So let me tell you a story about a middle-aged woman. She’s nearly 46, and truly ok with being “in her forties.” She looks good for her age, and occasionally she even looks fabulous. She’s three pounds lighter than the day she graduated high school, and she can still keep up with the “youngsters” although more and more frequently, the desire to do so is glaringly absent. She, for the most part, is happy in her skin but some days...well...
Ok, I’m talking about me. I am confessing something of which I'm not terribly proud. I had a “moment” this weekend that bears reflection. Did I overreact? Yep, I absolutely did. But it was a moment where I do believe I learned something fairly significant about myself. Who says you can’t learn something new, even though you’re an “old dog?”
Bill and I usually go out for a bite to eat and a few cocktails on Friday evenings. It’s our time to chill out after a long week, spend some much needed down time together, and maybe hang out with a few friends. As a general rule, I try to don on something besides my “work attire” complete with heels, giant hair, and a smathering of makeup. This week, I pulled out a new sweater I had bought a couple of weeks ago. It is very different from anything else in my closet – a black ribbed little number with half sleeves, white trim and a rhinestone zipper up the front. It is not what you would typically see me in, as it is far more tailored than I usually wear (I’m a ruffles girl) but I loved that it was different. I even put on a red push up bra for extra “oomph.” After setting my hair in hot rollers (my hair was so big it required its own zip code) and slapping on my “sexy face” I surveyed my appearance. Damn I looked pretty hot! Mission accomplished. My insecurity about wearing something just a little “different” disappeared.
We went to the local watering hole with a friend. As I sat across the table from her, I just HAD to go that place…that place I should have never gone. “So, what do you think of my new sweater?” I asked with great enthusiasm. She smiled, “Well, I could never wear it because it would make me look old, but it looks great on you!” Oh...my...God...in an instant I was completely devastated. What did she mean? What was she trying to tell me? Now, I should preface this by telling you she is nearly 8 years younger than I am. I understand that there are things SHE would not wear, but I certainly would, and vice versa. Like I said, I really don’t have a problem with my age. Or do I? Her statement left me feeling vulnerable, insecure and emotionally naked. I took her statement to mean that SHE was far too young for that sweater, but I was old, so it was just fine on me...catastrophe. I should have gone out in a pair of polyester elastic waist pants, orthopaedic shoes, and a shirt with “grandma” printed on the front of it. It would have made me feel just about the same way. I tried to brush the comment off, as I know she meant no harm by it, but all I could think about was running out the door, going home and crawling under the covers to hide. So much for me being sexy and going out on the town. I bet Carrie never said that to Samantha on Sex in the City. Bill and I finished our drinks and left. And I did go home, crawl under the sheets, and cry. I’m pathetic, I know.
The next day I woke up in a funk, but as the day wore on, my funk was replaced with something more hopeful. Bill made it a point to tell me more than once that no matter what ANYONE else thought, to him, I was the most beautiful woman on the planet. And I realized that, at some point, we will all be older. It’s like trying to stop the inevitable. It’s ok to look “good for my age.” Honestly, I don’t want to be in my twenties, or even thirties, again. And for chrissakes, if I look at the photos of myself “back in the day” I look so much better now. Back then, I was too busy trying to look more “sophisticated” which usually made me look far older than I really was. Now, I’m more relaxed about myself, and where I am in my life. It’s all part of the package.
But to my friend, and you know who you are...I love you with ALL my heart, but rest assured, you’ll be getting that sweater, all wrapped up with ribbons, on your 45th birthday. ;o) Time marches on, dragging us along with it, kicking and screaming.