My recent birthday gave me ample opportunity to reflect, as I always do, on my life thus far and what the forthcoming year means to me. As a woman I’ve become very aware of how our society puts an extreme amount of emphasis on aging as a marketing tool for beauty products (most of which are completely unnecessary and useless- but they smell good and look pretty!)
I find it fascinating how aggressive the marketing is aimed at being anything other than your age. Specifically if you’re a woman over 40- that is the target demo. Those are the ones to be convinced that everything about that age is wrong and must be changed immediately or something very bad may happen…. Everything is centered around: reclaiming youth, stopping the aging process, reversing signs of aging, stopping the clock, etc etc etc….
First of all, I believe whatever is going to happen to our skin/hair/nails/teeth is pre-genetically determined and there really isn’t anything we can do about it other than surgery (which I am completely in support of if it makes you feel good).
Secondly- I have no desire to go back in time. I lived through my 20s and 30’s and it was not all that fun all the time. Tight skin or not -there is a lot of emotional shit, angst, debt, insecurity and instability in those ages that I do not miss at all. Those are the years to get to know yourself, experiment, overspend, over-drink, overeat, fuck up, re-do, try out, try again, quit, fail, keep trying and start figuring out what you want your life to really look like.
40 and over is the time to enjoy all that effort – not want to go back there!
“Signs of Aging” seems to be a big catch phrase with advertisers. To sell their creams, lotions, shampoo, sprays, ointments, or whatever. They have pronounced signs of aging to be: fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, thinning hair, dry cracked skin, bags under eyes, crows feet, grey hair, etc etc etc etc etc……
None of that sounds appealing to me, however I believe that it IS GOING TO HAPPEN to all of us- sooner or later and there’s nothing we can do about it. Nothing. Except accept it, and be happy and love yourself and enjoy life.
I think about the phrase signs of aging and to me it means something completely different. To me aging should equal evolving. Hopefully the longer we’re on this earth the more chances we’ve had to evolve into better human beings- inside, not just outside. So I came up with my own signs of aging list. These really can only be achieved by living life for several decades, focusing on what goes on inside as much as what’s going on with your body outside
Here is MY list of signs of aging:
- Confidence – knowing what you want and knowing how to get it: job, parking spot, relationship, car, house, good table at restaurant, etc.
- Going out to eat alone without announcing it like you’ve just found a cure for cancer.
- Same goes for vacationing alone (it is an awesome experience!).
- Knowing how to make money, and hopefully having a pretty good amount of it by this point.
- Not getting caught up or sucked into anyone else’s drama. So boring after awhile. Been there done that, several times.
- Not allowing people to treat you poorly. Speaking up for yourself.
- Treating other people well with no agenda or expectations.
- Knowing exactly what clothes, shoes, lingerie work for you and look great.
- Same with hair color and make-up.
- Not 2nd guessing every single thing you say, do or act upon. Because you know what you believe and you trust yourself.
- Knowing better than to fall for gimmicks, bad personal relationships, or risky financial investments
- Appreciating and knowing the value of: fresh fruit in season, expensive shoes, good bubble-bath, days off, early nights in bed, stretching, great movies, manners, good grammar, style, classic music (any genre), good wine, and a great financial adviser.
- Knowing good books can sometimes be better company than most people.
- Getting out sooner.
- Forgiving faster.
- Moving on faster.
- Opening up faster.
- Being vulnerable but keeping your eyes open.
- Changing what you don’t like rather than complain about it.
- Knowing and asking directly for what you need with no hesitation – a napkin, a raise, a fresh drink, a divorce.
- Knowing how to turn down invitations with finesse and not feel guilty.
- Eating a Goddamn cupcake with a ton of frosting on it if you want it.
- Re-evaluating what is important in life: good weather, amazing friends, healthy relationships with family, your HEALTH, feeling good, dancing, moving, connecting, laughing/crying, breathing, waking up…..really and truly this cannot be done until you realize you’re closer to death than birth!!
Just wanted to share this with you- whether you’re my age or not- I hope you value yourself EXACTLY where you are in your life!!!
Photo by jonrawlinson