60 is the new 40

60 is the new 40

Belgin Akaltan - belgin.akaltan@hdn.com.tr
60 is the new 40 Forty was the new 25 anyway. So I can say I’m very close to 25. 

Why am I interested in age at this moment? One reason is that my husband is going to be 60 in December and I will be following him six months later. For the moment, I’m 59. The second reason is that it was the U.N. International Day of Older Persons a couple of weeks ago. I was going to write about my age and the situation of old people back then, but a series of major events took place: First, journalist colleague Ahmet Hakan was attacked and injured; second, a Turkish scientist won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry; third, some things happened in Ankara that I can’t write about now. Hence my delay in writing about old age.

Yes, as I told you, I’m 59 going on 60. Even my hoo-ha has shrunk. Nothing is the same in my body as it used to be. 

Not only my hoo-ha, even the benign tumors in my uterus - the myomas that I have had all my life - have shrunk (which is a good thing). My hair is thinner, and when I look into the mirror I see my mother looking back at me. (Remind me to write about the menopause some other time.) It isn’t appropriate to write here which parts of my body hair have become gray. 

My breasts are doing OK but I have a belly, hips and legs like sausage. As a woman at this age who loves eating everything and doesn’t like exercise, my body isn’t doing me any favors. My life is nice but my body is treating me unjustly.

When I squat or bend a knee, I can’t get up without groaning or grabbing some place. 

It is a different story in the office. 

Apart from my bodily handicaps I have paranoia issues. I feel like those people who don’t know me well - you know, strangers - are making fun of me. It always proves to be my imagination, but really I think these guys and girls have been laughing at me.

I mean, I work with very young people. The median age in our building is 30. They say that the median age in our adjacent building, which is a television station and with which we share a beautiful garden, is 25. 

I can’t hear the young people. Why do they talk in whispers? I have had my ears checked, twice. My hearing is fine. But I still cannot hear the young people. Even if I try harder, get close, open my eyes and ears and finally hear them, I do not understand their jokes and expressions. It’s like another language. But I do have very polite and nice young people in our paper who tirelessly explain everything to me. Thanks, guys…

I can’t open bottles. My thumbs are failing me. I cannot carry a chair from one place to another, my arms fail me. When I drop something onto the floor or if I need to plug something into a ground socket, I ask for help. There are always interns in the office who seem to be very nice people, like the French girl this summer (hi, Ines) and now the new boy from the Aydın Doğan Vocational High School (hi, Ege).  

When I think back, I recall that the age 30 was scary enough. But I was never 30 - I remember staying at 29 for three years then jumping to 32. Somehow 40 passed quickly because of the ever time-consuming job of raising a child and a husband and a mother. I had other problems to think about too. 

Fifty was a nightmare but I now wish I was 50. Oh, I so wish I was 50 now… 

Sixty is nice. It is well above everything. Or almost... I mean I am doing fine for the moment, but I am very close to the period when it will be quite acceptable if I can’t drive, can’t walk, can’t cook (as if I ever cooked), can’t remember things, am too old for sex, or forget things… I can always blame it on my age: “Look, I’m 60.”  

Expectations will be low from me. Actually, I can exploit this. 

Oh yes, the Ankara blasts… Wasn’t there a total media blackout on the issue? I want to talk about it…