Printed from:

Welcome to Columbia Magazine  

Carol Perkins: Don't Let The Old Woman In

Previous Column: Engelbert

By Carol Perkins

At his concert, Engelbert told a story about when Toby Keith and Clint Eastwood were working on a project. Toby was amazed by Clint's stamina. At ninety, he was working circles around younger men. Toby said, according to Engelbert, "How do you keep going? You direct, act, produce, and that's just the beginning." Clint replied, "I don't let the old man in." Toby wrote a song by that title and Engelbert recorded it, too.

I talked about this on our radio show and so many people commented about not letting the old woman in." One said, "I try to beat her down, but sometimes she raises her ugly head." Keep beating! Surrendering, looking out the window, and living in the past is letting her in. Even in the worst of health, some keep going. We know people who have kept pushing through the pain for a long time.

How do we keep her out when we feel "old?" Here are some ideas.

Get a new hairstyle. I want a Jane Fonda style not a Lily Tomblin. Get rid of those "jimminey cricket" outfits. (Not the brand name.) Judy and I swore we would never let each other wear those matching outfits, and if one of us came close, we'd let the other know. In other areas, I try not to walk "old." Talk "old." You know what I'm saying. Some older people shuffle when they don't have to and take on a little whinny voice, almost pitiful sounding. Also, don't talk about being "old." Sometimes I do this jokingly, but I'm going to stop.

Men don't have to let the "old man in" either. Years ago, Jon bought a pair of Crocs for his dad. That was a stretch, but he loves them. If I shop with Guy, I lead him to the modern shirts, rather than the drab gray and brown he would choose. "I like this shirt," he said recently, holding up one that looked like the dozen in his closet. I replied, "It looks like an old man." You can predict his response. "I am an old man." I led him to a different section, and he bought four. "Don't let the old man in," I said.

Hang out with young people. Volunteer at church or in the community. I volunteered to teach Bible School this year. (What was I thinking?) My mother always says that your best year may be ahead. I live by those words. That's why I keep pushing that "old woman" to the back of the line. I hope you'll do the same.

You can contact Carol at

This story was posted on 2022-05-19 12:36:44
Printable: this page is now automatically formatted for printing.
Have comments or corrections for this story? Use our contact form and let us know.


Quick Links to Popular Features

Looking for a story or picture?
Try our Photo Archive or our Stories Archive for all the information that's appeared on


Contact us: Columbia Magazine and are published by Linda Waggener and Pen Waggener, PO Box 906, Columbia, KY 42728.
Phone: 270.403.0017

Please use our contact page, or send questions about technical issues with this site to All logos and trademarks used on this site are property of their respective owners. All comments remain the property and responsibility of their posters, all articles and photos remain the property of their creators, and all the rest is copyright 1995-Present by Columbia Magazine. Privacy policy: use of this site requires no sharing of information. Voluntarily shared information may be published and made available to the public on this site and/or stored electronically. Anonymous submissions will be subject to additional verification. Cookies are not required to use our site. However, if you have cookies enabled in your web browser, some of our advertisers may use cookies for interest-based advertising across multiple domains. For more information about third-party advertising, visit the NAI web privacy site.