How Old is Old?

Today I read a boring article by Gen X poster boy Douglas Coupland about growing old. He notes that we all have two ages: the age we really are and the age we are in our heads.

Later this month, Sister Wolf will be 55. If you are taken aback, think how I feel.   No one wants to be this age but, ahem, consider the alternative.

Being 55 means nothing much except that it isn’t considered a good thing by men who blabber on and on about women losing their appeal after 30. As if.   I am completely awesome, so I am happy to refute that line of thinking.

I have come to love my cute hospital bed and my beautiful red sheets, but all things must pass and the hospital equipment is being picked up on Friday.   I love cranking up my bed to read and I love knowing I can’t fall out. Oh well. Maybe I will end up buying a hospital bed for two….do they exist?!   I’m excited just thinking about it!

During my recovery, I bought this Mischen silk dress online, because it was drastically reduced and because it has zippers down the entire length of each side. The fact that I won’t ever wear it is hardly worth mentioning.   Bring on the Rapture! And the fucked-up looking hem in the photo isn’t like that in the real dress.

The age I am in my head is around 14.   My oldest son is 32, and people generally think I’m his sister or girlfriend when we hang out together, but they don’t realize that in my head, I’m still a defiant hippie girl, angry and insecure but much cooler than those awful straight people.

How old are the rest of you in your heads?

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56 Responses to “How Old is Old?”

  1. Andy Says:

    Please write more about the dumb Russian Bitch! I hate Russians (except salad dressing). Gosh im hatefull.

  2. erin lynne Says:

    i’m somewhere between 6 & 60 in my head. in real life i’m almost 21.

  3. Lora Says:

    I just asked my boyfriend how old he thinks I am in my head. He was brushing his teeth at the moment, so he replied in sigh language. First holding up one finger, then two. (!!!) I must admit that he is way more accurate (and honest) than me. I would have answered 22, but I can be full of shit. Oh yeah, and i’m 37.

  4. emma Says:

    im 25. I act like a 50 yar old at times and a 5 year old at others (usually first thing in the morning much to my boyfriends absolute disgust.

    I really don’t want to leave my early 20s but I’m sort of excited about i.

    oh and god damn do you look awesome for your age!

  5. Skye Says:

    Honestly I think I’m where I was when I was 30 – that was the age when I just went fuck it, I rule. Sexual confidence at an all time high, too. I’m 37 in December and I’ll be happy to stay 30 in my head for the rest of my days.

  6. Sister Wolf Says:

    Hahaha, SKye, you do rule!

    Nobody else say anything “..for your age” if you want to stay on my good side. You know how I get.

  7. Skye Says:

    I think I need to put some kind of disclaimer/warning on the top of my blog about never telling me I look “(anything) for my age”. Blech.

  8. Juri Says:

    You should ask that hospital bed for birthday present, and perhaps have one of your rooms refurnised and decorated with misc. surplus hospital stuff. You could rename that room to St. something memorial hospital.

    Oh, and I’m 12 in my head but my papers say I’ll be 40 in december.

  9. Lady K Says:

    According to the calendar I will be 39 in exactly 4 weeks. In my head I am, and always will be, 30 which now makes me a year younger than my boyfriend. This pleases me no end. Oh, and Sister W, you look good. Period. I am loving the red sheets on the hospital bed.

    My dog, who will be 9 in just over 2 weeks, will always remain a year old based on the fact he a) acts like a juvenile delinquent and b) if he aged then I would too!

  10. tobilynne Says:

    Officially — I turned 28 on Sunday. The majority of my friends are in their 40’s, though, and I never feel like the kid at the table, so I suppose I’m mentally in my 40’s.

    Except that I collect those movie character Mr. Potato Heads and Star Wars junk. And my shower curtain has sultry cartoon ducks. And I have rubber ducks in the tub. And the army men. And the bobbleheads. So, I’m also 6.

