As mothers, we unquestioningly, vociferously agree with the popular chorus quick to condemn the prejudicial inaccuracy of antiquated clichés like “throw like a girl.”
As women, we clamor to reinforce the validity of Dove ad campaigns and other feel-good types who encourage us to revel in our varied body types. “Every body is beautiful.”
Yet when it comes to aging into the next decade, rather than rejoice with the pomp and circumstance due a graduate who’s earned ten valuable years of life experience (2.5 times the duration needed to acquire a four-year-college degree), we cower and complain. We cry. We resign ourselves to statuses of “Over the Hill” and “Mature.” If we celebrate at all, it’s with black crepe paper streamers and tombstone balloons sounding the alarm, “Lordy, Lordy, look who’s forty,” or the equally uplifting, “Face it, you’re fifty.”
Pervasive feminist societal messaging curiously mandates we take pride in our too frequently unexercised, shabbily nourished bodies, but somehow our chronological age merits rationales…excuses...the omission of our birth year on Facebook. Age shame to the magnitude that women are reduced to lying…or worse, endorsing without hesitation another archaic cliché, “Never ask a woman her age.”
Well-meaning friends jovially offer the thinly veiled, maybe-this-will-make-the-oldster-feel-more-viable, declarative phrases like “Thirty is the new twenty.” “Forty is the new thirty, “ and as I heard---with unquestioned good intention---yesterday, “Fifty is the new forty.”
Now, employing a cliché to my own advantage: Respect your elders.
The next time you feel compelled to compliment me, or one of my senior sistren with a sincere, “You look good for your age!” please don’t!
Tell us we ooze happiness. Contentment. Life experience-earned wisdom paired well-collected common sense. Heckfire, tell us you’re impressed by the depth of our smile lines…we worked for ‘em!
Face fifty? No, thank you. Embrace fifty? Absolutely!