50 Shades of Grace

50 Shades of Grace

Grace Papish - Opinion Editor, '16

Ever since I was little, I have been described as an “old soul.” For example, I have always had a deep connection with senior citizens. I can reminisce about President Truman’s approval rating for hours. At night you can find me discussing the latest Barbara Kingsolver novel with an elderly woman in a Barnes and Noble. I often find myself saying “wow, these prices?” at restaurants, never failing to stuff the free mints into my purse. For many years, I was confused by my post-menopausal tendencies, but I think that I am finally ready to announce the truth: I am a 65–year–old woman trapped inside of a 16–year–old’s body.

When the slight differences between my fellow classmates and myself was first brought to my attention (as it turns out, playing checkers with your cat on a Saturday night is a big no-no), I did not see anything wrong with my elderly situation. I love being credible to give advice, eat saltine crackers in bed and complain about my neighbor’s loud parties! What’s more, a recent “Can We Guess Your Age Quiz” on Buzzfeed told me I was 60+, like Helen Mirren! What could be bad about that?

However, there are some downsides to the discounted movie tickets. When I began to accept my status as a senior citizen, I started using my internal age as a justification for my social anxiety. I became a burden, often enacting the excuse “my feet hurt” to avoid social situations. What I thought was a quirky character trait was actually a facade—an attempt to keep myself in a manageable comfort zone. Not only was I neglecting my friendships, I was also promoting my own loneliness and missing out on experiences that I realized would be more advantageous to encounter now, rather than later as a regretful grandma on a rollercoaster.

As of this month, I have made it a personal goal of mine to Benjamin Button myself. Slowly but surely, I will take off my microwavable socks and step out into the world. While the journey will not be easy and my back will often hurt, I know that with the help of my friends, my cat and of course Dame Helen Mirren, I will be able to get back on my feet–without the need for orthopedic shoes.