Being 64 is OK by me, mostly because I look like I am 64. And I look like I am 64 because I am 64. I did not know what 64 looked like until my 64th birthday, so I am not quite sure how I could have avoided being and looking 64. I am. So I do. Period.
‘Wow, you don’t look 64!” said by a much younger woman who looked decades younger.
It was meant to be a compliment, delivered as one, with a smile of encouragement and a hint of surprise. But it still left me a bit jarred.
In our youth-obsessed culture, “looking 64” seems to be an insulting, embarassment-inducing, fear-filled place to be. Yet, I have no idea what I am supposed to do about it.
Plastic surgery? Botox? Lie? Many do. And I have no problem with any of it. Certainly to each his – or her – own, right?
I Have Questions About ‘Working on the Face’
And, here’s more questions I have asked friends who have gone in this direction: You look younger, but do you want to be younger? Are you embarrassed or fearful (or what?) to be your real age?
And the bigger question (or concern) – beyond any decisions that women make, for whatever reason they choose – don’t these efforts to ‘hide age’ reinforce the discrimination against the over-50 crowd, especially women?
Ageism Is Not In Our Imagination
It seems 0ur society is caught in FOGO* – fear of getting old. As the last of the Baby Boomer generation moves into their mid-50’s this year, this fear could drive more than just their botox budgets. This fear could affect financial, social and even marriage (or divorce) decisions.
If it’s not ok to look 64 when you are 64, at what age will it be ok to look 64? When I’m 74? 84? When?
Trust me, reaching 60 was a milestone that I greatly struggled with. After years of upward movement in my career, I was suddenly ‘un-promotable,’ my opinions disrespected or even ignored. My body felt every year of my 60 years. My knees ached, and my doctor insisted on a shingles vaccination ‘at my age.’
I struggled with who I was becoming as I started to consider that I might be….[yikes] old! It was change. And it was fear. And anxiety. And doubt. But it was also wonder, and awe, and a rising sense of immense curiosity.
What was to come of this aging of Diane? What was next? What could be a new reality, a new adventure?
I am 64, but I am not just an age. I am so much more than a number.
Age is only a part of my descriptor, one line in my bio (if any mention at all). It’s not part of my heart or my mind or my quick wit, but yet it is integral to the heart and soul of who I am.
Here’s the big truth: I am who I am today, right now, as a result of being…64. I have no choice in that. It’s built into my being, just as your age is part of who you are.
Age – no matter what your age – isn’t something to be embarrassed about. It’s something to shout out with pride, to applaud and to celebrate!
Why not get your ‘giddy up’ on for this reason alone: You Survived!
* This post is not intended to shed insult or doubt on any who suffer from this actual phobia, FOGO, also known as gerascophobia.