Turning Ninety (age 90)

by Sheila White

I will turn ninety this year and I’m not looking forward to it.

When I was a child, I didn’t know anyone that old. Few people did. It’s like these days hearing someone saying they are going to be 100. Now, that’s something to raise your eyebrows at. But ninety – well, living in a seniors’ building, as I do, there are several people here over ninety and seemingly doing quite well. It’s no big deal.

Even so, it seems only right to celebrate a ninetieth birthday as though it’s something special. A special card, a special cake, lots of visitors. And there is the poor soul in the middle of it all, trying to smile and pretend they are enjoying all the fuss.

Because ninety, let’s face it, is one big pain, and not just in the neck. It’s in the back and the knees and the feet, and just about everywhere. But you smile through it all, which emphasizes your wrinkles and your few, yellowed teeth as you try to remember everyone’s name as they shower you with gifts that you will never use, and you strain to hear what they are saying despite the constant babble of voices in the background.

So, let’s forget about ninety. Let’s dump it, as I previously suggested we do with those lying answers we automatically give to the question, "How are you?"

And the idiotic idea that every day we are expected to wear clothing that impress the observer, instead of something old and comfy. And the stupidity of wearing clothes at all while swimming -- those bathing suits for women that cost a bundle, only to be immersed in chemicals that later have to be removed by a pricey detergent that’s supposed to prevent them from stretching – but doesn’t. Go naked! But women only, please.

There’s more. Let’s be open and truthful and tell the world we’ve had enough of all the make-believe behaviours that prevent the world from knowing exactly who we are.

By ninety we are NOT what you see before you. We are NOT the wonderful women who always look so neat; who are never seen without lipstick and nail polish; who always smile as though they are pleased to see you; whose manners put your own to shame.

Personally, I’d love to speak out, be myself, that hag-like harridan you turn corners to miss. I would spend all my days in a crumpled robe, neglect my face and hair. Eat chocolate at every meal and potato chips in between.

At ninety we are old beyond old. Tired beyond tired. Ready to shuck off the mantles and mores of society. Sick of winters. Even sick of summers because they never live up to our expectations. Falls are our season. They are a prelude to the end of the year and ends are what we look forward to now. At ninety the end cannot come too soon.

It’s been a wonderful life. Even though its ups and downs seemed like mountains and gorges at the time, they made us what we are. And if you want to fete this poor decrepit mess of aching bones one more time, then go to it and God bless you all.

But no more, I beg you. No more.


Comments for Turning Ninety (age 90)

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by: Sheila White

Fir those who read my rant on turning 90, I have good news.

The day dawned bright and sunny. Even so, I was dreading facing friends and relations with a forced smile on my face. Why couldn't they just ignore it, I mumbled to myself.

What happened was more than I could ever imagine, even though I had hoped and hoped it would be.

My family turned up in force, but what made it all so special was that one person (I won't say whom) that I had almost written off, came and, in effect, mended fences with some others who also had written him off. They hugged and made up and I'll never forget that moment. It really made my day.

Now I am into my 91st year and feeling pretty good. I still would rather not have birthdays, but if they are all like this one, I accept them all!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all of us!

Wendy: Awww, I love this! Happy Happy Birthday Sheila!

turning 90
by: val

I can't wait to turn ninety.. I think it will be such a priveledge.... I'm trying to think of something really special to do.

Something to remember !!☺
I thank God every day for the health a He has given me.

Turning 90 soon ?... Be thankful.. Be happy......!

More and more people are living longer
by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Turning Ninety:

Last year the United States Census Bureau said that the nation's 90-or-older population nearly tripled over the last three decades. Also the average age of the worlds population is increasing at an unprecedented rate. And it should be noted that 90% of 100-yr.olds are women.

It would be great if Preventive Medical Clinics, staffed with certified nutritionists could become a trend all over the country offering a place where experienced people, psychologists, neurologists and personal trainers could come and give advice so that living long can be a vibrant experience.

Also such clinics could offer a place where people who live alone can come and be listened to and find a fitting place to visit away from home --taking part in group discussions involving the older age groups . This group is so rich in knowledge and experience it would be an honor to listen to them tell their story and what they have learned up now.

My sister and her husband just turned 90 . They live in the sunny south whereas I am six year younger than they , living in the icy north. We were both born in New England, but I think the south has been good for her just alining up here is good for me.Having to take care of a house and property in all four seasons forces me to be active. Our children who live nearby help.

There's a reason we are supposed to live to this age. Those who figure out why may find life very meaningful at this age.

90% of 100-yr olds are women.

by: North Carolina

I just love Mature people. Lots of wisdom and loving life. Good for you honey! Enjoy everyday.

My best friend is 96 and going strong. She is 30 yrs younger and can out due me. Love to you.

Just One More Time
by: Joe .W.

Congrats on #90. I still 20 years away from your 90th mile stone.

I bet that you still have one more dream to act out, one more fish to catch and one more mile to run. It's been said that people reaching 80 are in their Third act, and those living to 100 or more are starting their Fourth act.

There will be more Fourth act Elders as time passes. I'll put you on that Fourth act list so hopefully, you will be able to tell us how you feel then.

Keep running ahead! Try not to pass me if you see me on the same trail. :>)

by: Anonymous

Thank you so much. I am 65 and in good health but scared of old age, mainly being alone. If you could write on dealing with loneliness, I am sure you would help a lot of people.

I understand, even if I'm not 90!!
by: Tricia Nemethy

Sweetheart, I can relate to what you're saying!! I'm turning 66 this year, and my physical body feels like I'm much, much older!!

I always practice living in the moment, and being at peace within myself, even if I feel terrible physically!!

I'm not a Buddhist, but I like and use their practice of enjoying what I'm doing, even if I'm only sitting in my recliner and listening to the birds sing, or going out on the small porch and looking at the beauty of Spring flowers!!

Even drinking a cup of tea and savoring it's taste and aroma becomes a pleasure!!

I'd love to friend you, so we could share the good things about our day, and comfort each other about our pains!! May your birthday be better than you think!!

With love and compassion, Tricia

Turning 90
by: Nina from London

Precious age of 90

Now that I turned 70 I still can't believe how quickly the time has gone...poof and you are older. As for 90 I am just amazed at those who have reached that precious age.

In parts of Georgia (in the Caucasus) near Russia, there are people who even get married at 80 or more. They live longer. It has to do with the good air, healthy eating and always working. What I hope is that I will live to be 90.

It doesn't sound like you enjoy this time in your life...but you must have good memories. Can you share them with us?

Best Wishes, Nina

90 is not really old
by: Anonymous

Your aches and pains are making you very pessimistic; try to get more help for them.

I am yet a year away and still participate in church and community affairs. My husband's hearing makes these difficult for him but he is about to turn 102. He still does bits of volunteer work in the nursing home adjacent to our retirement home.

We camped until he was 92 and that summer visited Nunavut where he climbed higher hills than I did.

We did not really do any celebrating for his 90th birthday because we were about to move to an apartment and had been busy reducing our possessions.

We were still in the apartment when he turned 100 and moved because I had a fall. I do walk with a cane after my recovery from that but so do many younger friends..

Turning 90
by: Carol K

Hi, I turned 80 last year and had a lot of introspection. I hope I live to be 90 and be able to tell a tale as you have done.

Happy Birthday, whenever it is.

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