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Aging Gracefully, I Thought I Was Until Now

Updated on February 16, 2018
Old Woman or Young Lady Optical Illusion
Old Woman or Young Lady Optical Illusion | Source

Oh No, I Have Been "Deared"

Rarely do I walk around thinking to myself, I am getting older. But then, just when I am cheerfully going about my daily activities, something happens to remind me that it's a fact.

When I turned fifty, it was a landmark birthday and I thought about getting older, it is after all a half a century. But my annual physical that year made me feel as if I was getting decrepit. I was handed the brochures on heart disease in women, colonoscopies and osteoporosis.

I walked in to the appointment feeling good and left feeling as if every thing was going downhill fast. Good heavens do I have to worry about all of this happening?

The above photo is a classic optical illusion of an old woman and young woman

What did you see?

See results

Wow, so many people have said they can't see the old woman at all that I have put a "little helper" at the end.

So keep reading and you shall see.


My First Set Back -- Or My First "Dearing" Of The Day

Maybe I am older than I think I am

The day started out perfectly normal as I headed out to run errands.

First stop, the bank, to deposit a check into my savings account. Keep in mind I have been banking here for 15 years and have a sterling record of never bouncing a check.

I hand the teller my deposit slip and the check and I see her go to the back counter and scrutinize it. Then she goes into a back room and a manager comes out holding my check.

I ask her if there is a problem. "No dear", she says. "It's just that we are not familiar with the name of this check issuer". "Dear are you familiar with the issuer?" "Do you know where this check came from?" So I explain that I had this small mutual fund account for ten years and decided to take the proceeds.

The check is deposited. As I leave, it occurs to me that I have heard that gratuitous tone of voice before, when someone is speaking to the elderly. Further, I think she was questioning me because she thought I might have been victimized by a check fraud scam targeting the elderly.

"Moi?" "I still have my faculties, if you please."

Become Aware of Scams Against the Elderly

Some of the scam artists are so smooth and practiced at what they do, that even the smartest person may be taken in.

There are scams where bogus checks are issued to the unsuspecting people as part of a scam.

Read up and make your self aware for yourself or a loved one.

It's a cruel irony, that the older you get, the more you need a magnifying mirror; the less you want to see your face magnified.



The Second "Dearing" Of The Day

Twice in one, day. I am going to have a melt down.

So, I continue on to Target (department store) to purchase some odds and ends.

At the check out counter I am greeted by the cashier. She has grey hair, tied back in a not very stylish ponytail and appears to be a senior citizen.

I check out, and pay and the register produces a coupon for $5.00 off my next purchase.

"Dear", she says, "this coupon is only good for a week". I nod and take the coupon. She cups her hand over mine and says again, as if trying to get through to me: "Dear, this isn't like our other coupons; they are usually good for a month. This one is only good for a week".

Something about having a woman I perceive as elderly, treating me as if I am older than her made me realize, this was the second time I had been "deared" in one day.

Maybe my perception of myself is a lot younger than other people see me.

Jane Fonda...........a goal setter for the aging - Healthy Aging

I watched Jane Fonda on the Anderson Cooper daytime show and she looked fabulous. Camera trick? I don't think so; people in the live audience were commenting on how great she looked.

She admittedly had plastic surgery -- a face lift and breast implants. But still, she was, at the time 72 and looked fabulous.

Then, she proceeded to balance herself on one foot, while doing curls with hand held weights. Not so easy to do. She did it effortlessly.

Recently, I read an article in AARP Magazine about exercises one should do every day to ward off aging.

One of the exercises was to stand on one foot and balance yourself for 30 seconds, then do the other foot.

This promotes stability and balance and decreases the risk of falling in the elderly.

I do this while waiting for something to cook on the stove. It beats watching the water to see when it boils.

"None are so old as those who have outlived enthusiam."

Henry David Thoreau

Picture of Old Woman

Hint: The old woman and the young woman both have the same hat. While the young woman is facing away from us, the old woman is in silhouette.

