I wrote this in the fall of 2011. I still feel this way. I’m 43 now. I’m proud of every little age spot. Change the ages and I’m still saying, “Head up high, but maybe put a hat on. And wear sunscreen.”
This is what 43 looks like:
I always hear about women fibbing about how old they are, as if being older is something to be ashamed of. We all know that we live in a culture where youth is valued, coveted and held up as an ideal.
Screw the ideal. If I lied about how old I was, I would be erasing all the good stuff. I would be pretending that all the stuff that has mattered to me in the last handful of years doesn’t matter. I would render my tribulations – my strength builders – useless.
Why the HELL would I do that? I earned every single one of my years. I wear them with pride. And strange little skin discolorations on my face from fake-n-baking in the 80’s, sure, but with PRIDE, dammit. I wouldn’t trade those years in on a younger me. I might consider trading my feet in on younger me feet, because pinchy shoes have just done a number on my digits, but the overall package? No way. I like me. I like who I’ve become. Saggy boobs and all. I earned the saggy boobs from keeping two human beings alive.
Every line, every weird spot that screams, “Use sunscreen!” belongs to me. I hold my head up and wear it with a smile. And a little mascara. Also? Lip gloss. My lips get really dry.
When I’m old, which I hope is inevitable, I want stories. I want to be able to say, “this line on my face came from that time when __________.” I want grandkids at my feet, rapt with attention, listening to my wrinkles. I don’t want to say, “Honey, when you call me Grandma it makes me feel so OLD, call me something else.” I want to say, “I’m GRANDMA. Yep. That’s right. Grand-to-the-Ma.”
And I’ll make sure I tell them to wear some dang sunscreen.