Age Schmage (or… I’m still 18 on the inside)

How often do you hear someone say, ‘I’m 38/45/51/63…, but I don’t feel that old’ (if they admit their real age at all.)

Do you ever say things like: I’m too OLD for that, or I’m too YOUNG for that?

  • Are you using it as an excuse not do something that you’re actually afraid of?
  • Whose opinion on age most affects you?
  • What do you know about yourself now that was probably true at 18 too, but you just didn’t know it?
  • What do you make age means?
  • Are you flattered when someone enthuses they’d never have guessed you’re the age you are?

I’m 45.  And I must tell you, I feel 45.  I really wouldn’t want to feel anything other.  In those 45 years, I have loved and been loved, had my heart broken, witnessed and felt cruelty – and dished out a portion myself, though I didn’t recognize it as such
at the time.  I haven’t worn sunscreen or flossed as much as I should have – but have retained my teeth and have hope that the cosmetics industry will find something to redeem my creamy neglect.  I’ve thrown fabulous parties and one that no one came to.  I’ve felt ecstasy and terror.  I’ve lived for years at a time in other cultures and been able to see my own culture from a few lenses away.  I’ve gained weight, lost weight, run in races and meditated to bliss.  I’ve plunged my hand into pond silt and emerged with a frog, found a baby octopus in a tide pool, ridden a runaway elephant.  Felt like a crummy mother, felt like a good mother. Learned the hard way not to give bank details to telemarketers.   Once, with two friends, I accidentally stood stark naked in the snow in front of floor to ceiling windows to a Japanese hotel bar (long story involving a hot spring and poor sense of spatial awareness…)

In summary – I am a very rich woman.  Much richer and textured than I have ever
been before in my life.  Something tells me you are as well.  To wish to strip this away… unfathomable.

I really believe you need to marinate in life awhile before your flavours make themselves known.

I know, I know…. you want to retain the wisdom, but lose the gravitational effects on our epidermal layers.

Study after study shows that women grow more confident and less worried about what other people think of them as they get older.  We have a delightful duty to show the younger generations how vibrant, alive and powerful the movement into the deeper years is.  To live lives that are vibrant, relevant, powerful.   Beat a path of freedom and acceptance.  If we merely try to clutch on to ‘youth’ we send the message that there is nothing richer from here on out.

Our disservice extends not only to those above 25 – but to those below as well.  A few months ago I was speaking to a 23-year-old who suffers from acute anxiety at a party.  She truly believes that the best years of her life are already behind her. Egads!

There is much more to write on this subject, and I encourage you to comment below.

For now, I’d like to leave you with a few people to keep in mind if you’re feeling you’re already too old to _______ :

Julia Child was 49 when her first cookbook, the runaway bestseller, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, swept America.  And 51 when she got her own tv show.

Juliette Gordon Low was 51 when she founded the Girl Scouts of America, the world’s largest educational organization for girls.

Toni Morrison, at age 62 became the first African-American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Her first novel was published when she was 39.

Mary Wesley‘s first adult novel was published in 1983, when she was 71.  She became one of Britain’s most successful novelists, selling three million copies of her books, including 10 best-sellers in the last 20 years of her life.

Paula Deen started a catering company at 42, opened a hugely popular restaurant at 48.  This was after spending years confined to her home as she suffered from agoraphobia.

Mary Kay Ash began her own cosmetics company at age 45 with just US$5,000 – the company is now one of the largest direct sellers of skin care products in the world.

BAFTA winning British actress Liz Smith did not become a professional actress
until the age of 50.

Laura Ingalls Wilder became a columnist in her forties, but did not publish
her first novel in the Little House series of children’s books until her sixties.

Kenneth Grahame was born in 1859, joined the Bank of England in 1879
and rose through the ranks to become its Secretary. Although he had written
various short stories while working at the bank, it was only after his
retirement in 1908 that he published his masterpiece and final work The Wind in the Willows.

Richard Adams’ first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties.

Anthony Burgess, the novelist best known for A Clockwork Orange, published his first novel at age 39.

William S. Burroughs was also 39 when he published his first novel, Junky.

The Marquis de Sade published his first novel, Justine, after turning 51.

Henry Miller published his novel Tropic of Cancer at 44.

Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and his first novel, The Big Sleep at 51.

Joseph Conrad was arguably one of the greatest authors in the English language. He could not speak a word of English until he was about 21. He only started writing in English at about age 32, and his first published works came out when he was 37.

Al Jarreau released his first album at age 35.

Leonard Cohen did not release his first album until he was 32 years old.

Grandma Moses’ painting career began in her seventies after abandoning a career in embroidery because of arthritis.

In business Irene Wells Pennington became best known in her nineties when she helped straighten out irregularities in her husband’s oil business after he went senile in his own 90s.

Colonel Sanders began his franchise in his sixties and can also be deemed
a late in life financial success.

In his mid-50s Taikichiro Mori founded the business that made him, for a year or two, the richest man in the world. He came from a merchant family, but had been a business professor before his 50s.


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1 comment
  • young May 22, 2013, 1:18 am

    Wow! great blog.

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