I’m often told I ‘don’t look’ my age. It’s served up as a compliment. It’s not. What’s complimentary about telling someone they don’t fit the box into which you’re trying to put them?
I already know that by being open about my age (43 a week ago, when this photo was taken), I’m pushing back at ageism. Ageism abounds even in this woke generation that hesitates to assign gender labels but has no qualms dismissing ideas they dislike to ‘Boomers’ as if it’s an insult. As if they invented feminism.
People suggest I’m lucky younger men find me hot. I’m fetishised in the sleaze of those who tell me they have a thing for older woman.
Age is one of the characteristics of a person, perhaps the most important one given it is a repository of time. Yet the same culture that fetishises me also reduces me in the workplace, in modern media, in upcoming technology. Both actions dehumanise me by putting me in a box called ‘Age’.
I love getting older. Don’t get me wrong, I am struggling with black going grey, sagging where once there was firmness & groaning over new health things. Every year my medical bills get bigger (without a corresponding rise in income) & I learn new science-y terms about my body. But every year, there are fewer shackles. Maybe it’s because the world starts to lose interest in colonising me, in favour of ‘fresher’ meat. Maybe it is easier for me to break shackles now. On balance, I feel like I’ve rightfully earned my years. Why would I want to deny these trophies?
We’re in such a youth obsessed culture that we bend over backwards to vilify the past. True, staying stuck in time is limiting. But there are lessons in experiences. When I feel pushed to ‘discard the dead past, I hear denial of a core identity. How can I possibly forget the experiences & yes, the traumas that have shaped me? That I’m still standing here means something. I’ve transcended the past, not defeated it.
Age teaches us to see the difficult, not as a personal demon to be vanquished but as a teacher. I’m there. You can call it tired or pacifist. I know better because I’m older than you. 😉