I saw a gorgeous woman today. She had to be in her 50’s but…she had a gorgeous presence about her. An elegance and wonderful shine to her that wouldn’t quit. Right away I surprised myself by giving into an impulse – to check her left hand for a ring.
It wasn’t just that she was svelte, or that she took such great and obvious care of her physique, her clothing and her hair. I mean, that was all part of the package, but…she had a body language that spoke of confidence, of girlishness without compromise, regret or apology.
I saw all of that within ten seconds. She was on a mission somewhere and so was I. We’ll likely never meet again.
Later on, I saw a comment on a friend’s Facebook wall, written by a stranger: “the only thing worse than someone dressing their age is someone dressing as if they were still the age you want them to be. Look in your closets people! We all grow old…”
What utter shit! There’s so much wrong with that statement, and I don’t mean just the grammar. Basically what that’s telling me, is that when I get to be age 60, I should be prepared to put on a pair of old man’s pants, hike them up to my nipples and therefore be prepared in case of an ad hoc flood or two.
And women should just dye their hair blue, find the most baggy Mrs. Roper outfit they can find, and sit around blinking their Betty Davis eyes in constant surprise. That is, when they’re not out playing bingo with their troll dolls.
Don’t get me wrong – I have an idea of what the guy was talking about. I’ve seen all kinds of people wearing spandex, when they really really really shouldn’t. I just think he took his point about a mile too far.
Someone once said that every time they look in the mirror, they’re shocked. They expect to see a 20-something person looking back at them and can’t understand why a 40-something face is staring at them. No worries, folk – you won’t read me saying something as abhorrent as “you’re only as old as you feel” or “she’s 953 years young”. Nope. You won’t read that here.
The fact is though – in our society we have a tendency to hurry the process. Why does a 31-year old girl feel the need to wear dowdy clothing, and sport a coiffure worthy of Phyllis Diller? It happens. It really does. It’s so disappointing and sad. She obviously feels this is how she should look. Someone fed her a line of bullshit and she scooped it up with a spoon.
I’m convinced it starts when we’re young, when some well-meaning but exasperated parent says “act your age!”. When they say that, we have no point of reference, do we? We hear that and we process it as “act older”. And once we start down that road, we don’t know when to stop. So many of us end up interpreting it as “stop growing, start aging already.”
Prepare yourself. There’s a wide open grave with your name on it. Get ready to jump. Got your will in order? Do you have any money in the bank to leave for the kids? We’re going to give you a warning signal, so that you can get a running start. When I say the word “retirement”, then…GO!!! Run as fast to the cemetary as your wrinkled feet will go. Smell the flowers? FUCK the flowers! That headstone won’t wait forever.
Fellow bloggers and readers, let me tell you something. Indulge me, OK? This won’t take long.
When a friend of mine talked me into taking improvisational comedy courses, she had no idea what it would do to me. Performing in front of others was OK as long as it was scripted. But this wasn’t scripted. We were told to use our imagination. Play. Pretend we were someone else. Build a history, and work within that character to create a scene with one or two or bunch of other people.
“But….what if I don’t have any ideas?”
“Well. Let’s see. Were you ever a kid? I mean, ever in your life – did you at any time arrive at the age of five, seven or nine?”
“Remember what you did back then? Remember how you formed characters and situations and you played them with your friends with all seriousness, as if your character was real? Remember how much fun that was?”
“It’s just like that. Children just let go. They have no social filters. They adopt and drop characters like crazy, just doing whatever comes into their minds. Their main purpose is to have fun. That’s what you have to do. Become a kid again.”
You know what? *smiling* It worked. I mean, sure we – I – looked as goofy as hell. I began not to care though – this was too much fun. I had learned what it meant to be a kid again. And now I can’t shut it off, even if I wanted to. I’ll blurt stuff out in serious meetings sometimes. Others will look at me as if I’ve lost my marbles (and heck – maybe I have). That stunned silence lasts for a few seconds until the laughter starts. Fun. So much fun.
The second thing: my most favourite book ever is a small novel called “Jitterbug Perfume”. I recommend it to anyone and everyone (and have mentioned even here in these blogs at least a couple of times). I don’t know if the author intended this or not, but the book has acted as elixir of youth, not just for me but for countless people who have eyes to read. I’m not spoiling it too much when telling you that the main character – a king named Alobar – makes a decision that he’s not going to age.
It’s a decision anyone can make, when you get right down to it. It flies in the face of science, and more importantly, of tradition. Who said tradition was the be-all and end-all arbiter of our progress anyway? Scientists will tell you that not everything that can be known is known. They do know we only use about 10% of our brains.
So why the rush to the grave anyway? Who do we accommodate when we do this? Not ourselves, certainly, and not our families either. Something to consider.
If I decide I’m going to dress up in wide-cuff bell bottoms, dye my hair purple and green, and put some piercings in my face, just because I want and need to express myself that way, who is anyone to tell me I’m not socially acceptable?
If you decide to do something outlandish, like the 80-year old woman who had never sky-dived and had suddenly decided this was something she needed to do, who is ANYONE to tell her to act her age?
Aging is for lazy wimps. It’s for other people. Not you. Not me.