It would be so great if women could just forget about their freakin’ age. If they could stop, for good, judging their self worth and value in anyway by their age. Then they would no longer fear getting older and just live a wonderful, full and joyful life, all the time.
We are infected by ageism, but it isn’t something you notice until you’re on the ‘wrong’ side of 39. When I was approaching 40, everyone around me was talking about this magic number and the BIG DEAL it was. They made jokes about it, and asked me how I felt about it, and when I said I was OK with it, and not bothered at all, they raised their eyebrows and nodded as if to say: “Suuure you are.” Because you can’t turn 40 and not be devastated apparently.
I really wasn’t bothered though. I don’t define myself by my age, or by any other number for that matter, like my weight or dress size. I’m 41. That’s a fact, not a definition.
But many women are bothered by their age. It’s a bothersome, embarrassing, belittling and challenging issue for so many of them, and it’s just such a bloody waste.
We live in a culture that is ageist. While elders are revered in other cultures, here in the West we see ageing as something ugly, shameful and a road trip to uselessness. Especially in women.
As women, we are encouraged to fight the signs of ageing. At every turn we are shown unrealistic images of what we should look like, be like. Advertising is geared towards the 20 and 30-somethings and women are depicted as nothing more than smooth, shiny body parts. It starts even earlier than that though, in childhood. If you haven’t seen the Miss Representation doco trailer, please think about taking the two minutes it takes to watch it. It gives a powerful insight into how society is conditioned through media to see women as nothing but a body and to judge their worth on their appearance.
It’s no wonder that women struggle with age. If we could only just strip away these definitions the media has placed on us, we’d see that we aren’t just this or that. We just are. I’m just me. You are just you. Take away the numbers, and just be.
My age doesn’t matter. What matters is my life. That I feel good about myself, that I am loved and give love, that I have a sense of purpose and that I live my own truth.
We are all going to get older – it sure beats the alternative – and I’m buggered if I want to spend my middle years worrying about no longer being in my 20s and 30s. I had a great time then. I want to have a great time now. I want to enjoy raising my kids who I wouldn’t have been ready for before now. Enjoy my relationship with my husband which is so much more meaningful to me now than it was when it started almost 20 years ago. Appreciate my friendships which have so much more depth to them now. And value my wisdom, because you just can’t have that without age.