My grandmother Anya lied about her age.
Well, not exactly lied. She just conveniently subtracted a year or two. (Every year or two.)
Trust me, I’ve been tempted to do the same.
But I feel even worse about lying than I do about having just turned s-s-s-sixty.
(Wow, I just blasted that all over cyberspace.)
As any woman who’s getting older will tell you, it isn’t easy aging in our culture.
(Especially when most of the models in “women’s magazines” are actually teenagers.)
I remember when I turned fifty at my big fat advertising job, a friend whispered “don’t tell anyone.” Although I didn’t follow the advice, I knew where that comment was coming from.
The ad biz, like much of our youth-obsessed culture, can make you feel like there’s an expiration date stamped on your forehead.
But it wasn’t always like that.
Thousands of years ago, the elders in the tribe were actually revered for their wisdom and their experience.
They were the Medicine Women and the High Priestesses.
Today, they’re called “hags” and “crones.”
Yet, isn’t it ironic that the word “hag” actually comes from “haggia” meaning “holy.” And “crone” is derived from the word “crown.”
Many women today talk about feeling “invisible” as they age. But I wonder if that’s because we don’t really see our own value.
We survey our sagging this and wrinkled that, but overlook the gifts of our experience.
We’re so busy comparing ourselves to cover girls, movie stars and younger versions of “Us” that we miss the miracle of Who We Are.
Right here. Right now.
If I don’t think about “the number” of this particular birthday, I’d have to say that I’ve never felt younger or more full of life and possibilities.
And you’ve gotta admit that I’ve turned sixty this year in some pretty great company—-including a couple of “hags” named Oprah and Christie Brinkley.
Oh, now Edna, the cruel critic who lives in my brain, is snidely saying “Well, you’re no Oprah or Christie.”
That’s right, Edna. I’m ME.
And that’s something I intend to celebrate this year. And for all the years to come.
In my opinion, even the best anti-aging product isn’t half as effective as a pro-aging attitude.
Here are a few tips for developing yours:
Count your blessings. Not your candles.
Of course, it’s easy to say “it’s just a number” until you hit 40, 50 , 60 or whatever. ” Once you get past the freaking out stage, try re-training your brain to count the many gifts that come with age.
Like freedom from the collective “Should.” It’s liberating to finally value what You are feeling more than what They are wearing, thinking or doing.
(I never really knew who They were. But I sure gave them a lot of power of my life.)
It’s easy to look in the mirror and focus on what we’ve lost. But if you take the time to look within, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve gained.
(And I’m not talking about those five pounds either.)
When I was a kid, there were all these ridiculous rules. Like you weren’t “supposed to” wear white after Labor Day. And women of a certain age were “supposed to” cut off their hair and wear sensible shoes.
At 59, I got my first tattoo (right along side my18 year old son.)
And last month, I started a Tantric Dance Class. It happens to be my first dance class since childhood when I was branded a “klutz.” (See, It’s never too late to heal those childhood wounds.)
The truth is, I’ve met dowdy 20 year olds and exuberant 90 year olds.
It’s up to us.
If we don’t want to fade into the background, let’s put the pursuit of joy into the foreground.
(I’m plotting my next age-inappropriate action as we speak. What about you?)
Be a dragonfly.
Did you know that dragonflies spend most of their lives crawling around the bottom of a pond?
After being stuck in the muck for years, something propels them to climb up onto a reed or a stem. And there, in the sunlight, their wings magically unfurl.
As the “flight instructor” for the Dragonfly Movement, I hope that my new website will propel you to get unstuck from your muck and support you in unfurling your wings.
Come fly with me.
It’s never too late to become ageless. And cageless.
How do you feel about the age-old issue of age? We’d love to hear any wisdom, insights or thoughts that are bubbling up for you. Just wing it below
Wendi, what a great post. As I have lost some weight, I have learned to embrace the sagging skin and additional wrinkles as signs of my success, rather than ugliness.
So this one really spoke to me. Thank you!!
Thanks, Jane. Yes, it’s all in how we look at things, isn’t it? Big hugs and congratulations to you and your soaring success.
Your Holy Crown
Is shining Bright and Beautiful
Thank You for all the fun and Wisdom in your Words .
Really moves me and makes me Happy.
Tattoo ? OY VeY !
Now you can’t be buried in a Jewish Cemetary 🙁
Is the tat A Dragon Fly? ~ : ~
Where I did you put it?
Funny, I always thought I was
Older then you:))
You are so funny, Richie. We are both very young at heart Pisces—numbers/schmumbers! Yes, the dragonfly tat is on my ankle. It was quite a ceremonious day. Landon and I made a pilgrimage to Hisperia (way the hell out there) for our first tattoos. He got “Veritas” on his forearm and has since gotten a few more. When I felt that pain, I decided one was more than enough.Btw, I never wanted to be buried in a Jewish cemetery anyway! Sending big hugs and much love,
Such a great post! I enjoy all of your wisdom and all of your colorful fun, as well.
Thanks, Onna. I am committed to aging colorfully!
Wendi – your posts are delightful and I especially love your creative word-workings, like cageless ageless. I am 64, in perfect health, doing work I love, living in a place I love and feeling better than I probably ever did, especially in my corporate working life. Best of all, I have finally overcome
the self-consciousness I carried for so many years because of every little physical imperfection.
This is inspiring for all of us to hear, Candace. You are a beautiful role model for all of us. So often we don’t see what we happen until later. But I applaud you, for naming and claiming your gifts right now. Here’s to your beautiful flight.
i knew i had a girl crush on you the moment i found you out there flying around!
i am 67 and sista, i’m looking good, feeling fab, love what i do. And i can do a lot more now that i am “invisable!” I am totally on your page with aging and as you know – as fellow Goddesses we are ageless and timeless…So there you have it.
great blog, great words, congrats on the tat…
Dear Kate, You are definitely my kind of “dragonfly goddess.” I feel like you have many fascinating stories to tell. I’m happy we’re on this journey together….Thank you for your soaring support.
I’m enjoying the unrequested honors of being called the wise one, the patriarch, the Icon. Don’t they know I’m the same happy go lucky 29 year old kid I always was? What a gift this aging thing is!
I loved this so much Wendi. You always teach me something truly important in your blog.
Happy Birthday youngster! I am heading toward 65 in just a couple of weeks! It is scary but I really think I’m going to like it.
Thank you always,
Thank you for such an inspiring post.
Great to hear from you again. There you were, amidst all the muck in my inbox. I swear at least 2/3 of what I receive there is junk.
Looking forward to following your new flight.
I agree that this culture is waaaaay too youth focused. Why even celebrate youth which young people have BECAUSE they are young – it’s not something they aspire too, work hard for and attain. It’s who they are by virtue of youth. And eventually they also will move away from youth and hopefully they did something good for the environment or helped in some other way.
I forget who said it but I love ‘What others think of me is none of my business’ – be who you are. I’m more me than since I was younger than 20 – it’s like I’ve ‘come back to me’ and I celebrate it.
Loved the term “invisable!” – I’ll remember that, should I ever feel invisible 🙂