Oh…there is so much air-time dedicated to the aging process; and primarily how to avoid, retard or turn back same. Additionally, the audience for this information is squarely pointed at us girls; as if men don’t age (and the beautifully packaged conversations about their ‘erectile dysfunction’ hardly (no pun intended) rise to the level of frequency and focus ours do).
Let’s get right to it (because as is pointed out, we’re not getting any younger); let’s address this: how is the aging process manifesting itself in your life? Are you embracing the physical, emotional and cognitive changes, as I am; or are you buying into the fallacies that it can be ‘avoided’ if you just rub this, swallow that or inject the other? Sorry to break it to you – there is only one fool-proof way to avoid aging; how badly do you want it?
But, I do understand that the ‘act’ of aging is indeed different for women as it is for our male counterparts. They are praised and admired for getting more distinguished; while it seems, we simply get old. So, when they take their distinguished-selves seriously and go one step further in their denial and date (and sometimes even marry) someone younger than their second youngest child, it appears as if they have truly succeeded in perpetuating the myth that Father Time has indeed bypassed their doorstep. Conversely, when we…oops, I mean other women engage in similar behavior, we (Freudian slip), they are unfavorably labeled with the title of an (albeit graceful) predator.
It’s trite to even address the uses of hair dyes, face-lifts or Botox treatments; let’s stay with the choice of partners. The cosmetic industry needs no plugs from me. However, dissecting the anatomy of the decision-making process that is employed in choosing, at an advanced age and stage in life, a partner that obviously embodies and signifies youth is fascinating. Think about this: is that decision born simply out of arrogance and ego; an in-your-face symbol that belies your true age and (supposedly) provides proof of your continued prowess? Or, can it be that we, shit, there I go again, I mean they have bought in to at least some of the propaganda and think that co-mingling aging fluids with that of the young is the way to effectively “turn back the hands of time”? The thing is, the latter is partly true. It is undeniable that surrounding ourselves with the youth and young in our lives will help to infuse in us a certain ‘joie de vivre’ – an excitement of and for life that can sometimes be lost as we get up there in years; and that our young possess in spades. This begs the question however, “’surround’ ourselves, how?”
All attempts at being coy aside; because quite frankly, I abhor the waste of time that is – in some circles I have been/may be considered a “cougar”; an animal I quite admire J . I will say that, unlike some other women bearing a similar title and most men, my being with my partner required no other criteria but love and respect; he was not my attempt to deny my age or foolishly reinstate my youth. I saw in him in many of the ways that mattered, a man that was in actions, experienced beyond what his birth certificate may have documented; while I am, in many of the ways that (sometimes don’t) matter, many years younger than my certificate of birth says.
But the thing about age is this – no matter how one may try to color it away, smooth it out, pull, nip and tuck it, there are simply those instances and realities to life that rear their heads and force you to confront the truth in the numbers – those circumstances that may force one to consider that, like all trophies, the one that you carry on your arm should similarly be kept at home, dusted, even stroked, but never should be displayed in such a way that the sight of same be considered ‘tacky’. In picking a partner that others may consider too young for you, forget all the noise and consider this: is this for sport or not? You see, I think the only time age matters is when considering realities like children; either the ones each of you already have or the eventual desire by one of the partners for same.
Let me wrap this up. Like many things in life, aging has to be a well thought out process. If we’re truly lucky, we get to do it. If not…well, then it matters not; does it? We can decide to do it with style and grace; or, we can elect to make it the frivolous beginning of the end. But make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, ‘aging’ needs to be man-aged. There needs to be a plan. Here’s my plan: I will write my own story. I will live the experiences that I am fortunate enough to have. I will choose my partners because of the song they sing to my soul; not because they help distract from the fact that I am fortunate enough to be getting older. I am neither coloring grays nor tucking shit! I will wear what looks great on me; but always keep it classy. I will laugh, laugh, laugh, laugh and dance often. I will jump up and down and clap. I will continue to get excited by new experiences and old memories. I will put no limits on myself – professionally, educationally or personally. I will grin. For me, the best ‘antidote’ to the aging process? Be too busy living and loving my life!