Ouch, Doreen. While I realize there’s some self-deprecating humor in here, really?
I might invite you to rethink your choice of words. At 66 and barking at 67 I am anything but shriveling, nor are most of my extraordinary older friends who are flying planes, scuba diving, climbing mountains (just like I am) well into very old age.
What I see when I look at your photo is a perfectly lovely woman. The only thing that ages us, the way I see it, is fear of aging, exacerbated by society’s desperate hate of same while also desperately wanting a long life.
I have never seen, nor do I give a flying poo, about GOT. I am way too busy prepping for my next epic trip (this time to Ethiopia to ride horses at 12K’), writing my third book, finishing all my articles about my last epic trip (five weeks in Mongolia) selling and moving to a much greener and more remote spot in the Northwest, planning to live in Colombia during the winter months, and working out at least two hours a day to be able to deal with the inevitable injuries of my chosen lifestyle.
What’s interesting about this is that I have a circle of friends who are very much like me, and here in Colorado most women my age who exercise leave me in the proverbial dust.
Fear of aging is aging. Fear of aging is crippling. Those kill us and our joy much faster than aging. It ain’t the age that kills us Doreen, it’s the wholesale denial of the powerful older woman, active, gorgeous, energetic, sexy as shit and potent that society not only doesn’t see but is outright terrified to acknowledge.
I wrote this https://medium.com/crows-feet/we-exist-231143ddb93 in response to that very thing. It saddens me to read articles — and I see them all the time on Medium — in one way or another bemoaning youth or lost perfection. Those of us- and you are one of them- who are beautiful, who were beautiful in youth have to negotiate the waters of learning to use a different kind of currency as we evolve into whom we were always meant to be. That’s hard, because beauty gives us points, and Western society detracts points for wrinkles.
Well, pardon my French but fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. Wait a while.
This week I interviewed a woman who, at 67, is finishing her IFR pilot’s rating, just finished her rescue diver certificate by hauling a 300-lb man out of the Gulf of Mexico…and the list goes on. She is gorgeous. Not just physically gorgeous as she is at 67 but more so because is in the fullness of her being right here, right now.
To pilfer your phrase: She looks joyful, ethereal, vigorous, youthful.
You and I are also gorgeous. Right here right now as we all are. Those dermatologically-near-perfect pixies are so full of angst and anguish about all those things that we left behind decades ago. And, it will take decades for them— and wrinkles- for them to realize how meaningless that all was.
And you of course know all this. Of course you do.
However, that’s not the theme of your article.
I despise ageism in all its forms, and while I am not accusing you of it, the problem I see is that often we write material that perpetuates stereotypes. For most of us it’s quite unconscious.
Youth isn’t the issue. Youthful is. That is a forever state of mind, and driven in part by our ability to release attachments to things that are no longer ours (flawless skin, no cellulite, our own teeth and my hand is up here) and move into the next great phases. Our real work has only begun.
But then, that’s just me. Doesn’t make me right, but I keep meeting and befriending unbelievable women over sixty who completely rewrite all the rules, expectations and outright lies about what it means to be an older woman in the Western world.
Now I gotta go hit the gym.