All posts tagged: Age

Every Woman’s Reward: Becoming That Mean Old Lady

 I’ll admit it. As the years go by, I seem to be getting meaner. If I gave a damn, this would be a troubling development. I was born on March 20, the vernal equinox, the first day of spring when everything’s coming up daisies. As a Pisces, I spent most of my life a brooding but compassionate dreamer, friend of the underdog, empathic helper. But March 20 is also on the cusp of Aries, the bullheaded, competitive, pull-no-punches sign. That makes me an astrological Dr. Jekyll, Ms. Hyde. So, I’m not surprised that in my second act, I’ve gone from friendly fish to full-tilt ram. What worries me is that my prickliness may not be written in the stars so much as imprinted on my genes. I don’t aspire to be an old shrew, but when I look at some of the women in my family, I wonder if it can be avoided.  I’m far more prone to hang up on someone, claim space for myself, cut off ridiculous prattle, even threaten court action when …

Why We #SayOurAge

A little while back I wrote an op-ed for a German newspaper. I was on the phone with the editor, going over the final draft, when he said to me, “Now, I have to ask you something, and I want to apologize in advance. I would never normally ask you this, but unfortunately our newspaper insists. It is standard policy and so please forgive me…” He was so embarrassed and stumbling and apologetic that I got rather worried and was thinking, my God, what on earth is he about to put me through? – and he finished with, “How old are you?” I was so taken aback I burst out laughing. I said, good grief, I have no problem telling you that at all – I’m 58.  I don’t have a problem saying my age. But society does.  I recently went into a store to buy a birthday card for a friend. I came out empty-handed – because every single card I looked at was ageist. Other than the overly serious affectionate birthday greetings, which …

Why I’ve Aged Out of Embarrassment

Lately, I’ve grown increasingly pissy about this aging thing. Frankly, I can’t find much to like about getting older. My back aches, my hips are tight, I sleep too little and eat too much. My skin is dry, my hair is gray and I can’t see a thing without a pair of reading glasses, which I can never find. But there’s one aspect of aging that I’ve happily embraced: Almost nothing embarrasses me anymore. For most of my life, I’ve been hyper-conscious of drawing unwanted attention to myself by performing poorly. I cringed over every perceived shortcoming, constantly comparing myself to others. Somebody was always better at something. Well, that will always be true, but the difference now is I care a lot less. At this point, my heroes aren’t necessarily the best or brightest. My role model is Popeye who proudly proclaimed, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” This doesn’t mean I no longer give a hoot about trying to be a better me; I’ve simply become more accepting …

Why I Want to Live Like I’m 40 In My 20s

My best friend and I are both named Ashley, we’re both 28 years old (born 12 days apart) and we both have brown eyes. That is pretty much where our similarities end. She loves animal print, high heels, Channing Tatum and holding onto the hope that she looks this young (or younger) forever. I love tartan, converse and Idris Elba. I also love aging. In my mind, every year of my life is an opportunity to learn more about who I am and what I want from this life. It also gets me closer to the age I’ve always wanted to be…40. I’ll be honest, watching the years tick by, another scratch on the wall, hasn’t always been a source of pleasure for me. When I entered college, I assumed I would graduate in four years just like I was supposed to, the way we all were supposed to. Being the control-freak I am, I’d studied my course catalog all summer, drawing my own charts until I was satisfied that I had a fool-proof plan …

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My Body F-ing Rocks

One of the great things about getting older (I am 39 this year) is a better understanding of what you need for a life that is meaningful, purposeful and satisfying. The problem is, we live in a youth-obsessed culture. You can’t be online for more than three seconds without being bombarded by images of young, invariably thin women frolicking on a beach somewhere or exercising gleefully with perfect hair, nails and skin gleaming in the sunshine. How can anyone keep up with that? Forget anyone; how can you and your ever-changing (and ever-aging) body keep up with that? We can’t. I can’t. So rather than wasting more energy lamenting it – as I did in my 20s and 30s – I am letting go and remembering something really cool: My body rocks. When I say that I have an ass that doesn’t quit, I literally mean it: I have an ass that doesn’t quit. I am a biologist. I spent years and years getting my PhD and, while I will spare you my dissertation, the …

Seeking “Irresistible Grace” in My 50s

(Graphic by Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight) Age is transforming me into a graceless buffoon. Case in point: I’m cooking a giant pot of soup. Tonight, it’s kale and beans, made with the leftover bones of a rotisserie chicken from a few nights previous. (I call it “Free Chicken Soup” — buy a chicken, get the soup for freeeee!) My cell rings, the dog barks, my son stomps by grudgingly on his way to practice his trumpet. I twist to the left, and my elbow sends the big wooden spoon flying off of the counter and into the forest of dog hair on our kitchen floor. In my mind, I swoop down in one fluid movement to retrieve the spoon, rinse it effortlessly in the sink with one hand while dispensing an encouraging booty smack to my son, then pluck up the cell while striding to the back door to let out the dog. In thirty seconds flat, the world is set aright. Soup bubbling. Client satisfied. Son and dog on track. But my mind has forgotten …