  11. stella-mayfair Says:

    i read about a scientific study that went on for the last 20 years. one group of 60 year old ladies committed to telling themselves every day that they were forever ageless, powerful, and using every cell in their bodies for the building of their health. the second group of 60 year old ladies did no such thing, just went on with their lives. guess what? the first group DID appear more youthful, and the activity rate of their brain cells was significantly higher than the second groups’. only one of the first group ladies died (in group 2, nearly 40% died). thus there’s evidence that the mind indeed rules the body. i found this very fascinating. and i don’t believe in getting old. i just don’t.
    PLUS: you are fabulous, sister. period.

  12. Echidnagirl Says:

    Just turned 43 but am perpetually 35. I like 35 for some reason. I get to be all grown up in front of my kids but still bitchin.

  13. annemarie Says:

    right on Skye– i’m 32. something just clicked for me at 30 as well.
    i was utterly miserable for most of my twenties. i did lots of cool stuff, but really it was all such a STRUGGLE. i don’t know what i was looking so hard for that whole time. i think at 30, i just realized i already had all i needed and dropped the search.
    i don’t feel 14 because at 14 i felt 40. i was always described as an “old head on young shoulders” and my friends were at least a decade older than me– i actually thought this was a good thing. i felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. i was hyper critical (esp about myself), hyper “aware,” hyper “smart”– cool, right? i thought so.
    30: i feel more light-hearted than i have my whole life. i get goofier by the day. christ, it’s fun. i dig myself a lot more and my sex life is rocking. i frequently find myself the loudest and most vulgar person in the room, where before i would be in a corner holding forth with great intensity on some topic of importance. i swear, i would never, ever, want to be younger than i am now. this shit is only going to get better.
    sister wolf, you are hotter than an orgy of piss.

  14. fashionherald Says:

    I’m 41, and often think damn, i’m in my 40’s. technically that’s middle age, but what that term connotes is so foreign to me. Although lately I keep forgetting to zip my fly, which is annoyingly embarrassing and is, so far, one of the only things I don’t like about getting older. That and noisy knees. But those seem more old age not middle age, so great, I’m actually like 65. By 43 I’ll be the creaky one at the table wearing shoots with my fly open and food falling out of my mouth.
    happy freaking birthday!

  15. PatrickH Says:

    I feel about 35, though I’m 50. Not sure why there’s such a difference, but I’ve never been a parent, I’ve kept myself in good shape, and I pickled my body for many years in gallons of alcohol and cured it with many plants and pills and powders. I don’t look 35, though. More like 45.

    Sister, you look so sweet and vulnerable in your hospital bed. I want to protect you.

    Oh, she’s not Russian, I believe. I called her that once, and she corrected me on it. She may be Polish, but don’t count on that either.

  16. Jools Says:

    Definitely sixteen. And not SWEET sixteen. Acid dropping ,chain smoking (not tobacco), sixteen. Fearless Sister, you are a source of inspiration and pleasure to both my 28 year old daughter and me. So I’m six months behind you.

    You Must wear that dress. It’s perfect.

    He’s a cavalier king charles. Gets along great with the muttwiler. Not so much with crazy cartoon cat.

  17. honeypants Says:

    Funny, I’ve always been 14 too. Which I guess explains why kids & young people love me so much, and also why I feel like I am way too young to even think about having a child. Even though I’ll be 37 a month from tomorrow. Though I do have rare moments of 17, 19, and 82. But when I was 14, it seemed like that’s when all the fun was starting — really moving out of childhood and into adolescence. There’s a certain nostalgic wide-eyed magic of 14 that’s still very much in my consciousness. Not that 14 was my best year. Far from it — I’d say the early to mid twenties were the best, but even then, I was 14.

    My mom, who is 66, just the other day said, “I hate when people call [her office] and say, ‘It took me 15 minutes to look up this phone number! I’m 60 years old!’ ” It’s so true that people act the age they think they are. My mom’s a teenager inside and it shows! She’s very stylish, active and fun. She doesn’t even remotely strike me as someone who should be considered a Senior Citizen?!

  18. honeypants Says:

    I forgot to mention, that dress is gorgeous, and the zippers give it just that element of weird that you need and that only someone like you could pull off! I want to see you modeling it too — when you’re up to it!

