I know for my whole life I have made assumptions as to what people were thinking when they looked at me. I’ve usually tried to take my Mom’s advice and “make the most of what I have” but some days when I tire of the work required, days when I’m only going to paint a bedroom and I probably won’t “see” anybody, I get lazy. On those days I can look like the homeless guy laying in the road beggin’ for whiskey money – and that’s been true at any age.
At every age, and with every iteration of my “look” I have assumed how people were perceiving me. Some days my imagined perception has made me feel good about myself. Days when I took special care to maximize my assets — and often on those days I receive compliments that reinforce my assumptions. Then there are the days when I hear the doorbell ring and run upstairs so that no one can see me when my husband answers the door — you know — those no make-up, hair like a rat tail, dumpy sweatshirt and baggy jean days — most of us have them.
I know I’ve never been one of those “perfection at all moments, make-up that stays on 24/7, pull your ski cap off and perfect ringlets of curl fall seductively around your face” type women. In fact I can’t even pretend I get them — seems like way too much work. And I can only thank god that I am not one of those — ok I’m 50 but most people think I’m only 28 and hot so I’ll dress really really seductively and wear way too much make-up and guys will be drooling all over me types. Eeeewwwww!!!
So here I am, your average woman. I look great on some days and like crap on others. And now I’m in my fifties which brings us to the whole point — did entering my 50′s give me an overlay of looking old that I carry with me always?
My honest and cerebral opinion is no. I look at 50 and 60 even 70+ women and think, my god she’s lovely. So classically chic. I’m not focused on age when I do that. I also look at 35 year old women and think — could you make an effort, honey? Honestly you’d feel better about yourself! Still not age-centric.
I know that being in my 50′s does not automatically place the emphasis on my being old. Why, one twenty-something guy in my office once commented on a statement I made about feeling old “I don’t see you as old, I see you as a really cool lady”. I could tell he really meant it.
So why do I persist in thinking that people see me as old first and foremost? When I know what they’re really seeing is what’s inside me – and that’s ageless. And they’re responding to that in a variety of awesome ways (OK sometimes the response is not optimal — but that is almost never impacted by age — usually by that fact that I’ve aggravated them in some way. Some things never change).
I guess the question I’m asking is: how does a 50-something woman get it out of her head that her age is a factor — more so than ever before in her life? I know its bullshit but sometimes I find myself thinking that way — and I never have before. I know other women feel the same based on comments I hear.
Why should age be front and center in our lives more than ever before — it shouldn’t! So work on getting it out of your head or you’ll torture yourself over nothing. But if you are that “I’m too lazy to make any effort so I’ll dress like a bag lady and I’ll just satisfy myself to feel like crap all the time” woman – try getting off your butt and putting a little work into it — you might like it! Is that a shallow way to think — maybe but that’s life! If you feel you look good you feel good! Simple math!
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