A few years ago, a friend asked me something to which I responded “well it makes you look old”. And she replied “I don’t mind looking old.” Honestly, I was speechless. How could you not mind looking old at 60? It’s so young! (Remember when 60 didn’t sound young? Remember when 32 was really old?)
But I think I’ve got it. Today, mum asked me if I’m going to get my hair coloured before we go to Sicily?
“You can’t do that. Everyone knows you and you’ll look 80.”
“No I won’t. And anyway, at least I won’t look like an old woman trying to look young and failing.”
Yes. I said that to my mother. Not my proudest moment.
But I got it. When she continued, I got it. I don’t have anything to lose anymore. I thought it would be a terrible place to be. To have nothing to lose anymore (ok, except Jeff). When when it comes to vanity, he just doesn’t care so much. And that’s liberating. Knowing that it just doesn’t matter is liberating.
Caring what others think has stopped me from doing so many things, including missing out on school reunions, weddings, baptisms, because I was so ashamed that I’d put on weight, lost it, put it on again. I didn’t engage with the world because I was worried what people would think of my body. What a sad situation.
But I get it now. Either way, people are going to think of me as old. Not old old, but definitely not young. On a scale of young and really old, I’m at the middle stages of old. So whether my hair is grey or my body is smaller really doesn’t matter.
I’ve heard of older women complaining that they feel invisible. And I just think, how wonderful is it to be invisible! To not play the game. It’s not giving up. It’s just not caring what others thing if my double chin or saggy belly. And it’s such a relief.
We all age. I was looking at some old photos, lamenting my looks, my body, my agility. But it’s all part of life. Good looks don’t last, sweethearts. Even Jennifer Aniston, with all her Botox and fillers and professional makeup doesn’t look young anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll rarely leave the house with no makeup. I’m still a woman who grew up in the 70s and 80s. I’m not going all out hippy. But my butterfly wings are a-flappin’.