In a few days I have one of those milestone birthdays – the big 4-0. For those of you who read that last sentence and groaned or even felt a little sorry for me, STOP. I’m over-the-moon about my age. Older and wiser should be every woman’s mantra. My goal is to grow old as comfortably as I can without wasting too much time. Let’s be frank. No one is getting out of this alive. We all have a beginning and an end. What matters is what we do in the middle, so why waste that time worrying about getting older?
Have you noticed that the concept of old seems to be getting older? 40 is the new 30! 30 is the new 20! 20 is the new … infant? Perhaps it’s because we’re living longer and healthier. Maybe it’s because “the ones” that determine what old is are getting older and they want to make themselves feel better. Either way I think it’s a waste of time. 50 is 50. 40 is 40. Get over it.
I remember watching an episode of Oprah a few years ago in which a bunch of female comedians were talking about aging. One woman said she ‘wore her wrinkles as war paint.’ That phrase has stuck with me. I now understand that as we get older, we have to redefine what aging means. As I see myself in the mirror every morning and look at the same kind of fine lines I used to think made my mom look old, I now see something different. I see the crow’s feet that show how I’ve laughed a lot. I see the frown/worry lines that tell my story of survival. That extended tummy reminds me of the miracle child that grew in it. My aching knees remind me of the many paths I’ve traveled. We need to stop thinking about getting older as a bad thing. We just have to rethink the situation. Do I want to wear bifocals? No. Do I want to read the documents put in front of me? Yes. Bifocals it is.
Aging allows us to give ourselves some liberties we may have not given to our younger selves. Eat the good food. Drink the expensive wine. Spend the day in your sweats watching reality TV if you want. Say what you need to say. Why wait to do something in a future no one is promised?
I’m not promoting a lifestyle of laziness once you reach a certain age, but I also don’t think a life of denial is the way to go either. Kudos to you if you have the willpower to resist the pizza and cake that have become a staple of the birthday parties that I, at least, attend every weekend. I really have no desire to avoid these things, and I make no apologies for a second piece of either…or both. Bravo! To you who can live without caffeine and sugar, or to you who run at least 5 miles a day. You all deserve a round of applause. I say that without sarcasm, too. I’ll be the chubby, middle-aged woman comfortable enough in my own skin to go to the movie by myself. I’ll be the one with the Coke and a bag of popcorn – with extra butter.
We can’t stop time. We can do our best to delay or even gloss over (no one except my hairstylist will be seeing a gray hair on my head for at least 20 more years), but aging will happen. For now let’s be thankful for things like knee braces and the alarm on our car fob that lets us know where we parked. Forty is looking pretty good from where I stand.
How do you feel about getting older?