Thursday, January 31, 2008
Two of my husband’s cousins arrived yesterday for a short visit. They’re from Australia and they are here in the US for an extended visit. I picked them up at the airport yesterday afternoon and they will stay with us through our daughter’s basketball game tonight. Then they will be moving on to visit with other family members. Today the plan is for me to show them around Portland. I’m a native Oregonian and, even though we no longer live there, Portland is my home; it’s my city. The problem is, these are my husband’s youngest cousins; they are not our age, they are the age of our oldest son. I’m somewhat stymied as to where we should go during our day in Portland. When people our age visit and bring their kids, we go to the zoo. Sometimes people want to go shopping or look around Saturday Market. These cousins are “hip” (is that word still used?) young, international travelers – what should this “old lady” take them to see? And that’s the rub, the real problem: as I’ve thought about what to do with them, I’ve found myself feeling old and out-of-it. My kids might agree that I am old and out-of-it, but, since I don’t think of myself that way, I have a hard time facing a situation that puts me in that category. So, I guess my problem isn’t what to do with the cousins today, the problem is what to do with myself. How do I keep my negative age-self-talk from mentally graying my hair and wrinkling my face? Maybe that’s what positive aging is all about. We know we’re getting older, we know there’s a new generation, or two, following behind us, but, in addition to eating well, exercising and keeping our minds healthy in order to slow the aging process, we keep a mental image of ourselves that is vibrant and relevant; we don’t allow ourselves to become “the old lady”.