© 2012 Ellen Gregory

So what do you think? - Your observations on aging or anything else

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can relate to what you have experienced and many times, it makes me smile. What a dear you are.

    • kenneth avery profile image

      Kenneth Avery 

      5 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama


      Always remember, "You and I, I and you. You in I. And I in you." (Jacob Wire, circa 1863/essay about aging the illusion.

      I will tell you the truth. This is an excellent piece of writing. Amazing work.

      I loved the way you presented your topic. Wonderful graphics.

      This piece was helpful, informative and very interesting.I was glad to vote Up and all of the choices.

      You are certainly a gifted writer. Please keep up the fine work.


      Kenneth Avery, Hamilton, Alabama

    • Ilonagarden profile image

      Ilona E 

      6 years ago from Ohio

      Every encouragement helps. I boosted your lens to get your tips out there more1

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You have so many helpful tips! Thanks for sharing your aging and exercise advice. :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I realized I was getting old(er) when someone offered me their seat on the bus. I looked at them in amazement, as I am quite fit. But sometimes I catch a glimpse of myself in a shop window and think 'who is that old geezer? It can't be me'.

      But it is.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens, I see both the old and the young lady, Aging is difficult, but aging well is really important.

    • KamalaEmbroidery profile image


      7 years ago

      The easiest way I found to see the old woman is to focus on the young woman's necklace which becomes the old woman's mouth. It then flipped.

    • bethann21 profile image


      7 years ago

      Just love this lens!

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @Redneck Lady Luck: I am surprised so many people don't see the old lady.

    • Redneck Lady Luck profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      7 years ago from Canada

      I must be old, or very closed minded, no matter how I tried I could not see the old woman in the picture. Oh well eternally youthful I guess lol.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Great lens! It is good to know how to age gracefully!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 

      7 years ago from Concord VA

      I'm right there with you! :)

    • takkhisa profile image


      7 years ago

      Nice lens! Everybody will have to go this way! Now i am young now but i will be old later.

    • delia-delia profile image


      7 years ago

      I never was around someone that grew old, both parents died just at 60 so I didn't really have a clue what to expect in aging...boy have I had surprises...Yikes! I don't think in my age but my body shows me my age...I don't remember my 50's at all, my 60's was depressing because I realized how fast time passes by.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Yes, DEAR, I can relate!

    • Melissa Miotke profile image

      Melissa Miotke 

      7 years ago from Arizona

      That must be incredibly irritating to have people treat you like you don't have your full capacities. People think they're being nice yet can be so rude. I enjoyed this read!

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @anonymous: Within 3 days of retiring, I started getting bombarded with phone calls, even though I am on a national no-call list. Some were just electric suppliers wanting me to switch carriers, or satellite TV providers wanting me to switch or upgrade. A lot were "you have just won a cruise" all we need is your credit card and charities that I never heard of and when I checked them out on the internet were bogus. One even had the nerve to say I must mail my check today --- yup, sure, because he will be out of town in a few days. Sad, how they prey on the elderly.

    • Mamabyrd profile image


      7 years ago from West Texas

      This was such a great read! I shared it with my mother. She is definitely a woman that is aging gracefully. I pray I have inherited her genes.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      There, there dear! Wonderfully witty with so much truth and reality! I'm glad you mention the scams against elderly. Last year my sister was added to my Mom's accounts and she noticed several regularly monthly charges that amounted to about $150. 00 a month that were for such things as reminding her of appointments and getting appliances checked....all were the result of calls from telemarketers that had said they were associated some way with her bank (the bank denied this). Shell got to listen to one recorded call after fighting her way through different levels, the call had been reviewed and called "good". Mom said "no" in several different ways but the gal kept talking and finally said, "can I take that as a yes" and assuring Mom she could cancel. Of course Mom was being drained dry didn't remember any of the "contracts" made over the phone. Three companies finally gave full refunds and one refunded a year. We will be there targets in years to come....dear!

