Sunday, July 11, 2010

Getting older

Certain birthdays are supposed to be wonderful. When you're 10, you're finally into those double digits. 16, you can drive. 18, you're an adult. 21, you can drink. After that, they're supposed to turn traumatic for awhile. 30, you're not really young anymore. 40, are you really middle aged? 50, how the fuck did this happen? You're half a century old, and the AARP is sending you membership cards in the mail. My older friends have taken 60 and 70 in stride, and 80 seems to be greeted with some pride. My father quit being 39 and finally announced his age then, and he had been 39 since before I was born.

After hitting the half century mark a couple of weeks ago, I've thought about aging quite a bit. Ending my forties actually came as a relief. They were the absolute worst decade of my life, and I've had this niggling hope that maybe all the drama, grief and trauma will ease up for awhile. If not, I've got a much better idea of just what I can handle. Coming through the illnesses and losses and remaining somewhat intact has actually given me a greater sense of self-respect.

What to do next and how to do it with the available resources are still the big questions, and I confess the answers are slow in coming. One of the things I don't like about aging is building the energy I need to do everything also takes more time, and the deadlines seem much shorter than they used to. I don't care too much for the aching joints, the deteriorating vision, and the little memory slippages. (Dang it, I left my glasses in the living room!) The self consciousness at job interviews when I'm the oldest one there, including the interviewer, isn't too much fun either. Everything has a downside.

Simple feminine vanity has actually been a comfort at turning 50. I've heard this quote attributed to people as varied as Abraham Lincoln, Gloria Steinem, George Orwell and Coco Chanel, and it makes me feel good. "
Nature gives you the face you have at twenty. Life shapes the face you have at thirty. But at fifty you get the face you deserve." Granted, I now spend more time preparing my face to be naked at bed time than I used to spend on my daily makeup. Being able to look myself in the face, know every flaw and still feel good may have only come because I have aged. That may be worth the AARP card.


4 Comments:

Blogger redsneakz said...

A friend's son said a wonderful thing to her: "Mom, makeup just covers the beautiful."

That's as true at 50 as at 30. Happy birthday!

July 12, 2010 9:40 AM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

I've been not too happy with my face lately. But then, I have five years on you. I DO notice, however, that when I smile, the saggy cheeks disappear...

July 12, 2010 10:05 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Well,I'm going to hope that 48-58 is the worst decade of my life. (Still have some time to go before it ends, but I suppose the year ahead is still going to be a tough one.) Oddly, it has some of the best things in it, too.

Basically, I just think we are amazing women. Who knew this strength was lurking anywhere?

July 12, 2010 1:58 PM  
Blogger ~JW~ said...

Happy Birthday Cynthia!

50 is the new 40 when it comes to appearance and judging by your Facebook photo, anyone would be hard pressed to guess your true age. So relish the graces and comfort turning 50 brings but still enjoy the delight of looking so fantastic and youthful.

~Jul

July 12, 2010 6:11 PM  

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