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Once an 8, now a 20+

GailAnn | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

Just courious…

Post number 8490.5 showed some wonderful drawings in sillouette.  I ALWAYS think of myself as the one with the neat and tidy figure.  I know the other drawings are closer to the real me. 

Funny, how I looked at 26 is the way I still see myself in my mind’s eye at 57!!

Am I alone in this?

Does is affect your life in anyway?

What about the treatment you recieve from others?

It always comes as a surprize to me when I catch a glimse of myself reflected in a window.

Who is that old woman and where do I know her from? 



Edited 5/27/2008 3:59 pm ET by GailAnn


  1. mary4u | | #1

    My grandmother always said that she had the same 17 year old girl in her that was there when she was ####teenager. I agree. When I return to my home town and am watching to see it I recognize anyone, I find that I am looking at people who are younger than me. I think it is great to have the younger perspective of ourselves. If I felt my age (60) I wouldn't be a biker, a dancer, and I don't think I would enjoy the young middle schoolers I work with. What has age got to do with it?

    Like you, I have gained weight with the years. when my husband met me I was in college and still wore child size clothes. (there were no size 0 then). Now I'm in a 12 and have extra bulges from having and raising 4 children. (also short) But, regardless of our size, age, condition, it is most important to remain that girl inside. Just don't let the extra weight make you hide your beautiful self. For health we should lose our extra pounds but the real person is inside and letting that girl loose to enjoy life is very important.

  2. damascusannie | | #2

    I had let the pounds creep up on me and the biggest thing I noticed was not that I was treated differently, but that I felt differently. It had a huge negative impact on my health. I have knee injuries that were aggravated by the extra weight, my back gave me much more trouble, I could hardly walk up the stairs without getting short of breath and my blood pressure sky-rocketed. And I wasn't morbidly obese--35 pounds is all I had to lose. In all honesty, I wouldn't have done anything to change if it weren't for the blood pressure--at 45 I didn't want to go on blood pressure meds, so I had to make a big change in my lifestyle. Now my blood pressure is in normal ranges, I move more easily and I feel younger. We golfed 18 brisk holes yesterday and I never even got short of breath. And it's fun to go shopping for clothes!

  3. Ralphetta | | #3

    I too am startled to see my reflection. Most of the time I don't feel "old", I just feel like "me." I don't like to tell my age because people start treating me differently. I can joke and chat with younger people with no problem.But I saw the look on a young woman's face when she realized how old I was. Her attitude changed and she started treating me like her mother instead of a friend. Don't misunderstand, I don't dress like a teenager. I prefer to think of myself as ageless.

    1. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #4

      To Ralphetta and GailAnn esp.Ladies, I Think we have much in common. Where did the time go and where did those "platinum" hairs come from? I think I still see myself as the younger me until I hit the mirror also.
      The body shape I have now I have earned. Three babies, stressful life, medication that adds lbs, I'm not going to let my shape undermine my confidence.
      As I have been reading past posts written by both of you wonderful ladies, I have been impressed by the intelligence, wit, humour, sensitivity and generosity you have expressed. It doesn't matter what size or shape or age you are. I couldn't tell all I thought was, gee, I'd really like to get to know these ladies better, they seem to be a lot of fun.
      Ralphetta, perhaps she was treating you with respect?

      Edited 5/28/2008 10:12 am ET by ThreadKoe

      1. GailAnn | | #5

        Interesting.....I have a friend, a lady who is an ordained minister, in a denomination which ordains only very few women.  I once asked her whether she had ever felt discriminated against as a woman.

        She told me that she had never felt any sort of discrimination because of being a woman, but many times she felt descriminated against because of her precieved youth.

        She is a very small woman who has always appeared to be many years younger than she is.

      2. Ralphetta | | #6

        I guess it could have been respect. I had seen her off and on for months and we shared jokes and laughing about things and then I could see her reaction as she read my age on a form. It was obvious that when we talked, age wasn't relevant until she saw it in print. Then, she reacted to the number instead of the actual me. (I don't know if I'm making sense.) I must add that after several months things went back to the original, fun relationship. I just want to be seen as the same, exciting, brilliant, creative, talented, scintillating, person I've always been...not as the stereotype old woman because I've got some extra pounds and wrinkles.

