My 50th was a birthday to remember.... 80 of my friends celebrated with me, and we had a "Wear the glitter, girls" evening. Nothing quiet and understated, you understand. My friends gave me a scroll saw. How perfect is that. I had wanted one for ever! We dressed up, and the men were in DJs, and the evening was just perfect. Music, food and all. I may be posting about aging for the next 2 weeks. So much to say! That is what happens .... you get verbal diorrhea as you get older.
When I was a student, my friend and I decided that we would take good care of our skin, because we didn't want to turn 40 and regret not using the moisturisers etc, and so I have always worn makeup, but not a lot. As long as I look ok when I go out, I am fine. I will never be really glamorous or gorgeous, but I am definitely ok. Ok is good enough for me. I have no idea whether it has made a difference, but at least we tried! I was just 21 when I got married, back then in the dark ages.
You know, if I want to do something, I never stop to think that "at my age" I should do x, y or z. If I want to wear jeans I do. If I want long hair, I grow it. If I want to go in a hot air balloon, I will go. I don't see age as a restriction, rather as a license to try anything.
At 52, I feel as though I am in my 30s, I suppose. I never think about the actual figures at all. I enjoy young people. No.... I just enjoy all people, whether young or old. I love kids. I like talking to people. I like meeting people. I am not sure if I have ever let "what people might think" govern my actions. If it is right and good then I do it. I will dance with the babes in the street. I will crawl into a playhouse (providing there is no camera to capture my posterior for posterity), and I will go to gym and look like the bride of Frankenstein, without worry. I remember when we joined the gym a few years back, my friends and I informed the 16 (it seemed) year old trainer that we wanted to look like Geri Halliwell in 2 weeks. He looked at us and told us he could see we would be trouble. We also suggested that anyone wearing lycra should only be allowed in at restricted times so we would not get too depressed. Youth does not intimidate me, nor do I long to recapture it.
I am lucky. I am fit and healthy, and strong, and I love being active. My bone density is very good. And I was very very lucky to breeze through the menopause with no signs at all. Not one. It can happen. Hair? Highlights are essential, but I do like the idea that grey hairs are "stress highlights". I can go with that. Aging means you will definitely be an expert on stress. It is part of life.
I think the secret to aging with grace is to have a sense of humour, an ability to laugh at yourself, a willingness to keep learning and a zest for life and all the living left to do. I have a "to do" list of things I want to do before I die. It grows by the year. Places to see, things to learn and do, stuff to make, experiences to have. I have dreams and ambitions and hopes. There is always something to be thankful for. If you take the time to learn from the young too, (like I have to every day at work and here at home with technology) you can be a part of today's world. That is why some of us are here today posting. The younger ones showed us how to do it, and look what we gained!
Don't get me wrong, things do get a little creaky now and then. Things sag and bag, and that is not exactly wonderful, although I have never thought plastic surgery a necessity. I have considered the possibility of pulling the skin on the top of my head up and tying it in a bow, to "lift" everything, but alas it is anatomically impossible.
There is the fact that you have to deal with death and empty nests, and I absolutely refuse to sit here and be a victim. I have said many times that I raised my kids to fly, and so they have. Make no mistake, I love them all to distraction, but I am not a clingy Mum, nor do I want to live through my kids. They are all part of me, and I am part of them too, but they have lives to lead and adventures to have, and memories to make of their own. So do I. My oldest son will be 30 soon. My daughter is 26 and my baby is 18 soon. How did that happen? Where did the years go? I can tell you where..... I have the photos and memories right here. It has been a crazy ride.
I am a colonial in spirit, I suppose. I am not hidebound by convention, and I see life as a wonderful gift. Who knows how long any of us have? I want to be like my Mum, who went off in leathers on the back of a trike for a ride on her 80th birthday. My Gran was skip of her bowls club at 89. Age is a state of mind. Some of my friends are my children's age. Some are a decade or so older than me. It doesn't matter at all. I certainly don't see age as a barrier to anything.
We are each unique. Our DNA, our fingerprints and possibly footprints and other prints are ours alone. Unique. Special. We, as women, are too. Shaped by the lives we have led, and experiences we have been through. As the years pass, discernment grows, and the things that really matter sharpen in our minds. They do not rely on being a reflection of the images we see in magazines, or impossible models of perfection. It becomes clear that it is the flaws that make us human and real, and that that is exactly what the essence of life is all about.
So...in this skin..... yes.
It fits just fine. It is comfortable. It is not perfect, but it will do. It has come a long way with the rest of me. It has seen places and things. It has felt the extremes of weather. It has felt the touch of babies and the people who matter to me. It has flaws. It bears the scars of 52 years of life. It has felt tears of laughter and of sadness. It has been stretched by my children, and it has an interesting story to tell. It fits.
I am comfortable in it. I belong in it. I am thankful.