One thing I can proudly claim is that I’ve never succumbed to societal brainwashing around aging. Maybe it’s because my I thought my maternal Grandmother was super-cool growing up because she was classy and sophisticated. Maybe it’s because my paternal grandparents were badass farmer-types and when I went out on the tractor with my grandfather once to load the bails of hay, I was mortified that he (at age 88) was able to just grab them and through them on the bed and I had to drag them with my weak ass 20-something arms.
I had good role models to look up to in old people, I guess.
I was also raised by my Dad so there was no talk about hating wrinkles or gray hair. And he was active up until his death and so there was also never talk about aging limiting activity. I also currently have friends who run trail races in their 70s so I have no shortage of role models now.
But I have come to learn that I actually love aging. Every year I find something more liberating about getting older. I finally learned in the last year or two – the importance of boundaries. I think that’s something that aging freed me up to accept. I got so hung up on these weird visions of how my life was supposed to look with certain relationships that I forgot to think about the effect of those relationships in practice. And finally I had the realization: Wait. I’m too old for this constant cycle of drama/pain. I actually have control over this situation and can put a stop to it!
I also am at a good place in terms of my style/fashion/appearance. I see fashion trends come and go and no longer care if I’m “in style” (let’s be honest, I never really did too much) and now just pick and choose the things I want to keep. Like the great Overall Comeback of 2021? I HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THAT! But none of the styles of pants work with the shape of my body or the age of my ass and so I just put on my jeggings from Wal-Mart and move on with my life.
I do – however – love the trend of cropped pants because now I can get a size that goes over my big mid-region and they don’t drag the floor! Huzzah!
I don’t feel like I have to keep up with the latest pop-culture trends to be able to converse with people. I do have kids though who know my taste and will suggest things they think I’ll like, but if I haven’t seen the lastest show or heard the latest music or watched the latest TikTok…I’m okay with that. I stay on ADHDTok and BookTok and leave the rest to the youths.
(Actually…My willpower can not handle TikTok and so I took it off my phone and so I don’t watch ANY of it now. BUT WHEN I DID, I was not in the cool places.)
I just feel like I carried such stress when I was younger about things I have completely liberated myself from now. I give myself much more grace and compassion. I don’t hate my wrinkles and I don’t have a skin care routine, because I don’t mind people knowing how old I am. I definitely don’t mind if they think I’m older because then I can wow them with trendy knowledge about the latest word game.
(You know, because it’s the Youths who are playing Wordle.)
I just think that we should try to start pushing back on the industries that make money off us hating aging just like we pushed back on the industries who make us fear fatness. These industries program us to hate fat bodies and aging faces and then they sell us skin care and diet programs so we can avoid either of the dreaded conditions.
I’m proud that I am only 3 birthdays from 50. I’m looking forward to another big milestone! I’m going to stick to my generic brand cold cream I only remember to put on after I wash my face. I’ll keep falling asleep with my mascara on because I don’t know any other way to live. And I’ll accept my kids will forever mock any attempt I make at using new words/phrases.
Like the title of this post.
2 thoughts on “Aging Vibe Check.”
After the show, Jon Dee came over to me at the bar and thanked me for coming. “You’re gonna love being 50, man,” he said. “Your give-a-shitter just stops working.”
– “John Dee Graham and the Laws of Subtraction,” from the Bitter Southerner (https://bittersoutherner.com/jon-dee-graham-man-of-few-words)
I agree, getting older is really liberating!