Community Magazine

Embracing My Age

By Thegenaboveme @TheGenAboveMe

Embracing My Age

Photo by brutapesquisa

How much time do I really want to spend at the gym building muscle mass so that I can carry myself throughout the day?  How many products am I going to put on my face to clean, conceal and paint it so that my wrinkles disappear?  How often will I dye my hair in order to hide the gray?  How much will I contort my figure with foundation garments to hide my emerging Michelin Tire Man figure?  How much money will I spend on accessories and manicures to attract attention away from my skin and body and towards my ability to assemble a chic-looking outfit?
But maybe the choice isn’t really about foregrounding youthfulness and hiding signs of decay. Maybe my choice is really between celebrating myself instead of constructing a façade.
I wish for myself the ability to relinquish the ingénue to women a full generation or more younger than I.  Jung describes several archetypes for women, but the three primary ones are maiden, mother and crone.  Because I married in my mid-thirties, I inhabited all three for a brief time.  But at 50, it’s time for me to leave the maiden behind and to inhabit the beauty and joys of the crone, the wise woman.  Trying to paint a maidenly mask on my aging mind, body and spirit produces something awkward and tragi-comical.  I also think it’s very bad for one’s mental health. I wish that I could sit down with Demi Moore and invite her to consider the benefits of embracing her age.
I love women who are comfortable in their aging skin, women who do not compete with much younger women for lustful stares, women who have perspective to offer younger people, woman who are focused on sharing their hard-won wisdom with the greater community, women who understand their weaknesses and know how to manage them in order to maximize their strengths.  I love mature women because the majority of them have been through tragedy and done more than survived; they have learned to flourish and to help others to flourish in the midst of hardships, too.  Why would I want to work so hard to look like my younger self, a person who was often too preoccupied with pleasing others at her own expense?
I’m not giving up and greeting the world with uncombed hair while wearing a potato sack.  It’s just that I’m happier if I try to channel the grace and beauty of a stylish fiftysomething rather than trying to promote an illusion of being 10 or more years younger than I really am.  I have “been there, done that,” and if I express that expertise to others, I find that many afford me respect. I know that it’s difficult for me to take seriously a woman my age trying to dress like a twentysomething. I doubt her maturity and her self-awareness in other areas as well.  I always feel a little sorry for her, watching her trapped in a time machine that has transmogrified her into some oddity—neither in the past nor in the present.   

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