As someone who is facing down 67 next January, a fellow Coloradan and a pretty serious athlete, this made me laugh out loud. You and I live in a place where the notion of aging is turned on its head- if in fact one buys into the conventional wisdom.
While I might agree-as someone who also writes about the aging process but with a different slant- with much of what you say, Sara, the more people of age that I interview, the less I know what applies to us all. Well, besides the sagging skin, the missing teeth, the hair that moves without permission or falls out altogether.
To the waking up piece: as we age, often our circadian rhythms change. As a seriously early riser, I found my 5 am eye opener backed up to 3 or even 2:30. Or the other way around. Some folks now sleep in until 11. We just change. But I’d be careful not to lump all of us aging folks into the get a cuppa category. By 6 am for me half the day’s gone. I’ve already written at least one article, done yoga or kickboxing, and finished a bunch of chores. Mind you I have no social life past 7:30 pm but I love living like this. I am hardly alone.
I think what’s key is to develop a deep sense of curiosity about how we are changing, as we trade certain aspects of dependable physicality for a wholly different way of seeing (or not, as the case may be) and being. If we work hard at it much of that physicality can remain and even improve. There are plenty of studies and stories which argue strenuously that any exercise at any age (combined with intelligent eating) will deliver benefits, often far beyond what we might expect. Especially if we are not life-long exercisers.
I also am tired of the overused sissies comment. For crying out loud. Or “age is just a number.” Look, at my age, and I am writing you this from a small restaurant in Ethiopia two days before I start a two week horse riding trip in the Bole Mountains, age in and of itself is less the point than how we embrace it. Youthful is a way of being, and you and I have seen youthful in folks well past ninety. I once used to think I was an outlier, but the more I meet folks out on the road, the more I realize I’m not, not really. I might push a bit harder than most (most don’t skydive or bungee jump), I might take more chances, but truth is that Boomers are doing far more than their parents ever did, far later in life.
Perhaps what saddens me the most, but it is inevitable, is how the hippie-free love-make love not war generation turned into angry Republicans and kid-blamers. Not all of us, but too many. While I decry the wholesale Blame the Boomer trend which is puerile at best and stupid at worst, every generation takes its turn in the blame barrel. As for the Gen Zers and Millennials, all I can say is
Wait a while.