Down the Lane: Is age just a number?

Published 10:17 am Thursday, July 26, 2018

At 9:58 a.m. Sunday, July 22, I turned 70.

I have to admit just writing that number makes me take a deep breath.

You see, I always had a misconception about turning 70. Now, that I have reached the age, I have been considering whether age is really just a number.

I know age 70 definitely seems younger to me now.

When I look back, I see that it has been pretty much miraculous to reach this milestone.

From the day I was born, I didn’t necessarily have the easiest start to life. Soon after my birth I was given a blood transfusion and not expected to live.

My dress to be buried in was already bought by my mom thinking it would be the last dress she would ever buy for me.

I survived.

Then, at age 5, I was taken very ill with a severe case of rheumatic fever that meant I would be bed ridden for months. I got over the first bout to have a recurrence. I remember feeling tired all my childhood.

Then, in 2010, I was diagnosed with stage four non-Hodgkin lymphoma, I wondered what my outcome would be.

With God’s blessing, I am here to celebrate my 70th birthday.

These days, I am looking at life a whole lot differently than I ever did before.

Today as I write this, I am only a few hours into turning 70. I have written about all the great things I have gotten to do on special birthdays before.

Today, after going out to eat with my daughter’s family, I came home and slept for four hours. Maybe you just get sleepier when you turn 70. Maybe it was because I was more worn out after my brother passed away this past week than I thought I was.

But, for four hours? It has never happened before. In fact, I never take a nap unless I am sick.

I almost felt ashamed of myself to have slept that long. Have I earned this right, now that I am 70? I remember seeing others this age take lots of afternoon naps.

I feel blessed looking back on my life. Many precious classmates have already passed away. It makes me wonder sometimes why I have been blessed to live life longer. How can I make a difference in our world with the time I have been given?

I still feel young. I still like to dress young. I love it when someone tells me I do not look 70.

I do know what people mean when they feel older on some days and feel like they can conquer the world on others.

Does everyone seem to have a pre-conceived idea what 70 should look like when they are younger? I know I did.

I sure didn’t know I would still be so young at heart and in mind.

I actually think it is a good thing when you think young. I think having a social life makes a big difference. It lets one not think about themselves or about growing older as much. You get to enjoy growing older with other people your age. You can laugh about age and make jokes about it and the realization you are aging doesn’t sting as much.

We joke that we aren’t old, we just need some WD-40 to move on some days or that we went to bed with Arthur Itis, Ben Gay or Charley Horse the night before.

I believe with each year added your age, you become wiser. I think age does bring wisdom, and, if that is true, I still need a few more years to catch up with my peers.

When I found the dishcloth in the freezer one day I did worry a little about myself, until I started talking to others my age and should not have been happy to learn they had done some crazy things too. At least we can laugh about it.

I think the older you get, the more you appreciate life. You begin to realize how important and valuable each day is.

I can only speak of being on earth for 70 years. I can not imagine what it must feel like to reach 80, 90 or even 100 years. Oh, the memories one must have to reflect on.

In my head, I am constantly running a film of my life. Unless Alzheimers or dementia takes your mind, I wonder if you will always remember your childhood and your life with your parents and siblings?

Once I had children, my life seemed to concentrate on them and their needs. Much of my happiness depended upon their happiness.

I wish I could tell young children who are in a rush to grow up how much they are going to miss being a child.

I have told my children life goes by quickly, I just did not know it would go “zoom.”

I will continue for the rest of my life as I have until this point: living one day at a time.

Sue Staton is a Clark County native who grew up in the Kiddville area. She is a wife, mother and grandmother who is active in her church, First United Methodist Church, and her homemakers group, Towne and Country Homemakers