Pamela Loxley Drake isn't quite sure what old means. Good or bad, she prefers a different way of looking at it.

COURTESY PHOTO - Pamela Loxley DrakeOld. Hmm.

Someone asked if I was OK walking up a small path. Huh!? Who? Me? (Envision me looking around for someone old.)

What is old and how do we know when we arrive there?

When I grew up, women dressed in simple dresses and did not spend time on their looks or clothing. It was a matter of farm and family care. Practicality and purpose. They grew into their later years slowing down. Farm living is constant.

Truly, they never seemed young. Most were grandparents at a young age. Yes, it was a time of high school graduation, then matrimony.

Old? Hmm.

I love old houses, old furniture, antiques and things that are perhaps not found in the standard household. We have old toolboxes that are fun and hold all kinds of treasures. An old fruit box makes a great little table and is a useful storage space.

Yes, it goes on and on. Old to me means useful, fun and creative.

Old houses have wonderful woodwork and histories. Each part of the house holds a past. We discovered this in the layers of wallpaper on the walls. Hardwood floors covered with carpeting. Small pieces of architectural history with cornices, newels and intricate woodwork.

Old. Lovely and never truly outdated.

Having lived in two very different parts of the country, I find that this aging process looks different. There is hiking, mountain climbing, surfing, cycling, fit and fitness that suits the way of life here in Oregon. We have a very young and active older generation.

I love that I can dress the way I love instead of feeling like I need to dress a certain way after a certain age. Mom always said that after 40, you should wear black or navy blue. She did not follow her own advice.

So, what is old?

I know people, as do you, who are old even as children. Old spirits.

My parents failed to pay attention to their health. Their lack of care not only took a toll on their lives, but it also affected their children. They became less active, so their bodies began to decline. Old.

I'm not sure there is such a thing as old. I rather like to think that we are recycled again and again. What was can become different.

We can either judge ourselves by numbers or ignore the numbers, choosing to be intergenerational. Your dog and your grandchildren keep you active and younger.

All ages can change, have new experiences and build upon the life they lead in the past.

Old age? Hmm. I don't think so. With commitment and determination by continuing to learn and grow, aging can be an adventure.

I'm not old. I'm being recycled. How about you?

Pamela Loxley Drake is a Beaverton resident and self-described lifelong "farm girl." You can contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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