  19. Sister Wolf Says:

    god it’s great to hear how many of you enjoy growing older and relishing the freedom to not give a shit what others think any more. That’s got to be the best thing about it. That and sex.

    Stella-Mayfair has some good advice!

    Juri, you are perfect.

    Toby-Lynne, I think you are kind of an Old Soul but also an eternal child…what could be better?

    PatrickH, yes, I need protection! That woman is more Russian than ever, if she says she’s not.

    Lady K, my dog is “4” even though others may believe he’s 9.

    Fashionherald, you can be buried in those Iconic Shoots is you want to.

    Andy, you ARE hateful. I like this side of you.

  20. K-Line Says:

    You have to get that dress! As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about ease of access :-)

    Oh, and my ideal age is somewhere between 40 – 50 – time when one has optimal credibility and confidence, I imagine. Except I haven’t hit that age bracket yet so maybe I’m older but don’t realize it. My husband thinks my attitudes are brazenly ancient (don’t like street noise, not so big on crowds, think young people are idiots these days). But whatever age I am, I’m going to wear minis and have a lot of sex.

  21. alias clio Says:

    I won’t say more than that I’m in my mid-40s, sort of, and that I wouldn’t mind except for so often reading on line that older women are useless, ugly, and stink. Since none of this has any bearing on how real people react to me, I don’t mind it too much, but it does grow wearisome.

    I didn’t really like being a teenager, or my 20s. What I remember best of those years is feeling so restless that I was incapable of contentment. Happiness, ecstasy, yes, sometimes, but not a peaceful ability to enjoy the moment. I do have that now. I suppose I aspire to be ageless rather than young and that’s what I feel now, whether it’s objectively true or not.


    p.s. You do look spectacular, and not just for your age.

  22. Sister Wolf Says:

    Jools, this is all gret news. How about my son + your daughter??

    K-Line, if only I had your good attitude about mini skirts!

    Honeypants, Hahaha! No wonder we’re friends.

    Clio, I hear you, loud and clear. xoxo

    Lora, 37 is a great age to be. Wear a mini on my behalf!

    Echinada girl, haha, being bitchin is what matters most.

    Erin Lynne and Emma, go out and change the world! You are the future! You can still pierce your bellybuttons if you haven’t already!

  23. WendyB Says:

    Those sheets look good on the hottest almost 55 year old in the world — If you told me you were 35 I’d believe it. In my 30s I felt like I was 26. But now that I’ve reached 40 I feel “early 30s.” Is that good? Am I maturing? Nah, probably not.

  24. Aja Says:

    I had to re-read your post. I was in disbelief. Coolest 55 year old I have yet to meet. And something for me to aspire to.

    I was born about 35. There’s plenty of proof of that. When I was 10, new age music (Enya), beat poetry and worrying about the world (sad, I know). I generally dislike people my own age, as they get up my nose. My best friend is 30, my other best friend 31. As I round off my twenties it just gets sweeter and sweeter and I think, “yup 35 is where I’ve always been”.

  25. savvy mode sg Says:

    can’t believe you are 55. but i think we are as old as we feel. sometimes i feel like i am 5 but there are times i feel like i am 50. it’s all good i think.

  26. enc Says:


    And I know when your birthday is.

    And you don’t look no almost-55, sister.

  27. enc Says:

    I should have said “Sister.”

  28. Sister Wolf Says:

    WendyB, from a woman with your legs, your complement is especially nice.

    Aja, how great that you are coming into your own. I was an awful little misanthrope as well.

    Savvy, I hope it’s all good. 70 might not be, but at least I’ve got the cane already.

    Enc, I look forward to continued atheism (and even some shopping) with you. xo

  29. Make Do & Mend Says:

    You just know Madonna issued the c word when reading your post. She hates you for looking what she needs to buy.
    19 – I don’t think I’ll ever be anything but 19 – I went skipping off to uni and the big wide world. I’m still skipping and still enjoying the big old world.

