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.

0 thoughts on “On growing old(er) disgracefully

  1. Love this Diane, this is going to be my mantra for aging. I, like you refuse to focus on the age factor in my life and I quite like being older anyway. I feel more confident and in control about, where my life is going, than when I was younger and to be honest, less worried about it too.:)

  2. You know I’ve been coming to terms with aging Di, and I wholeheartedly agree with you that we can become wiser with the years (although, sadly, not everyone does) – so I love this post.

    At the same time, I will do all that I can to be healthy and ‘young’ for my age, not just because I’m vain (and I admit that I am) but because I have seen how awful being old and sick can be. I’ve also seen how awful being old and poor can be – and as a single mother I’m years behind the average population in terms of superannuation, assets etc. My productive years were invested in husband and children, and when we split HE kept the monetary assets, while I got the expenses. For many years to come I’ll be madly scrambling to catch up and I know I’ll have to be working far past the point my more comfortably-off peers have hung up their hats. So I need every advantage I can get – including youthful looks, high energy levels, a fit and lean body. I’m an anti-aging fanatic!

    But you, my darling, are amazing – I admire your commitment to your own holistic well being and fitness (people, this woman can really RUN!) and your going-platinum hair.

    You go for it, Silver Fox!

    D x

    1. You look – and are – amazing, Dan! And if I looked like you, I’d be wanting to keep looking awesome for as long as I could too!

      I admire your brave mothering of your five girls and how you have provided a wonderful environment for them and you are such a great role model.

      You should be very proud of what you have achieved, and continue to achieve. I think you will really start powering through your forties and will be a force to be reckoned with!

      Not long and you’ll be running with me like the wind! And those blokes are going to have to work hard to catch us and be worthy!

  3. Nice post. I’m 54 and this past year have finally been able to shed a whole pile of baggage and anxiety that consumed/wasted years of my life. I think one’s 50s are very much a time of realizing this is IT before (ugh) physical decline gets a lot rougher, although I’m also trying to stave it off through exercise, decent eating, etc. I also face (double ugh) a hip replacement in six weeks, which I hope will give me back the athletic life I so miss and cannot enjoy right now.

    I live in an apartment building where some of my favorite neighbors are in their 80s — sassy, well-dressed, fun. They offer great role models.

    But there’s NO way I’m going grey. I recently switched from 20 yrs of blond to being a redhead and love it.

    1. I lost 20kgs last year & have taken up running, and I feel fitter and more vital and with it than I did in my 20s! I just hope the joints can hold up, but so far, so good.

      I think the secret to ageing disgracefully (and beautifully!) is to maintain your youth and vitality and curiosity, but use your knowledge, wisdom and experience to live life fully.

      Good luck with your operation, by the way! Hope it all goes well!

  4. Great post! I turned 40 this year and am starting to feel my age. 🙁 I have always been an active person, and this year the injuries have caught up with me. I have realized that I have to slow down and not face every activity as if I am 25 years old. 🙁 Sometimes I get depressed that my looks are fading as well (it’s not like I’m a supermodel by any means, but still). When I see pictures of myself I think, “Wow, I look older”. 🙁 I am trying to get over it, but aging is sometimes a difficult transition….I hope to one day be as comfortable in my own skin as you are now. 🙂

    1. Thank you! I remember a Tracey Ulman comment about ageing (at least I think it was her). She said she never worried about losing her looks because she never had them to lose in the first place. That’s sort of how I feel (although I’m not unattractive, if that makes sense). Staying fit, healthy and interesting are my priorities as I head toward 50. Oh, and it’s nice to know that Demi Moore will always be older than me!

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