    • askformore lm profile image

      askformore lm 

      7 years ago

      Age is just a number. We are who we are!

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 

      7 years ago

      So true, very well told. Thank you!

    • SusanRDavis profile image

      Susan R. Davis 

      7 years ago from Vancouver

      Oh, so right. I don't feel even middle-aged, myself, in my 40s, but I'm getting ma'am and even a few 'dears' lately. I can handle ma'am from a 20-year-old trying to be polite to their elders, but when a 35-year-young person says "dear" like I'm an old, bent crone, I feel like looking over my shoulder to see who they are talking to!

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @cmadden: We live near a submarine base and a coast guard academy. We have a lot of active military as well as retirees. When they Ma'am me, I tell myself it's because of their military service. (I delude myself all the time).

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      First they "ma'am" you and then they "dear" you!

    • JumpinJake profile image


      7 years ago

      great words written, enjoyed my visit this morning.

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @TCB dan: My grocery story: This attractive man approached me and offered to take my packages out of the cart and put them in the trunk for me. I thought he was coming on to me. Later it occurred to me that he just felt sorry for me because I am old.

    • Floman LM profile image

      Floman LM 

      7 years ago

      I just turned 71 and I have to remind myself that age is a "Matter of mind - if you don't mind, it doesn't matter." I just bought a 5X mirror to see what is no longer easy to look at, but like you said, the need is there. Great lens!

    • TCB dan profile image

      TCB dan 

      7 years ago

      I'm having more and more teenager grocery baggers ask me if I need "help out" to my car... I'm like, "No, I think I can handle this but thank you anyway".... what gives? Do they see me as old? C'mon!!!

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @SteveKaye: Scary.

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @SusanDeppner: Oddly, or maybe not, I can do this easily standing on my left foot. Standing on my right foot takes more of an effort and I can't always do 30 seconds. Don't know if it has something to do with being right handed.

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 

      7 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I can SO relate! In fact, when I read that you had been "deared" I burst out laughing because it happens to me now all the time! I would love to be brave enough to come back with a really good response, but I haven't thought of one yet. Loved this lens! Excuse me while I go stand on one leg for a while. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Getting old is like going through adolescence in reverse.

    • MaureenCee profile image


      7 years ago

      Hi LiteraryMind, my friend and myself were talking about this exact same thing just a couple of months ago when she had her 70th and mine hasn't quite come yet, that we still see active selves as we were probably 20 years ago and it's hard to feel whatever society has imposed on the way we should feel. Too bad so sad I'm going to stay young, even if it's only at heart until my last gasp, and you look like you're doing OK to me. Dear/y is so condescending and it shows how old they feel so just feel sorry for their poor tiny worlds.

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @aesta1: I cover mine up. That's one of the reasons I deluded myself into thinking no one else noticed the aging process.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am used to that already. Some of the sales girls here in Hanoi even take out some of my white hair. I just couldn't believe it when they started taking it as they said I had too much. I had fun reading this.

    • LiteraryMind profile imageAUTHOR

      Ellen Gregory 

      7 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @jolou: The worst is when the word "listen" is put in front of it, as in "listen dear". But that's something not just reserved for the elderly, I have heard that for years.

    • jolou profile image


      7 years ago

      I get called "Dear" sometimes too! If it's from someone we know, it's nice. But if it's a cashier or other stranger, I think it's condescending.

    • Outdoor Gal profile image

      Outdoor Gal 

      7 years ago

      The fact that you don't see yourself as "old" means you're aging gracefully ;)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I'm not 50 yet, but pushing 40 myself I am already getting those little "signs" that I'm aging. Never thought I'd see the day, lol.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      7 years ago

      This was a very enjoyable read and I think you are aging quite gracefully, if you even want to call it aging. I like to think about it as getting more experienced.


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