I was bummed that when I turned 70 I could not have a huge party with a hundred friends and relatives. So I spent the money on plants. Any gardener would understand.

I felt good. I mean I was in rehab for a hip ligament thing and had balance issues, etc., but most of me was okay, so I’ll go with that.

It was January 16th, and the second day of Covid injections for 70 plus folks. My husband and I sat in our car for seven hours. We had to line up by five a.m. I spent the majority of the time curled up with pillows and a comforter sipping mocha coffee from my thermos. Oh, and eating donuts, because nothing says time to careen off the diet wagon like getting a shot.

We both had mild symptoms and were happy campers. We went hiking off trail and I got caught in a 30 foot wide blackberry thicket with only a piece of driftwood to hack my way back to civilization. I was scratched all to heck, but was rather proud of my 2.5 hour wilderness adventure.

It wasn’t until a few weeks later that I googled something about being 70 that the word “septuagenarian” popped up. A harbinger of decrepitude. Stale smells of fabric mites, traces of urine and somehow peppermint surfaced from my subconscious brain. Old memories of visiting nursing homes ricocheted past my reptilian olfactory brain synapsing over to conscious awareness and down to my vocal cords. I moaned. Then I swore.

I love being an active 70 year old. I was snowshoeing the day before my birthday. I garden. I read. I was in a radio drama this spring and I know how to Zoom. My mind could not resolve the two concepts.

Septuagenarian sounds like a dinosaur. I think that is intentional and not a very funny joke this side of Medicare. I tried to come up with a replacement. “Seventy Hip” or more accurately “Seventy the New Hip” or “Without your glasses on I look 50”.

At 50 my upper lip had so many vertical lines it could set off a barcode reader. Now I am up with the times. My lower lip has equal amounts of lines so my mouth looks like a square code reader. My smile lines run down my face like mascara in the rain. I have my mother’s jowls and my family’s forehead creases. (Remember the joke where you squish your face vertically with your hands and say, “Lady, lady. Open up the elevator doors?)

I don’t see myself as a gray-haired old lady with wrinkles until a harsh sunny-day photo appears, and there they are, a fine patina of vertical lines down my cheeks like crepe paper. I have more wrinkles than a basket full of Shar Pei puppies. Why are they cute on dogs?  I feel like a Bar-B-Q lighter…a few more bright flames, but one day, any day could be the day there is only click-click-click and then nada.

So until that day I am rejecting being an old dinosaur and marching forward, um with my pills, walking stick, and recyclable water bottle. Septuagenarian my patootie. I am 70% wonderful.

you may also like

Recipes We