        1. Gloriasews | | #7

          Remember our conversations months ago about how shocking it is to see ourselves in store windows or mirrors?  You said some insightful things then, too.   That's still happening when I look into mirrors or windows (guess the answer is quit looking!:)  - unfortunately, we would go out looking a fright if we quit looking.  I, too, have found myself in a situation with a younger person.  It was such a surprise to be treated differently all of a sudden, that I realized I felt ashamed to be this old (as if it were my fault)!  Ageism is alive & well, it seems.  My friend & I were discussing this lately (when we saw ourselves in a window together) - how did we get this old this fast???  We don't feel this old most days!  On the other hand, we think people older than we are are really old - then we have to stop & readjust our attitudes, as we're not that far behind the really old folks.  So age is definitely a state of mind (both ours & other's).  Even in the newspapers, you often see "an elderly person of 52 or ...".  Yikes!  When did the 50s become elderly?  When we were young, 50 or 60 was old & they looked old, as many people died at those ages.  Nowadays, people are living much longer & are more active.  Maybe it's just all the plastic surgery, etc. to look really young at whatever age that is bugging me - I earned these wrinkles & this body & should wear them with pride, eh?  What do you think?

          For something interesting, go to the Globe & Mail site www:globeandmail.com.  This week, they are running a different article each day on a seniors residence in Toronto - how you're treated by the other residents when you first move in, the cliques, the gossiping, etc.  Very eye-opening - just like high school  In fact, the series is called Senior High.  Kind of scary - hope I don't have to move into one anytime soon.


          1. Ralphetta | | #8

            I laughed as I read your note because sometimes I refer to someone as being old and then find out they are my age or even older!I had a friend who used to make non-stop negative comments about her looks, age, memory, etc. She would intersperse "we, us," in her commentary. I didn't like being included. I can laugh about not being able to do things that used to be easy, but I'm not going to get upset by it. There are gobs of things I can still do. She's lightened up and is a lot happier. She recently sent me a catalog of useful items for elderly people. We laughed and laughed because we had to admit we would love to have many of them, that they were really useful items. You might as well find the humor, (notice I'm not suggesting you deny the bad things.) The more you concentrate on anything negative, the more depressed you get.

          2. Gloriasews | | #9

            You're right about the age thing.  I can't stand all the negativity I hear from others, too - & really try not to sound the same on days when I hurt all over :).  As for the things I can't do anymore, the only thing I really miss is being able to squat down or get on my knees & up again easily.  Not anymore!  I do have foam knee pads, though, & they sometimes help.  On the days they don't, I do something else other than scrub the tub :).  As I'm unpacking, for the first time ever I'm putting things that I seldom use on the bottom shelves, just so I don't have to retrieve them very often.  If I do, I use a long handled wooden spoon to push them forward.  In the stores, when I need the last item at the back of the bottom shelf, I ask one of those young, spritely, pleasant 'whippersnappers' to retrieve it for me :).  They are always glad to help & I really appreciate it.  I'm trying to lighten up, too, & accept what is.  We can compensate in other ways without buying all the great gadgets yet.  Deny, deny, deny.  On the other hand, I really enjoy the new things I've learned & have experienced in the past 20 years, as well as the things I still want to do, & the things I enjoyed years ago that I want to get back to doing now that I have the time.  So there are compensations.


          3. PASDENOM | | #10

            I used to be thin, then gained way too much weight with each pregnancy which has refused to come off. A couple of years ago I dieted very carefully, spend over a year taking off 35 lbs, still nowhere near my former weight but at least no longer seriously overweight. Eventually I just couldn't stand the deprivation and the weight just jumped right back on. My sad closet has a lot of clothes I'd sewn for my smaller size and I'm hoping to get back into them. When I lost the weight strange men started paying attention to me, something I'd thought I was done with because of age.While nobody ever made negative comments to my face I've overheard comments made about other people in my hearing. Whether they were also meant to insult me doesn't matter, someone who judges or rejects people on that kind of basis isn't worth knowing. I definitely have health effects from the weight. My usually low blood pressure climbed to average and then started creeping up higher. Lots of joint pain, lots of fatiguing easily. My dd has given me feedback on clothes lately by commenting that certain styles or colors make me look older (and meaner!). She has said that about my current project and it's driving me nuts. Now I'll have trouble wearing it.

          4. Ralphetta | | #12

            I can't stop laughing. I can't ever remember anyone saying someone's clothes made them look meaner! I hope it's okay with you that I thought it was so funny, it just sounds like something my own kid would say. As for the lost weight and closet of unwearable clothes...been there, done that, also. You're not alone.

          5. PASDENOM | | #15

            That's OK, I thought it was funny too. I think what DD was trying to express was the colors were a little harsh, mainly deep red and black. DH's opinion was the jacket makes me look like and old hippie, which is who I am and I don't try to hide it. Since it was handwoven Asian fabric it had to look Bohemian. If I was young it might look like contemporary retro Bohemian, which is pretty much imitating 60's and 70's hippies. DD doesn't realize how much of her trendy clothes look like my trendy clothes at the same age.

