As I hit “record” and saw my face pop up on my phone screen I found myself wanting to hit the delete button (again) and wishing that I’d gotten into Instagram video ten years ago.
Not because of the thought that I could have amassed a significantly larger number of followers or because of where I might be in business right now if I had.
But because I would have been ten years younger.
Actually, let’s change that to: I would have looked ten years younger.
Here I am, approaching the age of 52 and whenever I attempt an Instagram video and my face appears on the screen, thoughts of “do I really have anything worthwhile to share?” are frequently overshadowed by a single exclamation:
“How did I get so old?!”
And who knows, the two thoughts are probably inextricably intertwined.
Because I (and you, and all of us) are continually reminded that our value is tied to our age.
Most of us spend our teens, 20s, and 30s feeling insecure about how we look. We’re too tall, too short. Our breasts are too big or too small. We’re too skinny, too fat. We’ve carried a child and have stretch marks.
You’d think that by the time we hit 40 and above, we, and the rest of society would cut us, and our bodies, some slack. You’d think…
It is hugely disempowering to age in our culture. At least, it is for women. And as my next birthday inches closer, I can’t help but feel that ageing — in many ways — totally sucks.
There’s the physical stuff, of course. But what really stings, is the pervasive messaging that ageing is something we have to fight, something we need to stave off, for as long as we possibly can. It’s something to be ashamed of, something to hide. And, I’ve absolutely participated in all of that.
On the surface level, there’s the onslaught of anti-ageing lotions, potions, vitamins, and surgical procedures.
At the very deepest, most sinister level there’s the all-too-common belief that COVID is not to be feared (or fought!) because it only comes for the over 50s.
Disrespect, even disdain, for mature women is a wound that runs deep in our culture.
And it’s a wound that I want to attempt to heal.
How to go about it? I’m not sure. I’m still unpacking it all in my own mind. The first step is typing out loud the conversation going on in my head.
But here’s what I do know:
We need to start the conversation.
We need to stop finding euphemisms for the words “ageing” and “old”. We need to reclaim these words and imbue them with the positive power they deserve.
We need to focus on the many reasons for which we should be delighted by our ageing.
We need to embrace the wisdom, the sexiness, and the confidence that only comes with years of lived experience.
We need to step up as wise women sages and learn how to be powerful advocates for the younger generations.
And we need to remember, acknowledge, and positively revel in the fact that we are still so valuable, that we are still so needed, in myriad ways.
So let’s start the healing by starting the conversation…
Find out more at howYOUheal.com, or get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org