  30. Edith Purdy Says:

    Hmmm, this is a tricky one. Sometimes I feel much older than my 26 years. However, 99% of the time I feel like a dorky teenager. I still think the same stupid things that I did when I was 13. I actually have a fear that if my friends, boyfriend, employers, random strangers suddenly developed the ability to read my mind that NO ONE would want to socialise with me ever again. I spend a large portion of my day wondering about stuff like “which type of bear is the funniest? I think probably the Panda because the of the whole hand stand weeing thing, closely followed by the spectacle”.

  31. Megan64 Says:

    In my head I’m 27 but in reality I’m turning 40 next month. I look and feel better than I have in years, similar to when I was 27. This in my head thing also happens with weight. I was overweight for a while after I had my kids (duh 5 years awhile) but in my head I always looked like the 27 year-old stone fox I once was. Now I’m back where I should be but in my head I’m still bloaty. What gives with that? Hopefully it can all come together and I can reconcile my reality with my headspace and enjoy being where I am. Right. Now.

    Love you by the way. What an inspiration.

  32. Bex Says:

    You do not look 55. That’s so great!

  33. Sloth Says:

    Look at all these comments! You hit a nerve with this one, Sister. I would have guessed you were about 35, but you knew that. I’m 32. In my head I’m 32. Except when I’m feeling insecure and then I’m 13.

  34. Sloth Says:

    Also, what’s with the color-coordination? Is that like a super power you have? I want it.

  35. marmalade wombat Says:

    In my head, I would like to be sister wolf at 55 looking like she’s 25 with spunk.

    incredible. that’s insane.

    I’m 19 but my brain is heavy like it’s been chainsmoking for 40 years and has 6 kids by 7 different fathers and is struggling to count the change to pay the electricity bill for our trailerhome. xoxo teheheh

  36. Peter L. Winkler Says:

    Wowza! You look damn good. Better than my sorry, 51-year-old carcass, in or out of my bed of pain.

  37. Iheartfashion Says:

    In my head I’m 75, a cranky old crazy woman who doesn’t care what people think. In reality I’m 38.
    And 55? Really? You’re inspiring, Sister Wolf! What’s your secret? Dare I ask?

  38. Sister Wolf Says:

    Make do and Mend, 19 is a lovely optimistic age, I like it for you

    Edith, it’s that Stupidity that makes you endearing

    Megan64, just look for pix of Lisa Marie Presley when you feel bloaty!

    Sloth, you always make me lol. Yes, I am magic.

    Miss Wombat, well you know how I adolize you. Protect that brain!!!

    Peter, at least we’re not fucking rightwingers, eh?

    Iheartfashion, my beauty secrets are 1. Stress, and lots of it. 2. Renova face stuff before bedtime.

  39. Peter Says:

    Well, I’m (gulp!) 51, but think of myself as about 35 or so. Mostly this is because I’m very active physically, far more so than most 51-year-olds, in fact more so than most 35-year-olds. Other than having to use reading glasses I’ve so far avoided any physical signs of aging. And hey, it helps that I have hardly any gray hair.

  40. alias clio Says:

    Alas, Sister Wolf, if you dislike right-wingers perhaps I ought to cease patronizing your blog. Because, you know, I am one. In fact, I am that most righteously despised species of right-winger, the social conservative.

    (I have noticed that Americans who dislike right-wingers dislike so-cons far more than they do libertarians.)

    Just thought I ought to let you know, in case you hadn’t realised it. I wouldn’t want you to welcome me under false pretenses.


  41. Sister Wolf Says:

    Peter, we can just dye the gray hair if we want to!

    Clio, you are beyond such categories. I do know, but yet we are Sisters just the same.

  42. Imelda Matt Says:

    After a few beers I’m still a slutty catholic school girl, with a purse full of dime store makeup and her mothers prescription for birth control.

  43. susie_bubble Says:

    What sort of a luxurious hospital bed look have you got going on there…it’s pretty amazing….!

  44. Mark Says:

    I’m fucking 40. In my head, I’m 82 and grouchy from 10AM -4PM. At around 5PM, I’m 30, and discovering Comme des Garcons for the first time…

  45. Sister Wolf Says:

    Imelda Matt, ME TOO! That’s what it’s like to be a fast 14 yr old.

    SusieB, it’s the sheets! The bed is crap.

    Mark, hahahahhaha!

