Feeling Older and Younger

Old young blog pix

Yesterday I received emails from two men on two different dating sites: a 57-year-old from OurTime and an octogenarian (86) from Match. Only the younger one brought up age, wondering if I’d date a younger man.

Perhaps this age span makes sense, as I am simultaneously feeling both older and younger. Does that mean I’m not aging?

Join me in some 1-pot pumpkin yellow curry while I discuss.

The online dating world makes you acutely aware of your age, even if you’re gracefully ignoring this fact in everyday life. Men select their age preferences when they’re in search mode so if you’re not in their preferred age range, you won’t appear as they browse.

Each dating site has its own peculiarities regarding age selection. On Tinder, for example, the lowest age range I can select is 46, younger than I’m comfortable with, and the upper limit is 55+.

So far, I have been honest about my age on these sites but I know men and women who present a younger persona. Sometimes, they’ll reveal their true age in their profile…as if to say, now that I’ve hooked you, here’s the real scoop.

Regardless of age, here are nine ways to feel younger. I live these principles and I think that explains my youthful outlook.

*Be open to new experiences

*Engage in frequent fun activities

*Delight in everyday occurrences – nature, human kindness, animal antics

*Value friends and family

*Be optimistic

*Be interested in romance and sex

*Practice resilience; ride out rough times

*Be active every day

*Live a relatively healthy lifestyle

Despite these principles, I feel older in various ways – some good, some bad. Some you would not choose to have.

Nine examples of feeling older:

*Living with new aches and pains

*Experiencing age-related health issues

*Realizing the limits of a life span

*Feeling frustrated and pessimistic about finding one of the ones

*Observing age-related physical changes to face — damn that harsh lighting

*Observing age-related physical changes to body (despite exercise). Thank God for Spanx

*Being more bold and outspoken (in some cases where I decide I’m mad as hell and not going to take it anymore)

*Feeling more capable (experience can result in competence)

*Recognizing that time on this planet has helped me figure life – and myself – out.

On a good day, feeling younger wins. I might have an exciting dating possibility or I’m looking forward to a new experience, or meeting a new friend. On other days, I wake creaky, stiff, and sleep deprived, and wonder if I’ll ever have a significant other again.

Some days I’m a mix of both: creaky but happy about seeing a beautiful sunrise. Perhaps those “mixed” days are the definition of middle age.

Until next week, enjoy whatever age you feel…and happy dating or not dating.









blog pix birthday

I’m late with this post but I have a good excuse. I was celebrating my birthday. I looked up celebrating to be sure that word still works for me at my new older age…and in the broader sense it does, so I’m keeping it.

Let’s talk about birthdays in this age of uncertainty: uncertainty about revealing your age, whether in fact you’re happy about getting older, and any related existential questions. And since fish is good for you as you age, check out this excellent collection of fish recipes from Positive Health Wellness while we chat.

I celebrated my birthday with relatives – including my children, siblings, and their significant others. We ate too much, I opened presents, and we caught up with family news. It was a lot of fun and I felt loved and appreciated…but of course there can be a dark side to birthdays.

For one thing, I was dreading seeing my age change on all the dating sites and apps. I already feel that I – and all women – face age discrimination on these sites. This is evident not just from receiving fewer messages from men as I get older but also from reading profiles.

Many men on dating sites say they don’t want to meet women their own age. Think 5 to 10 years younger and perhaps 20. A matchmaker I consulted (but didn’t hire due to cost) felt that I might do better offline where guys wouldn’t judge me based on a number. But I don’t seem to meet eligible men in real life so online I stay.

So far I have resisted lying about my age online even though I have seen many cases of men fudging their age. For the most part, pictures don’t lie (if they’re current) so the gig is up as soon as I meet someone and see that “no, he’s not 62, he looks like 75.”

What do you think of when you use the word young to describe an “older” person? To me, being youthful is more than just about appearance. Of course that is a factor and one that is fueled by a healthy lifestyle (not to mention clothing). But energy, attitude, and personality are key.

Is this person open to new experiences – individually and with his or her social network? Is she interested in learning and growing? Is he open to new ideas? Does she embrace life and follow one or more passions? All of these things make someone young.

Another indicator of youth: a purpose-driven life. Having a sense of purpose is important at all ages but can be lifesaving as you age. Research has shown that older adults with a sense of purpose are less likely to develop certain diseases and have a greater chance of living longer. For me, this blog provides a sense of purpose and I encourage anyone with an interest in writing to start one.

If I think about the positive aspects of birthdays, I recognize that they provide a chance to review any life lessons learned. Sometimes there’s regret that you didn’t learn those lessons earlier! But when you’re an experiential learner like me, there’s no substitute for learning through trial and error. And that takes time, which equals aging.

One life lesson learned: seize whatever positive opportunity presents itself no matter what your plans are. Presented with an unexpected chance to be with your children? Yes, go for it and let the blog post wait another day. Received a late in the day invitation from a match? Put on fresh makeup and pay those bills later. You get the idea.

So on your next birthday, remind yourself that yes, you may be older, you may have another wrinkle or two but you also may have a better sense of what’s important in life and an appreciation for what makes you happy.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.