          6. Ralphetta | | #16

            I am relieved to hear that. I really did laugh out loud, and then afterwards I was afraid you didn't mean for it to be funny. It sounds like you have your own style and are comfortable with it. your outfit sounds like a "classic' to me. It's good to listen to friends and family, but they aren't always right.

          7. MaryinColorado | | #22

            How true!  I'm thrilled to be wearing "peasant blouses" again, of course, they are called "heirloom blouses" these days. ha ha  So cool and comfy for summer.  Glad to know that I'm not the only one who is wearing so many of the same styles as I did in the early 70's.  Back then, I hated being labeled but there are worse references than "old hippie" for sure!   We really didn't conform then, so why now?  Can you say "disestablishmentarianism"  he ha, I probably can't even spell it though.  Those were wonderful and magical times when peace, love, harmony,humanity, and the environment seemed to have alot more value than in today's world.  Mary 

          8. butterflybel | | #23

            To Maryin and all the other lovely ladies, I just wanted to say thank you for all your words and honesty about weight, life etc. For a young girl, 32yrs it is great to be able to log on to the internet and read a forum with great humor and a lot of friendship! I can weight for the sore knees and difficulites of growing old but I can't wait to have all the wisdom and confidence all you ladies have. I will take on everything you all  shared and be much more aware of the ladies fitting your desription when I shop next, just to tell her how great she looks and if she needs any help getting up, i will be glad to help her.


          9. MaryinColorado | | #24

            I'm 55, one of my best friends is in her 20's, my daughter is your age and we also spend alot of time together.  You young gals help us remain "young at heart" & teach us so many new things.  So we appreciate your wisdom and humor as well.  Glad to have so many friends on this forum!  Mary


          10. damascusannie | | #13

            Pasdenom: I hear ya about the weight thing after having kids! I've really struggled and now that menopause is starting to try to get foot in the door, it's even harder. I've had to learn tricks to keep myself from feeling deprived and I try to remind myself that having a stroke is no picnic either, so I keep working at keeping the weight off. I do feel so much better for having done it and it was a kick when one of my twenty-something nieces said I was "hot." (I'm 46). But, I agree with everything you all have said, too. Age and weight shouldn't change how people perceive us, nor should it change how they treat us. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect, regardless of their age or weight or income level, or anything else. That's just common courtesy.

          11. Ralphetta | | #14

            You are much smarter than me. I was always very thin and ate like a horse. I didn't take the weight gain at menopause seriously enough. A little extra exercise had always gotten rid of any extra pounds. If I'd done like you, I think I could have changed my habits.

          12. MaryinColorado | | #20

            How can clothes make a person look "meaner"?  I don't mean to hurt your feelings, but maybe your daughter is being "mean" here.  Maybe it's something some daughters go through.  The past two years, my daughter has made comments about me "having a mean streak" that she had never mentioned before.  I know I'm more outspoken, less tolerant, and surely less of a caregiver than before, but that's because it's time for me to enjoy life more and stop taking care of everyone else's needs before my own sometimes.  I just don't have the energy or motivation to "do it all" anymore. 

            If being "mean" is asking them to clean up after themselves instead of treating dear old mom/grandma like a slave, so be it!  I need a little time to "smell the roses" before it's too late.

          13. Gloriasews | | #26

            Isn't it amazing?  Mary, I find myself being less tolerant, having less patience, expecting others to pick up after themselves, too!  I'm more outspoken, too, than I used to be - but, I sometimes have to bite my tongue.  You're absolutely right - it's time for us to do what we want to, not cater to everyone else as we have always done (& as they are used to).  That's probably where they think we are mean - wait until they reach our ages & they'll see for themselves, eh?  It's the same story as our mothers told us - "Wait until you have children of your own!"  :)


          14. MaryinColorado | | #28

            You are exactly right!  The joy of doing for others wans when it is taken for granted on a regular basis.  It's our turn to just relax or have some fun for ourselves!

          15. Ralphetta | | #11

            I started to mention the whippersnappers in my previous note! I used to climb up on the bottom shelf at the grocery store to reach things on the top. Not any more! My balance is terrible. So, like you, I watch for a tall young body and ask for help. (Sometimes, it's a long wait because the customers are either shorter or older than me.) As for the knees...well I was in the book store squatted down looking at the bottom shelf and then had to think really, really, hard about how important it was that I ever stand up again. I knew it was going to really hurt and I might make a scene by rolling in the floor and whining. I prefer to dwell on how creative I am becoming at avoiding doing all those things that hurt. Do you remember the old Carol Burnett Show? There are days that I cannot believe that I have become Tim Conway. Remember the old guy he played?

