I’m using this term with endearment.
My fond memories of my mother, who passed at age 88, always bring a smile to my face. Mom was a character but always in a very sweet way. She would say the most outlandish things but with that little smile on her face, a twinkle in her eye and her soft voice, no one was ever offended. A bit taken aback perhaps, but never offended. She called everyone “dear” and she once confided to me that it was because she could never remember names.
When she was a younger woman, my mother was a bit shy, always very proper, the perfect lady, careful to always say the right thing. Or perhaps to refrain completely from saying what she was thinking. But as she aged she became bolder and by the time she hit 70 or so, my mother just told it like it was. Nothing was off limits and she had no desire to hold back.
I’ve noticed this development in many people, of both genders, as they grow older (What do you call a male crusty old broad? A crusty old codger?) and I’ve given it some thought, especially since I notice I’m loosening up a bit on my own verbal restraint. Age frees us up. We don’t worry so much about what others think and we’re less inclined to waste our time doing things we don’t want to do, or spending that time with people we don’t really want to be with.
I turn down more invitations to events I don’t really want to go to and I don’t even search my brain for some politically correct excuse. “I’m so sorry but I can’t make it” is fine. The word “should” is disappearing from my vocabulary. Perhaps it’s because there’s less time left, so it becomes more precious.
I’m starting to celebrate this freedom now that I’ve noticed it. What a pity I didn’t discover it at age 20! My mother once said to me, “One of the biggest advantages of being older is that you can say anything you want and people just shrug it off and chalk it up to your age.” Cheers, to all crusty old broads and codgers!
By Rosy Prose
Earlier blogs from Rosy Prose’s column, The View From Here, are available on ACT TWO.