I just got More magazine delivered (a dear friend got me a subscription - print! how quaint!). On the cover is Holly Hunter, one of my favorite actresses, with the screaming headline "51." What? I had no idea she and I are so close in age. Of course on the cover, she looks fabulous! Doesn't look 50 at all. She looks something much less than 50! Of course, in my mind's eye, so do I. But when I see her on this cover and bring up my mental image of myself, I realize that apparently, I am the new 50. So instead of thinking of myself as something less than the dreaded 50, because I certainly don't look 50 and don't act anything like 50...maybe I need to redefine what 50 is.
Blooming in Midlife (I link to it in my blogroll) is one of my favorite writers and she wrote a very similar post a while back. I just didn't get it then. Now I have my own context, and I get it very clearly. I don't need to be 30, I just need to have the world redefine 50, starting with me!
I went to a bar on Saturday night for a quick pop-in. I was with a 30-something girlfriend who was visiting from out of town. I wasn't dressed, my hair looked like crap, and we just wanted a beer to refresh ourselves. She also was not dressed up, her hair looked like crap, and - you've probably guessed the rest. Bees to the honey as they say - every young guy in a 10 foot radius tried to start up a conversation with her. Not so with me. But, I've been to this bar before and had guys strike up conversations - older guys. So I know I am capable of attracting would be conversationalists! But the bar was filled with younger guys this night. And it became quite apparent to me that my 50 is not the new 30, but is 50. But the difference between my idea of 50 and the conventional idea of 50 is that I did not look out of place in this bar and I was very comfortable being there. I don't think anyone thought I was too old to be there or too old to be hanging out on a Saturday night. But they didn't mistake me for my 30ish friend either.
So ladies - 50 and over (and those who see it coming up fast on your horizon) - be 50 as YOU define it. Don't compromise, don't settle, live life as you wish, and have fun. We are fabulous. We just aren't 30.