear about it until I was older. The lady told my mom some things that were hard to hear, like that my dad would die from the cancer he was fighting. Another thing she told my mom was about me. She described me as a “little adult” who was well-spoken and would grow up to be artistic.

The psychic wasn’t the only person who described me as a miniature adult as a child. I was painfully shy around most children but could converse with adults when necessary. According to my mom, my stepdad was impressed with my intelligence at 4 years old when he married my mom.

I was pretty comfortable entertaining myself in a land of make-believe with my dolls and stuffed animals. Later, I made friends in school, but I was never in a huge group, preferring smaller interactions. To this day, I still prefer smaller interactions, although the thought of speaking in front of a crowd no longer terrifies me.

And long before the typical sullen teenage years, I needed solitude to recharge—I’m an introvert through and through.

Practical maturity does not always equal emotional maturity

Despite being practically more mature than some of my peers growing up, it didn’t mean my emotional maturity was advanced— especially regarding relationships. Little squabbles with friends or elementary boyfriends would leave me in shambles for weeks on end.

Sure, I had the maturity to keep up with my homework without prodding and take care of my money, but as a teen, I was sometimes so lonely I was beside myself. In typical (selfish) teenage fashion, I felt like the only girl without a boyfriend because I thought I was ugly, awkward, and no fun.

I longed for a romantic relationship long before I was ready for one, and as a result, my first adult “romance” damn near broke me forever. I was ready for love but wasn’t mature enough to love myself enough to walk away. Instead, I clung to something that wasn’t working instead of having the wisdom to accept that I could survive loving someone who didn’t love me back.

Practically, I kept up with my college studies, held down a job, sought a diagnosis for my digestive issues, and got my first apartment. Those were all things a young adult should be able to handle, but emotionally, I still had some growing up to do.

Hell, even at my age, I know I still have some growing up to do. There are times when being an adult really sucks, and I want to defer to a more experienced adult and let them solve my problems. As I tell my kids, we’re all just figuring it out as we go.

Can Old People Still Have Fun?

“You’re no fun” is a phrase I’ve heard more than once, and it is also one of my triggers to this day (thank you, therapy). I’ve heard it from companions when I didn’t want to participate in some activity or another, from a couple of guys in high school when I didn’t want to attend parties and drink, and once (jokingly) from my husband before I told him it hurt my feelings.

That phrase really irks me. It equates “old” with “no fun.” Like, “old” people stop having fun. Surely, that’s not true for all of them.

Who gets to say what I think is fun?

So what if I would rather stay in on a Friday or Saturday night and remember what I’ve done? Who cares if curling up with a good book was (and still is)  more fun to me than going to a dance club? I’m as old now as I ever was. What I liked in my teens and 20s is still fun today.

  • I like shopping at thrift stores and flea markets.
  • I love reading a good book (and writing one).
  • I often prefer staying in to going out.
  • I love attending concerts, going to the theater, and traveling (even if I have to go alone).
  • I like being sober.
  • I like chilling out in the hammock with my dogs underfoot.
  • I like playing board games or watching movies with my family.

Almost Old Enough for Self-Acceptance (Finally)

I think I’m almost old enough for self-acceptance. Something a few years of therapy has taught me is that I have to accept myself and love myself. Change isn’t necessary as long as I’m not harming anyone. I try to accept myself for who I am and not care about what others think, but I’m still a work in progress. We all are.

So this old lady will have to keep trying and have fun all the way through it.

Thank you for reading.

-Brandi Easterling Collins

Featured Image by pikisuperstar on Freepik

One Comment

  • Joan collins

    Old people still have fun. Brandi you do some fun things. Like flea marketing, movies, concerts, reading, Dean and I have fun together. We laugh a lot. We enjoy being with each other. We love playing with our fur baby. Aging has limited us to what we can do physically but simple things are the best to me anyway. Fixing a good meal, sitting on the front porch staring at people. lol!!! We love going to church together and singing praises to the Lord. Our sons and their families are a joy to us. We enjoy gardening together. Watching the birds eat out of the feeders
    Old people do have fun!!!

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