  46. PatrickH Says:

    Imelda Matt: After a few beers I’m still a slutty catholic school girl, with a purse full of dime store makeup and her mothers prescription for birth control.

    Really? How many beers? Any preference for brands?

    Sister Wolf: ME TOO!

    Okay, I’m on my way! At which bar would you two wonderful women like to meet me?

    And Sister, there is something beyond kinky/fun/wild in the idea of you transforming from a committed married Jewish women to a slutty Catholic schoolgirl after a few beers. I’m going to be enjoying that image for weeks, at least.

    And…colour me gobsmacked that you’re 55! I remember you being astonished that I’m 50 (you never did tell me why, by the way), I assume because of the immaturity of my posts, but in your case you simply do not carry yourself like a 55 year old, let alone “look” like one. It’s a posture thing that can betray an unaged face and lean body, and you’ve got the posture of a young (and very challenging) woman. I hope your adventure with doggie isn’t going to change that.

    55? I almost don’t believe it.

    P.S. I’m right-wing too, but unlike the gentle, deep, Catholic (unslutty) Clio, in a racist, quasi-fascist, contrarian and disturbingly nihilistic way. Please don’t send me away! I like it here!

  47. Sister Wolf Says:

    PatrickH, I think it’s because I have a childish outlook or something. It will be a sad day when people believe how old I am without be amazed, let me tell you.

    I think I thought you were younger due to perceived immaturity. Now I love you as you are.

    Not only am I still “challenging” I have just made a new blog in an alternate universe,

    P.S. I collect Catholic schoolgirl skirts

  48. Judit Says:

    My biological age is 27. My shrink says I´m 6 years old, she assumes, that´s the reason, why I find daily life chores too exhausting – she´s absolutely right. Sometimes, I feel quite grown up, like 15 or so.

  49. Sister Wolf Says:

    Judit, don’t tell her about me! I find them exhausting too. Is that not normal?

  50. Spike Gomes Says:

    I’m 29, going on 55.
    My grandmother’s nickname for me since I was 9 was “Grandpa Gomes” due to my dislike of other kids, cantankerous personality, hypochondria and love of books and long pants.

    Since then, due to repeated applications of literature, I’ve been able to lower my age a bit. I still am irritated by just about everyone under 23, however.

  51. alias clio Says:

    Sister W., Patrickh, above, makes me sound remarkably dull. Pay no attention to him.

    In my narcissistically feminine way, I think myself every bit as interesting as he is. Perhaps even more so.


  52. PatrickH Says:

    Clio, you wound me! I was not making you sound dull at all, let alone remarkably dull! My quick is cut to all the way by you! You’re not a nihilist, a crypto-fascist, or a contrarian (umm, maybe I’ll rethink that last one). I was simply contrasting your depth to my shallowness and immaturity and flakiness and flibbertygibbetiness. Women! Give me them praise, and they throw it back in your face!

    Hrmph, as you are fond of grunting out in response to some egregious comment or other, O Muse. And again hrmph!

    I am seriously considering becoming a homosexual.

    And speaking of men!….Spike, you are far too perversely polymorphous and take too much glee in messing with people’s expectations to be anything like 55 inside. You are either 88, as in curmudgeonly and more than half-mad (I’m pegging you at about 78% crazed), or 12, as in Damien, aka “the devil dances in that boy’s eyes!” You’re an outlier, my friend, always were, and always will be.

  53. alias clio Says:

    Dear, dear. No need to become a homosexual on my account, pH. That was just banter, and it was addressed more to Sister than to you.

    Now we must be good, children, and stop taking over her thread.


  54. PatrickH Says:


    Our Dear Sister seems to have participated with relish in the “takeover”. I suspect she enjoys some hijackings as much as regularly scheduled travel routes. “We’re going to Cuba? Cooool. Now what should I wear?”

    Sister, you really do collect Catholic schoolgirl uniforms? I can only say, the mind boggles. The. Mind. Boggles. I await the day when you will post a pic of you [STOP THIS RIGHT NOW–THE VATICAN. WE SAID STOP IT.]

  55. Sister Wolf Says:

    You crazy kids!

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