What’s wrong with looking my age? My fictional character, Maria asks her friend Josephine.
Well, what is wrong with looking your age? Or better still, is there anything wrong with looking your age? Or more importantly is there anything wrong with not acting your age?
By the time a woman is over fifty she has spent years developing herself, laughing, working, building a business, getting a degree, raising a family . . . and then people begin to treat her, well, differently because she’s getting older.
It happens slowly. Maybe a younger woman in the office makes an out–of-place comment about your hairstyle or, heaven forbid, your lip gloss, which evidently isn’t cool to wear anymore.
It happens discretely. You didn’t know that sick meant you weren’t really sick but that something was actually good and that that saying actually went out years ago.
We must find our way as those around us begin to edge their way into encouraging us with speech that suddenly resembles an inspirational card from a stationer’s shop ‘love’. Or you find a send this to twenty of your friends email in your in box when you ‘re having a down day that says: Life isn’t about finding yourself . . . hang on, what? But I’ve just spent over fifty years doing just that!
Or another one that says: if you want something you’ve got to get out there and do it – get out there? Haven’t I just shown you with my entire life that I’ve done that already?
Where are the inspirational messages for the wise? There are none, because only the wise have already done everything every inspirational card or email could ever tell them to do.
My cat is probably about one hundred in human terms and she doesn’t care how she looks. She gets on with life as if she’s still only about fifty, all fluffed up and confident that she will be loved regardless, in fact, more because she’s getting older.
When I first sat down to structure my fiction novel, When Life Walks On Bare Soles I wanted to take my readers on a little walk into the world of a woman who is just realizing that she is leaving behind a world where she has grown and developed and finally matured but which is now seeing her through different eyes, eyes that are less than loving.
So how do we adapt in a world where often love doesn’t increase as you age, but in fact decreases or slowly turns into patronizing attempts to humor you? How do we get used to the idea that most people, except ourselves, are seeing us differently? It’s a difficult question and one which I can’t begin to answer. I look to those who have gone before me, those who have held their heads high and become stronger as the process of time chases them down. I look to have the wisdom that others before me have and to educate those behind me that it is in wisdom in which you find youthfulness not in a bottle or keeping up with fashion.
So really is there anything wrong with looking our age? My cat says no. And my guess is that the only thing wrong with it is in the eye and heart of the beholder.
Christina Debi is the author of When Life Walks On Bare Soles
It’s about writing. Of course. But isn’t it also about Life? It’s always about Life