Scene 1. Luxuriating in my ridiculously small bathtub the other day, I found a rather long black hair behind my knee. I don’t mean to be gross. IT wasn’t gross like a whisker out of a witches nose or anything, but it made me ponder. It wasn’t there in my 20s or my 30s. Why now?
Scene 2. An old friend was in town last week and a bunch of us gals got together and went out on the town. And we WENT OUT. Dinner, drinks, barhopping, shooters (ever had a Dr Pepper? You drop a shot of Amaretto in a glass of beer & coke…fun but it will bite you later), and flirting with boys half our age. We ended up in a nightclub we used to go to in our early years, surrounded by 20-somethings and having a ball. On my home at 3am, the cab driver said to me, “aren’t you a little old for The Roxy?”.
I woke up the next morning to a doozy of a headache and thought about what the cabbie had said. Was I too old to be doing “young girl” things? Were we pathetic and awkwardly out of place? What are the things I should be doing in my 40s? Too young for jigsaw puzzles (which I adore) and knitting (haven’t tried yet), but too old for whooping it up once in a while?
Hell no, Mister cabbie.
You have to be careful with the “shoulds” in life. They are killers if you take them too seriously. What a “should” does is tell you what you are supposed to be doing/thinking/saying based on someone else’s opinion. I’m sure the cabbie is a nice guy, but what he was saying was that a woman of my age SHOULD be living the stereotypical life of a 40-year-old woman, and shaking a leg down Granville Street at 3am wasn’t it. So, what does the life of a 40-year-old gal look like? Who made the rules? Where is it written in stone that a not-20-anymore woman can’t drink shooters and sing The Rolling Stones at the top of her lungs? It’s not written anywhere because all age is is an stamp that says “you have been alive for……days” (for me that is over 15,000….if we’re counting). Society puts the “should”s out there…”have a family, wear a suit, don’t swear”. Advertising and the media put them out there, too….”no bikinis after 35, wear khakis, no blue eyeshadow”.
Here’s what I say: fuck em. I was 28 when I embarked on an acting career (my 3rd career change). I was bartending in a cigar lounge at 30. I was dating a man 13 years younger than me at 42. I drink beer out of a bottle, swear like a trucker, and crank Green Day in my car whenever I get the chance. So What?? What you do with your years is your business. Sure, my body is aging and I don’t want the do all the things I used to do, but no one can tell me what my life should look like based on the amount of birthdays I’ve had.
Try to live your life without all the “should”s and “supposed to”s. I know, you can’t get around all of them, and sometimes we conform, just don’t let anyone dictate where you are supposed to be and what you are supposed to be doing based on time spent on the planet.
So, cutting back to scene 1. Remember, the black hair? It’s a sign of age. My pal Robyn started getting them in her 30s. I’m ok with that. I can’t avoid them. Along with the stray grey hairs, the “smile lines” around my eyes, and the joy of getting into bed before 8pm sometimes (!). But all age is, is rings on a tree, baby…..