Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Thoughts on getting older

Karen's post today about her upcoming fiftieth birthday struck a chord with me:
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed my birthday and embrace each new age with a sense of hope and optimism, but with 50, there’s also a sense of urgency and…whoa!!…I’ve not felt before. Note that I didn’t say that the hope and optimism are gone…it’s just that urgency and whoa!! has been added to the mix. And that’s okay. Bring it!
 A sense of urgency and whoa! is pretty much how I'm feeling too, although I don't have a landmark birthday coming up. I will be turning 42 in December, which is divisible by 2, 3, 6, and 7. Not 5.

In my thirties, I had the delusion if I lived clean and took care of my skin, I could somehow be the one person who got to avoid aging. Now when I go to Ulta, the salespeople recommend products with names like "Wrinkle revenge." I think I still look pretty good, but I'm starting to see some lines around my eyes, and I'm starting to feel bad about my neck. Not too bad, but wishing it was the way it used to be when I ignored it. My hair has been going gray for years, so I color it. As I told a friend, "I spend a lot of money just trying to look normal." That goes double for my Sephora addiction.

All of this results in a sense of urgency, as if I might not have endless years to continue futzing around before I start finding myself.  It makes it clear that anything I really want to do, I should probably start doing.

Most of all it makes me want to take care of myself and appreciate the way I look and feel now, and keep moving steadily toward my goals.

Don't forget to stop by Karen's blog and wish her a happy birthday.


  1. My hair started going gray at 24. Really it had been some time before that, but I hadn't noticed it until a got a really short cut. And at first I freaked and blamed it on grad school, but truthfully a large part of the class has got the gray. The oldest student in the class is 32 and the average age is 25. It's a very young range. Yet there's a solid number of graying scalps, and a fair number of men losing their hair as well.

    I think that's what happens when you get a bunch of people in a room that don't have the time to try to cover up the natural course of life. It shows, and that's that. Of course I would be lying if I said I wasn't tempted to color them. I think about it a lot now. But It's nice to know that my grays are pretty standard stuff around here.

    As far as finding myself, I can't really imagine ever pinning all that down. Each time try something new I discover something else about who I am. I like having the freedom to just be.

    I spent a lot of my past trying to define myself. In the end, it's really just a lot less stressful to stop crafting an image and just enjoy exploring my reactions to whatever life throws next.

    Completely unrelated, wasn't 42 the meaning of life?

  2. I think you look fabulous Jen! It's only been in the past year or two that I suddenly look my age. It used to be that no one could believe I was in my 40s, and I sometimes got carded. That doesn't happen any more and people aren't surprised to learn that I am about to turn 50 ;-)

    Thanks for the shout-out :-)

  3. Oh Jen, I feel the exact same way. I turned 42 in April. I have great skin & look younger than many women my age. But! I can see the effects of gravity starting on my "jowels" (don't know what else to call them) and there are small permanent smile lines around my mouth now. And my chest is wrinkly every morning, which I can't stand. I am already lamenting how I'm going to look 10 years from now, and it freaks me out. I have made no peace with growing older. I am thankful that my body still cooperates with my running, but I feel like it's tenous.

    I pink puffy heart love Sephora.

  4. I loved that book, btw. I listened to it on tape several years ago. It was a hoot.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07