I notice that I am not judging others as much as I used to-- pastel hair coloring, loud tourists, fancy or scruffy attire. People look and act as they do, and I am one of those people, too. In part this is one of the secret benefits I’m feeling as an old woman. It has freed me to wear my warm hat with ‘Thankful’ on its rim. Certainly not a fashion statement, but I am warm and I am not worrying that people might be thinking, “There goes an old woman.” Who cares.
Are there any old woman secrets about traveling alone to Italy? I feel confident in the same ways I’ve always felt; I am not fearful that something might happen; I can manage my luggage with ease; I am not lonely; I love eating alone. The secret is that I am aware that these solitary trips will come to an end—soon, within the next few years.
We old people know the finality of life in a way that hasn’t always been in our consciousness. For me, it began emerging when I turned 70, and became hardwired by 75. It’s not a depressing thought, but a prominent one. Living in the moment has becomes essential to my well-being.
I am a 78 year old white, educated, privileged woman, in excellent health, with a wonderful family. I go to church and travel by myself to Italy and Scotland. That’s my public vita, my public persona. But that’s not all who I am. I have secrets, secrets of an old woman. So let me say some more.