[Disclaimer: I was sitting in the car at the grocery waiting on the hubs to grab a few items and something sparked me to think about the phrase “Woman of a certain age” I was writing some thoughts in my head. By the time I got home, ate lunch and sat down at the computer I had forgotten exactly what it was that I wanted to say, but I still wanted to say something about the certain age. Also, there are a lot of parenthetical (aside) comments. That is how I sometimes talk. And write, apparently. There is also some slang, and a picture of my hair. You have been warned. Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. I’d be curious what you have to say about the topic.]
When you are of a certain age, and I am of a certain age give or take a few….wait, what is a certain age anyway? Is it forty, fifty, sixty, thirty? Who decides? Or, do we decide for ourselves when it happens for us? I have been using that phrase for a couple of years now and I can tell you that I am not talking about sixty or forty. And, does thirty really count anymore. I mean if fifty-ish (discreet cough) is the new thirty, then what does that make thirty? prepubescent? There is not, of course, in my opinion, a right answer to this question. However, if you want more discourse on the matter, this article from way back in 1995 may prove interesting. Just a note before you read it. I am not French (although when I traced my Paternal tree back it did lead to France) in the sense of how they would use this phrase and I’m not a spinster. But, I believe I may be of a certain age (isn’t everybody, really, when you think about it). A certain age may have crept up another decade by now and maybe I should save the phrase until I’m sixty. But I digress, again.
Once I turned fifty I felt that I was of a certain age. When I turned forty I embraced it and was a little thrilled. It was an age that seemed to be taken seriously, but still felt energetic and it seemed that I had time to conquer the world if I wanted to. I even gave myself birthday gifts during my forties – such as the right to say “no” or the gift of experiencing joy – you get the picture. Those life affirmations that legitimized my adulthood while still celebrating my youthfulness.
Right before I turned fifty, I was still being given the “What? No! You’re not fifty” comment and that was wonderful. (When I was forty-two I was told I looked twenty-eight and when I celebrated turning forty-six, I was told I looked thirty-two – by two different people ) Anywhoo,I looked younger than my age, And so I thought, well fifty probably is the new thirty, so I have time. Then I got pneumonia about six weeks later. And it wiped me out. It almost literally took me out. The road back was long and uphill with twists and turns. My hair started falling out and even though my first thought was one of gratitude for being alive, my second thought was how old I felt and looked. Due to the shape of my hair and my lungs, coloring my hair was not an option for about a year. In fact the year prior I had decided to quit coloring my hair because it was shading in quite nicely and I still looked young for my age. I have never been high maintenance on purpose so this was an easy decision. Until it wasn’t. I’m sorry, I’m starting to sound a little vain and whiny here. Please, forgive me.
After the pneumonia and the first year of attempting to get back on track, I decided that I needed to color my hair. I found a great gal who walked me through it and I have not looked back. I do spend a few minutes every eight weeks or so wondering if it is worth the moola, but I get over it, because: I’m not brave enough to do it myself, I want it done right and I’m worth it. I also don’t want my husband to feel like he is married to a much older woman. Even so, I am already thinking about how soon I can quit coloring and get by with it. I think there does come an age when color is no longer necessary as it doesn’t really say younger. I’ll keep you posted on this thought.
Quite frankly, I still feel really tired much of the time and I seem to have more aches and pains than I did PP (pre-pneumonia – everything in my life now is either pre – or post the pneumonia – hopefully, I’ll get over that soon). But, I can tell that I’m getting back on track and I try not to think of the momentum I may have lost. I even looked in the mirror ( it was in shadowed light, but whatever) the other night and thought “I don’t look too bad for fifty-two.” I am finally starting to feel not so old and like there may be several good years left by the Grace of God. I am slowly but surely realizing that life does not end at fifty and I am embracing the possibility that fifty may in fact be the new thirty, or at least forty-two (I used to think thirty-five was the perfect age to stay, now I think it would probably be forty-two).
My hair cut and color is better than it was at thirty (regardless of what the picture would lead you to believe) and for the most part, my attitude is much better. I am less angry and more forgiving. When I look in the mirror and see the fine lines (yes, they are still fine, except for that one thinking crease on my forehead – non smoker, non sun worshiper) I embrace them a little bit because they mean I have experienced life and built character. And, maybe, just maybe, I’ll wait a few more years before I decide I’m of a certain age.
Aging Gracefully (on non whiny days),
Teresa (Sadie Grace)
More about the name soon.