In praise of older women (and men) …

I’ve got aging on my mind right now.

There’s a birthday in my not too distant future. And everywhere you turn somebody’s bringing it up (age, not my birthday.) The presidential race seems to have become about Marco aging2Rubio being too young, Bernie Sanders being the oldest candidate ever and how, to all the experts’ surprise, Hillary Clinton’s not connecting with young women.

One of this year’s Screen Actors Guild Award nominees is nine years old. Had he also been nominated for an Oscar he would have been the youngest in Oscar history.

Women, and men, spend billions, maybe trillions of dollars each year on anti-aging products and hair dye. And I defy you to walk into any ad agency or tech company and find anyone there over the age of 30 or 40 — except somebody’s parents (or grandparents, God help me) visiting from out of town.

So is it any wonder people lie about their age, go into debt so they can go under the knife and rich old men have gorgeous young babes dangling from their wrists and pop Viagra more frequently than breath mints?

It doesn’t surprise me. But I am bemused by it.

What’s so great about being young?

Last week I watched Isabel Allende’s Ted Talk on living passionately at 71. It inspired me so much I wrote a blog post about it. And I’ve done a lot of thinking about age and aging since; and I’ve come to the following conclusions:

It’s not ‘youth’ I want.  It’s ‘time’. That’s what sucks about getting older. All of a sudden you’re staring down an expiry date.

Despite all the violence and hatred and bigotry and poverty and hypocrisy that surrounds us, I still believe it’s great to be alive and also that this is a great time to be alive. Technology makes almost anything possible, we don’t have to limit our dreams anymore. There are also so many bright, inquisitive minds out there and, again thanks to technology, their ideas and solutions are accessible to us.

They give me energy and make me excited about the future. It’s only going to get better and I want to be around, and functioning, to see it, learn from it, contribute what I can and enjoy it. How old I’ll be doesn’t matter to me.

There’s something else. I can’t speak for you, but I am much braver now than I was in my twenties and thirties. I know who I am, I like who I am, I’m comfortable with who I am, I am not out to impress anyone.  I take chances much more readily, I don’t second guess myself. I know what I want, what I like and what I don’t. And I have the confidence, and the balls, to avoid, like the plague, anything or anyone annoying, frustrating or disappointing. Happy thoughts, remember?

That’s what experience does for you.  That’s what making mistakes, surviving them and learning from them does for you.

Which is also why I’m wiser now. Life has made me so. And it’s good, really good.

Yes, my hair is grey and I like it like that. I’ve made peace with my wrinkles and I love that I earned them living a great life and having a fabulous time.

If it was up to me I’d live happily without my sore shoulder, my stiff neck and some of the aches and pains I don’t remember having before. But when I’m disciplined enough to start my morning with an hour of pilates I’m a different woman.

Meryl Streep said it best when she turned 60: “I’m very f*cking grateful to be alive. I have so many friends who are sick or gone, and I’m here. Are you kidding? No complaints!”

 

 

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14 thoughts on “In praise of older women (and men) …

  1. Well said, Fransi!
    I agree with you and wouldn’t turn the clock back if I could. I might take up an option on having the body go back a bit…say five years (which would still put me way over the 50 mark) just so it could have as much fun as the rest of me…but apart from that, wouldn’t change a thing. I may creak a bit, but I am more at ease with myself than ever before.

  2. I’m older and wiser too. At 44 I am the most comfortable with my body and looks that I have ever been.
    I dress for me. I do my hair and wear a little makeup for me (well, occasionally for my hubby…lol).
    It’s funny, I appreciate time so much more now, but I live with the belief that we never know how much time we have, so to enjoy today.

    I might die at 45. Or 95. I don’t know. So I live today.

    Which is way better than before, when I was hoping the end was near.

  3. Amen! You’ve captured my experience of aging! I’ll turn 80 this year, and I’m more consistently happy than I ever was when younger. Disappointments roll off my back because I know things will be better tomorrow. I feel enormously lucky to have had an amazing life. And to think I contemplated suicide more than once in the past. I’m so grateful for those people who helped me to continue through periods of anguish. And for the ability to write out and work out the grief without resorting to alcohol or drugs.

    • Thank you. It is so important to remember all we have to be grateful for. Thankfully between your own inner strength and the support of some wonderful and caring people you decided to choose life. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been at times, but you did it. You have a lot to celebrate. Thank you for sharing your story.

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