Today is my husband’s birthday, which means mine is coming up soon. (Gasp!) Someone commented on a photo I posted about this and said “Wow did not realize…you have a really amazing body for your age. I hope u don’t take it the wrong way.” Well, I took it as a compliment (and she meant to be sweet), I even chuckled a little. I mean who doesn’t want to hear that? But the one part that gets me, and gets me whenever I see it used in the press, in conversation, or in comments, is this statement: For your age.
What does that mean exactly?
We all know and accept that we are different humans, with different bodies, characteristics, features, and lives. Yet there is still such a general stereotype of what woman should look like, or be like at any given age. And every single aspect seems to be monitored: Hair, eyes, body, wardrobe, employment, family life, bank accounts, relationships, car, diet, hobbies…
And it’s really kind of exhausting. And I’m just on the front end of all this stuff, I think. Or maybe it happened when I was in my 20’s and I was oblivious to it…
I think the big thing is, when you hear “for you age” you can’t help but assume that the person saying it automatically thinks you are old. And old is such an odd, misused word these days. I know so many women in their 60’s that are so much more alive, vibrant, and younger at heart than some women I’ve met in their mid 20’s. It’s like that Yoko Ono quote “Some people are old at 18 and some are young at 90…time is a concept humans created."
Preach it Yoko. Age is such a number, but we just can’t see past it sometimes.
I feel more self assured, confident, fun, and vibrant in my 30’s than I ever did when I was "younger”, and I really do like myself, which I think is what has helped make this site what it is. And when I look at women like my mom, I am convinced this feeling just keeps getting better.
Then it got me thinking, why the heck do I hide my face and age on the blog so much? I confess, it is 90% because I am usually making faces like this, but the other 10% is I don’t want to be judged. I know it sounds sad, and it’s actually quite embarrassing for me to type that. But maybe deep down inside I have a little fear of all the ageists out there. I know it’s stupid, but maybe if I actually admit it here, it will help me get that percentage down to zero.
Ok it just went down to 8%. Just by typing that.
Either way, as another birthday rolls around next week, I will be doing my best to silent that weird womanly instinct to cringe as the number goes up, choose to embrace it, continue to take care of myself the best I can, watch J-Lo’s latest music video (She’s 45 and Iggy is 24 by the way), and actually be excited that I’m getting a year older. Which is so much better than the alternative.
So, if you finish reading this rambling with one takeaway, please remember this…
When describing someone 1: Be nice, and 2: Please drop the “for your age” part.