31 Days of Aging Gracefully: Day 25 — Standing Tall


As we age, our bodies shrink, though not always in the direction we might choose. The pounds may still nag us, but that height we’ve carried? It’s likely to change as we add on years. When I entered UCLA as a freshman in 1962, I stood 5 feet 8 inches tall. When I graduated four years later, they measured me at 5 feet 10 inches tall. I grew during college. Who knew? Not the usual pattern for most of us, but then I’m not all that usual, am I?

So when they told me about five years ago that I was again closer to 5’8″ — I was bitterly disappointed. It took me a long, long time to live into all these inches. I was the tallest cousin on my mom’s side and almost the tallest on my dad’s. I had a grandmother who was 4’11” for heaven’s sake, so I felt a bit like a freak when I was a teenager. But as the years went by, I began to enjoy being tall. Really enjoy it. I could reach things. I could stand next to almost anyone and be taller than or nearly equal to them. Eventually, I settled well into being a tall woman.

Therefore, that year in the doctor’s office was tough for me — 5’8″ felt way too short. So I began trying to stretch as much as I could every year when I had to stand on the dreaded scale and turn backwards for the yardstick on my head. Last year, after losing 3/4 of the weight I’ve been losing over these years of retirement, all of a sudden, that yardstick read 5’9 1/4″ WOW. Losing weight can add inches?? Once again I ask, who knew??

I have no idea which measurement was the more accurate. All I know is I’m keeping this one.

And I’m standing as tall as I can every single day.

Are you tall or short? Does it matter to you? I known a few short women who hate being short, even feel overlooked a lot. Yet I have a daughter who, though short, is always gracious and grateful to be who she is. That’s the way I want to live, don’t you? Standing tall in who we are, no matter how many inches we carry around.

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  1. As you know I have always been the short one and really really wanted some height! Still struggle with being short . The only good thing is thus far I haven’t shrunk yet!

    • Glad to hear you’ve not been hit by this particular side effect of aging, Pammie! Don’t struggle with it – enjoy being who you are, kiddo. Because you’re pretty remarkable in my book.

  2. I’m short – not quite 5’3″ – but I love my height and have always felt good about it. Short, but standing tall! 🙂