Tag Archives: aging

40 Something Me…

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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.

“40 something.”

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.

Cause celebre?

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. 😉

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I’m 43, or 7. It all depends on your perspective!

On Thursday, I turned 43, or 7. If, like me, you believe that when it gets hairy you should start back at the beginning then 7 will work for you lol. I have not been feeling fluffy about my birthday for the past few weeks and that is sooo not like me. I LOVE birthdays. It’s a day celebrating your existence. What could be bad about that?

Nonetheless, I have been ruminating on days gone by and moaning about that which can’t be recaptured and dreading our nemesis, the unknown. Two short years from 45 WTF!! I guess I have to kiss youth goodbye. Who knows what catastrophic events lurk around the corner? What painful lessons are left to learn? Which body parts will desert me when I least expect it? So speaks the crazy woman who spent $250 on glasses and refused to wear them for a year. Not to mention, what vicious new, grey hairs will spring out in the most visible places seemingly over night. Willful bastards.

If there is one thing that I know how to do really well, it would be worry lol.

I know that women get an unfair shake. Ageism is STILL alive and well and I am conscious that I have reached the age where my biological clock is winding down towards the dreaded Chapter M, I should be having Mammograms and burning my mini-skirts. Depending on who you ask, they are decidedly not de rigueur for my age. My friends now say bizarre things to me like “I don’t generally go out after 10” and others think clubs are a complete waste of time. (Don’t be mad, I love u anyway :)) As if listening to some kick azz music at full volume could ever get old. (Ahem, ask me that question in another 25 yrs). I was also told that the Museum of Natural History was a kiddie museum, as if the wonders of the world are only fascinating when one is under 14. Finally, I have also ingested the very sad premise that being sexy is a mere waste of time as if only nubile, young women have closeted the market and the rest of are fakers struggling to keep up.

My response really should have been a loud and resounding “Bullocks”! What a bunch of rot! I am too polite though so I said it in my head. “To each his own” is my personal motto. If there is one thing that I like about the 21st century it would be the rise of individualism and the generally accepted notion that boundaries are truly made only to be broken. Of course, at 43, I can see the negative consequences of this attitude pervading our culture but consider the flip side for a minute and smile.

My perspective, born of 21,024,000 minutes allows me to see that a great deal of inner strength is mine merely for the choosing. It is that strength which allows me to chart my course, wear any damn thing I want as long as I look good doing it, go to clubs and concerts and any other nosy, or “infantile” venue for the mere enjoyment of it. I can and do still stay up all night at the drop of a hat, watch TV for hours, read a good book till dawn, drive fast down dark highways with the wind racing through my locs, cheekily wear sunglasses at night (thanks, Corey) and get my groove on when I am stifled by the mundane.

I think of all the trials I’ve made it through and smile that I am still here to tell the tale. I’m so much smarter than I was and my character and spirit, as it unfolds is still quite beautiful to me. I’m nowhere near done yet and my appetite for life is still voracious. The tools in my toolbox are sharpened and oiled as well which is great since in my 20’s I had no box at all, if you get my drift. I still have so much to do and relish in the doing. Sadly, quite of the few of the people I have loved along the way are no longer here to share the journey. I feel that any other attitude would defile their memory.

I was at a restaurant in May, having dinner with a friend and the waiter kept staring and hovering over our table. Finally, he looked at me and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, it’s just that you are so full of life it’s beautiful.” That is the nicest compliment I have received to date. That kind of beauty is ageless and hard won.

It is not that I don’t believe that age, in and of itself, poses restrictions. It’s just that the biggest restrictions are imposed by our minds. So, I think it’s better to get my mind right than to become apathetic and accepting before I am really done. Doubtless, my mind and body will have to fight this out but I am up to the struggle :).

Here are some great quotes about aging:

Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting  our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the
soul.” ~Samuel Ullman

“Some people, no matter how old they get, never lose their beauty – they merely move it from their faces into their hearts.”  ~Martin Buxbaum

“I advise you to go on living solely to enrage those who are paying your annuities.  It is the only pleasure I have left.”  ~Voltaire

“A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life:  maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves.  A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.”  ~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944, translated from French by Norah Purcell

“Age is an issue of mind over matter.  If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
~Mark Twain