Old Age Can Mean Freedom

Carol Burt
6 min readJul 9
Photo by sk on Unsplash

I once fretted over things that no longer matter to me.

I can’t remember when I last plucked my eyebrows — they need it. But I’m not going to do it because it hurts, and my face with arched eyebrows isn’t going to look that different than it does now. I barely have any eyebrows, so that’s one pain that is over. I am free from yanking hair, roots, and all out of my face.

Old age shows, and there’s nothing we can do about it. So I’ve stopped fretting over trying to make the signs of my aging disappear. I’ve emptied my makeup drawer. Good foundation, no matter how good, still accentuates wrinkles. There are now whiskers on my chin, too, and I used to make sure I pulled out every one tediously. Now I just shave them off and go about my business. Does anyone want to feel my stubble? No? Well, then go on by.

One thing I can’t understand is why while the hair on my head is gray, my whiskers are still black — one of the great questions of life.

I bought a pair of pajamas I thought were a shorts set the other day. I put a bra on and donned my new shorts and tee shirt to go to the store. Ray looked at me funny. I said, “What?”

He said, “I think those are pajamas.”

Come to think of it, I got this shorts set in the lingerie department. The shorts are thick, and the shirt is sturdy, but I see they are pajamas now. I wore them anyway. My daughter even admitted they look like summer shorts set. So off I went, in my new pajamas, proud as punch. And she probably called her sister to say mom went off to town in a set of pjs. Oh, well.

That brings me to a tremendous gift that getting old has given me. At my age, I mostly don’t give a shit.

I once beat myself up regularly because my yard wasn’t as manicured as our neighbor’s (who hires his done). I dressed to go out, thought I looked terrible, and often changed clothes. I used to go to the beauty shop to have my hair fixed. Now, it’s a good day if I remember to brush it.

I once had a headful of thick, curly, wavy hair that was a trademark of mine as a young woman. Men dig it, you know. They always prefer long hair. Course, they don’t have to deal with it.

Carol Burt

Former print journalist, former mayor, retired law enforcement officer. Writing about politics and government along with random personal essays.