For those of you who know me, you know that I never complain about my age. I have always said that you’re only as old as you act and as long as you continue to do the things you love and keep yourself in the condition you’ve always been in… age shouldn’t matter. I guess it helps that for most of my life people have always thought I was much younger than I am. I remember trying on dresses for my bridesmaids to wear for my wedding and the sales people in the store thought I was buying a prom dress. And for a very long time I was always carded at bars. In work situations, I used to make a point of telling people how old I was so that they’d take me seriously. Having them think I was 10 years younger than I was was not a good thing when I was making a presentation. Sadly, however, this has not happened in a very long time. And there is no longer a look of surprise in a person’s eye when I tell them my age. I still hope when I tell people that I have 2 kids they’ll say, “YOU have 2 kids? You look way too young to have 2 kids”! I guess my drab complexion, exhausted bags under my eyes and lack of sparkle in my eye on most days give away my true identity as tired mother of two.
But I still refuse to give in to the fact that I’m “going on” or “nearing” or “on my way to” 40. I’ve recently posted that I’ve rekindled my love for tennis and joined a tennis league. That was going fabulously until I injured my hip muscle so drastically that I had to meekly call and bow out this week. I mean really, how out of shape was I to pull a muscle so badly that I couldn’t walk up the stairs? It was a smack of reality… my body is just not what it used to be. And it is so depressing! I want to be that mom (and grandma!) who does cartwheels in the park with my daughter. The one who can still do a backbend, plays paddle ball on the beach, body surfs in the waves, skis black diamond slopes, doesn’t scream when the ball is coming toward me in a game of family baseball, jumps off the cliff at the quarry (ok – that one I’d never do…). I want to be the fun, cool mom who PLAYS… doesn’t sit on the sidelines and watch. But this pulled muscle scared me.
I also read an article in the NYT Style section yesterday about women dressing their age. It pretty much said, after age 50 women really shouldn’t try to dress with the times. WHAT? 50?50 is the new 40! They had a picture of Madonna at some Costume Gala wearing well, what looked like a costume. But supposedly if she had been in her 30’s or maybe even 40’s this micro-mini bubble skirt, thigh high boots and taffeta hair bow that looked like bunny ears, would have been a suitable outfit. But since she is now 50… it was a no-go. So what is a fashionista lady in her 50’s to do? Succumb to the pressures of middle-age, and just all of a sudden only enjoy fashion through window shopping and glossy magazines? Is Ann Taylor now where she is regaled to shop? Where are the rules for the 50-60 year old cool mom/grandma? I had always thought that as long as you still looked good in the fashionable clothing, you could still wear whatever you want. I am not about to tell my 64 year old mother to stop shopping at Anthropologie because the clothes are too chic for her. She looks good in the embellished T-shirts, tunic dresses and cropped pants. I can’t tell her she now can only wear slacks and Oxfords. I think we inherently know what is not appropriate for our age. I know that wearing a short jeans mini skirt with Ugg boots in the dead of summer (or winter for that matter) would warrant some disapproving looks from my peers as well as the Gen-Yers. I know I should not wear a T shirt that says “Whatevs” on it or wear jeans that show my butt-crack when I crouch down. But I think I’m still ok wearing a baby doll dress and converse low tops. No? If the answer is no, I really don’t want to hear it. Because as soon as someone tells me I’m OLD, I will start acting OLD and that will not be good for anyone.