All those things I said would never happen have surreptitiously crept into my peripheral vision and like a Jack in the Box appear with alarming frequency when I least expect it.
Insert blinkered sign flashing “50 Dead Ahead” here.
“How old are you?”
The fluidity, and let’s face it, honesty, with which I used to answer this question is totally gone.
Now, there is a noticeable pause and stutter as my brain grapples its way round to the inevitable mathematical conclusion and issues forth a begrudging reply.
Short of hot pincers beneath my fingernails, or an official badge, it’s the best response anybody will get from me.
I am a woman after all.
Also? I’m old enough to embrace the wise adage, “A lady never admits her age.”
I think that’s pretty normal. If you’re blessed to live long enough, most of us will reach an age that serves as a mental impasse, we wish to neither discuss, or acknowledge.
For me, that’s 45. The glorious no woman’s land, halfway between sophisticated 40, and fuck it all 50.
What alarms me is the gray area where my age used to reside. Not to mention, the gray hairs.
More often than I care to admit, I pause and calculate my age because, a. I flat out don’t remember it, or b. I think my memory is wrong. This just can’t be.
I spent a whole year telling people I was 43 when I was 44 soooo not on purpose.
That’s not early, onset Alzheimer’s, it’s a very subtle form of mental erasure, a selective memory processing as it were. Mind you, it happened of its own accord and began around 42. Please tell me I’m not the only one with this affliction.
People don’t believe my age, they keep telling me that I look like I’m 30 something.
Hell to the no.
Mental circumvention tactics aside, I FEEL my age. Or more aptly, all biological and societal indicators have begun to point North.
It started with the glasses. I was prescribed glasses and in a complete state of denial refused to wear them for a whole year.
Finally, I was forced to face reality because I got tired of squinting at small print on labels and moving things back and forth in a foolish attempt to focus in public places like a moron.
Along came bizarre conversations with my friends about “appropriate” attire for 40 somethings. Seriously?!
I refuse to let anyone tell me what to wear. If I look good enough to rock it, it’s all on the table. Fierceness is ageless! Think Tina Turner ;).
Fast forward to friends calling to inform me that they’re now peri-menopausal. WTF is that? Ok no.
Or, the long minutes of my life that I’ll never get back, standing in Pharmacy aisles staring at the extensive line of products aimed at women of a certain age.
There are so many products for dark spots, wrinkles etc. that it’s nothing short of baffling. I can’t tell you how many aggrieved women I’ve met in these shadowy aisles who look completely stressed out and leave empty handed in disgust and terror.
Oh for the days when I could snatch up any product and bounce. Now, I feel like I need to be a dermatologist to pick the right one. Never mind, the obscene prices. The beauty industry is pimping us out and making a gold mine.
If one more person calls me ma’am I won’t be responsible for what I do. They can have that mess.
Nor, has it escaped my notice that most of my favorite things are now classics. Considering the gray music and movies they’re turning out today that one’s not so bad.
Words have changed in their definition. Jail bait used to mean anyone under 21. At my age, it means anyone under 35. Try as I might, physical attraction still exists but once they start speaking, I’m tripping on how little they know. I can’t help but contemplate the ocean of inexperience that lies between us and the inexorable dwindling of desire is a foregone conclusion.
Gone is my desire for the fast, the quick, the cutting edge new. In it’s place, I find the precious ability to be still and delve deeper.
I know what matters to me now and certainty guides my steps as I pursue joy, knowing fully how transient and important it is.
I savor now, not just gulp lol.
I am more compassionate and wiser in ways that I never imagined and that’s priceless.
I think of all the time I spent trying to find myself, a necessary but arduous and painful task, and I’m happy to settle more comfortably into my 40 something, requires extra care, skin. Truly.
It’s all part of the process. A process that I’m blessed to continue experience unfolding.
Besides, I cant get distracted, I have a bag of pharmaceuticals dragging behind me and it takes all my concentration to hide their bulk behind my miniskirt. ;)