My daughter just had a baby. She was my first baby. My daughter has a son. My son has a daughter. They’re delightful, healthy and wonderful and I’m a delighted and grateful.
I see my two babies grown up and having babies. They are older and, therefore, so am I. Oh, I’ve spent a long time in denial but time can not be denied. Nor should it. But in our society, especially for women, age is seen as something to hide.
Cosmetics, procedures, diets, books, fitness programs are all sold to reverse or stop aging. But, we all know the truth, time marches on whether we like it or not.
I’ve decided to like it.
“Yup”, I said to my granddaughter, “I do have some white hair.” When she asked why, I said that my hair has changed during my life just like I’ve changed. When I was her age, my hair was almost the same color as hers, strawberry blonde. But as I got older, my hair got darker. And now, it’s getting lighter again. And I think the new lighter highlights will make my fair skin and blue eyes look even better.
Nope, I don’t weigh 100 pounds anymore. But now I have muscles that can lift my granddaughter up high, throw clay, handle a 60 pound dog, prune trees, haul heavy grocery bags and do planks. And because I walk a mile or more everyday and do yoga, I can bend and stretch and climb stairs without pain.
Ok, my knee may creak a bit, sometimes I get stiff. And that’s an important message from my body to take time to breathe and stretch. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to waste my time or anyone else’s complaining about it. Age does not give me cart blanc to whine.
We live in a very ageist society. Women and men are expected to work until a certain ‘age’ and retire. Well, guess what? We don’t have to. I have had several women come up to me recently and ‘assume’ I am retired. When I say I am a working artist, they respond with, “Oh, you’re retired with a hobby.” Seriously?
I’ve also decided to change how I see me.
For years, I’ve been in denial of my wrinkles. I’ve refused to see my glasses as a sign of age. But they are there, right before my eyes. So it’s time to see them, and maybe give them some love, instead of hate. They do make it easy and far more comfortable to put all those details that I love into my art.
Maybe it’s also time to see myself through a new lenses of experience as not just a survivor but someone who thrives. Someone who went through pain and heartache and fearful times and lives a good, creative, healthy, loving life.
I’ve also decided instead of waiting for others to like me, I’m going to like myself for a change.
I am still a woman. Smart. Creative. Loving. Capable.
Yes, I’m older.
Yes, I am a working artist NOT a ‘retired’ woman with a ‘hobby’. Seriously?
Yes, I’ve changed.
Now I’ve decided as time marches on, to march with it.