          16. Gloriasews | | #17

            Oh, Ralphetta, I laughed at your comments!  If I ever have to get to my knees in a store, I wait until there is nobody else in the aisle before I lumber to my feet (I have to find something to grab & hang onto first) - it's neither pretty nor graceful, so I avoid it, too.  Maybe I'll have to start taking my purple foam knee pads shopping with me.  I LOVED Tim Conway - he was so excellent in that part - it was the highlight of the show for me.  Now here I am in the same boat, not laughing so loudly (& trying not to complain too much, either) :(.   Another thing that I never paid attention to in the past, but I take advantage of nowadays are toilets for the handicapped.  They are higher & the grab bar really helps.  I don't have that problem at home, as my bathroom vanity is on one side of the toilet & the tub on the other.  Thank heavens, as I never thought to mention that when my son was looking for this apartment - we moved in sight unseen from 1,000 miles away. 


          17. MaryinColorado | | #21

            Oh I loved that show!  I know what you mean.  Wasn't it Bob Macke that made all those wild costumes for the show?  What a creative and humorus mind he had!  I loved the shower curtain (and rod) dress!

          18. Ralphetta | | #25

            When Cher was recently on Oprah promoting her new Vegas show she said he was designing all her costumes again and that now sequins have been put on the endangered species list.

          19. MaryinColorado | | #27

            Good, I'm so sick of all the clothes with "bling" in retail stores!  I think they look cheap for the most part on anyone over 30, especially for daywear and if they are glued on plastic ones! 

  4. Teaf5 | | #18

    While I, too, am startled by glimpses of myself in a mirror or photo nowadays, I'm also very relieved in a way--no one pays much attention to me until I speak to them, so that I get more choice in my encounters. 

    As one of six redheads in my family, I remember a childhood of gawkers. As a young woman, I had a lot of naturally very fiery red hair, very long legs, and a very thin but also very hourglass figure; I didn't blend in anywhere!  People in major cities would yell out car windows: "Hey, lady, your hair's on fire!" "Carrot-top!" "Anybody ever call you red?" as I walked down the street, minding my own business.  Carrots have green tops, by the way.

    Now that I've matured and my hair has deepened to an brownish auburn with streaks of grey and gold, people look past me, and I'm o.k. with that.  Now they're gawking at and remarking on our daughter, a stunning brunette who's six feet tall and a size six--and a doctoral candidate in science. 

    I keep reminding her that the opinions of strangers reflect only their own values, not ours, and we laugh together.

    1. GailAnn | | #19

      Thank you, Amen, Bravo!

      Some may admire youth and beauty, it is substance and integrity that is remembered!


      1. JeanE | | #30


        I laughed and laughed at all the tales of age and weight.  I am also a person who still thinks of herself as the young girl I was.  But at 70,am reminded frequently by my back, roulded belly and not so nible fingers and feet that I am not that girl any more.  But all I can say is I keep trying.  I steel climb to get things off the top shelf in my kitchen.  At 5 foot there is really no other choice.  I still cut the yard, sew, clean my house and take in some sewing and work at jobs when I am able.  I will "live" until I die and not be a bit sorry.



        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #31

          I will "live" until I die and not be a bit sorry.

          JeanE, that's the whole point isn't it? 

        2. rodezzy | | #32

          You are an inspiration, I love your quote.  I've been saying that a lot lately.  Circumstances come and go, I may be better or worse for them.  But, I get back up and repeat to myself, "I'm going to Live Until I Die!"  And I mean, not just exist. 

  5. mede8 | | #29

    Hi:  I'm new here and have been checking out many of the message topics on the board ...and yours looked so interesting and really brought back a terrific memory.

    A "few" years ago ;-) when I was young(er), I was walking with a neighbor and her little dog.  Finally, I couldn't resist and I (politely) ask her how old she was (I was sure she was near 100-years old).  She suddenly bolted to a stop and looked me straight in the eye and said:  "Well my dear; I have no idea.  Now then ...I know how long I've walked on Mother Earth ...but we all know that has nothing to do with our true age".  She then laughed ...and we continued our walk. 

    I've thought about that over the years, especially when I've seen myself in the reflection of a shop window (like many of you), and wondered who on earth that person was ...that was looking back at me.  At first glance, it looks exactly like my mother, who just shriveled up to practically nothing before she passed.  So here I am ...doing the same thing. 

    I believe the goal for all of us women (or as my great aunt used to say:  "us girls")  is to embrace our inner selves for the strong, resilient, wise, empathetic, loving and nurturing creatures that were created to manage "Mother Earth" in all of "Her" glory.  After all, if we do go through "mental-pause" ...at least we're not stuck with it for the remainder of our lives ..."and it too shall pass" ...and it tempers us like fine steel or a good wine.  How blessed we all are for the gifts we've been given and those we can pass on to the women of the future.  So love who you are today ladies; it's all any of us have for sure.

    Please forgive me for this far-too-long post.  I guess I just get carried away sometimes. 

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