Fifty days of B.I.R.T.H.D.A.Y. begin tomorrow! Fifty days of Beauty. Intent. Respect. Thoughtfulness. Happiness. Delight. Attentiveness and (saying) Yes! On February 20, I complete my 50th year. Finish another trip around the sun. Turn 50! It’s a mile stone no matter how much I pretend it’s not. Over this past year I have found myself musing on all sorts of body-, career- and age-related thoughts such as: “I’m almost 50. Can I still wear my hair in pony tails?” or “I figure I have about 20 years for another career – I better get started figuring it out!” and “I feel like I’m invisible right now. Is that for real?” I have also had multiple instances of being the the oldest person in the room. It’s an odd sensation as I am more used to often being one of the youngest in the room…
And then there’s pop media – always problematic in itself. Never a big reader of women’s magazines anyway, they repel me even more with their constant harping on how the best years of life are behind me, even if they’re trying to pretend it’s not: “Living it up after 40!” “How to turn back time in 55 easy steps!” And then there’s casual “age privilege” in the form of phrases in books which reference such gems as “She was a woman in her late 40’s, vestiges of her former beauty still evident,” or the ever popular comment on “fading beauty.” Unfortunately, some of these words have sent me running to the mirror to peer at my own face. Is the vestige of my beauty still evident? Have I faded!?
The endless array of beauty products pushed on older women is depressing in and of itself. “Fight time!” “Look years younger!” “Miracle worker.” “Choose your favorite for the ultimate anti–aging arsenal.” Ugh. (Feminist side thought: Of course, the endless array of beauty products pushed at all women is pretty gross too – that endless message that your natural self is somehow gross and unacceptable and it’s only through the array of products that cover, push up, flatten, enhance etc. make you a “real” woman, i.e. sexy to a man, is a whole ‘nuther topic of discussion! End feminist side thought!)
The great thing about being 50 is that I really don’t give a shit any more. My fore mothers, those brave feminists, did a lot of trail blazing which provided me permission to have my own relationship to being a woman and how I present to the world. I’ve always had my own style, my own approach to loving my beautiful, round, hirsute self and I do not intend to diminish that in my elder years. In fact, I intend to expand it! Rumor has it that 50 is the new 30 or something like that. All I know is that it is another day to celebrate, spread love, receive love and enjoy being alive!
Which brings me to B.I.R.T.H.D.A.Y. and how I will honor the run up to my birthday. For the next 50 days, I will apply the principles of Beauty. Intent. Respect. Thoughtfulness. Happiness. Delight. Attentiveness and (saying) Yes. Through poetry, art, friendship, blogging and whatever other tools present, I am indulging in a celebration of Me, of life, and of honoring this particular mile stone, this particular turning of the year of the wheel.
Won’t you join me?