On growing old(er) disgracefully
In 8 months and 20 odd days, I will be 49. I am nearly 50. Half a century old. While I can vaguely see my youth in the rear view mirror, and I remember fondly how well I misspent it, I don’t miss it. Who wants to deal with all that angst and uncertainty and insecurity? Along with greying hair and certain bits and bobs going south, I find that 49 also brings with it wisdom and knowing and peace. You let a lot of things go, because – in the scheme of things – they just don’t matter all that much. Looks, for example.
I am much more comfortable in my skin now than I was at 29 and even 39. Age levels the playing field because no matter how much Botox or surgery, everyone gets wrinkles at some point. I don’t judge anyone for going down the enhancement route, but all that does is delay an inevitable process. I like my face, even though it is no longer youthful. It looks I have lived, and lived well. It has character. And I like my lines. I’ve earned every single one of them, and I refuse to erase them – and the life I have lived thus far – with surgery.
And I predict – in the not too distant future – choosing to go grey, which I am (or platinum as I like to call it) will become a political statement. Because who says that it’s only men who look great with grey hair? Who says that women over a certain age are less vital and sexy? Who says that women can’t be fabulous if they have lines and wrinkles? As a society, we need to change our perception of beauty, and what it means to be an attractive woman. It’s not just the pretty young things who should be getting a guernsey. A woman who cares about her health and fitness – at any age – should be applauded. Fit women are powerful women.
With age, a certain fierceness comes. And in a contrary way, peace. I know what works for me and what doesn’t. I choose my battles a bit more wisely and I wage war based on values and principles now, not superficial clap-trap that doesn’t mean anything. You let that stuff go. Meaningless nonsense slips through your fingers like grains of sand. That is peaceful, because you live life according to what is important to you, not to anyone else. You discover you have substance.
I know many people fear getting old. They worry about their health, the state of their mind and the quality of their lives. They worry that they can’t do the things they could in their youth, but that is inconsequential, because you can do so much more. Ultimately, though, I think people fear death, and they cling to their youth hoping for a reprieve. They think they can control the inevitable. Unfortunately, though, no one is let off. There is no loophole. Life, in fact, is a death sentence. All one can do is enjoy the time we have on this amazing planet, and hopefully do a good deed or two along the way.
So whatever happens, to my way of thinking, 49 is much better than the alternative.