Because of getting older. Not in spite of it.
The older I get the more I realize I am an anomaly.
Now this isn't to toot my own horn and convince you how unique I am. This is a suggestion. And it could easily be titled "Thanks Mom!”
I've never had any issue with getting older and aging. I have never thought that women were like fruit, reaching a point of ripeness and then deteriorate. I have never feared a wrinkle.
Why would I take issue with evidence of my life? With many smiles, squinted eyes in delight, or even the disconcerted looks from on my forehead.
I hear, way too often, so and so "Looks good for her age" or, "Can you believe she's a CEO"? And other commentary that gives a window into the fear others have of getting older. Come on! Why burden yourself with this comparison. One that serves no purpose and has no value. It doesn't have to exist.
We're not good at something or look good, in spite of our age, but because of it. What we are now is everything we've ever been up to this point. I can own that. I've earned that!
My mom, a great beauty, is often asked if she's my sister. I grew up hearing people say to her, "I can't believe you're 30, (40, 50, 60)!” and so on. Her response was, "This is what 30, (40, 50, 60), looks like."
And it wasn't just with appearance, though that is what people are quick to comment about. Her interests, humor, care, love, passion, and to quote a friend, her "hotness", is because of who she is, right now.
When I worked in the spa industry, the "anti-aging" tidal wave was ever present. Isn't "anti-aging" death? If we're not not getting older, what exactly is happening?
Bodies change. They are ever changing. This doesn't mean they are not still beautiful. There has never been a hill that you suddenly start tumbling down in desperation having met the summit, the peak of who you are. Different is still beautiful. In fact, beautiful, is different.
It's not that beauty (in all its forms) is stunted, but the perception of beauty is. It's like not being able to see all of the colors of the rainbow. A fixation on just a few, and you're unable to see the beauty of each one.
What I know from my mom, and the other amazing women I know, who walk ahead of me in time, is that the fire gets hotter. The view from here is that passions are explored more deeply, creativity abounds, confidence settles in, sensuality goes through the roof, everything that is important to you, gets rocked a little harder. I want to rock this out, like this, too. Just like my mom.
If you're still looking for a role model, someone who embodies this spirit, you'll find her. They (dare I say "we") are everywhere. If you haven't seen her yet, change your lens. Look for those doing incredible work, whether that is caring for others, creating art, running the show, etc... Look for those who walk in the shoes of knowing themselves. Look for those who look like they are having the time of their lives... perhaps they are. When we see them, starting loving them. Recognizing the beauty, in all its forms, that is here, makes it ok to see that in ourselves.
We don't just make peace with getting older; we make it something to look forward to. I do.
And when you look and see others, it will happen one day you are looking in the mirror and see her looking back at you: A Woman of a Rockin' Age. Full, gorgeous, confident, alive, aging, sensuous, hungry for what life has to offer.
I'll see my mom. And that has been one of my greatest gifts.
"Life really does begin at forty. Up until then, you are just doing research." Carl Jung
Happy birthday, Susannah! Thank you friend, for this invitation to join you, and others, in this movement and your gorgeous leadership in it.