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Things younger women shouldn’t say to me now that I’m over 50

February 4, 2011

Another birthday looms

I didn’t know I was close to my own mental edge until one day, I was shopping in what I thought was a convivial manner. But I was also mouthing off about my life, i.e., my feelings about my life, as usual, and that means I was complaining about getting old and explaining all the products I use to defray the aging process to a pleasant, chipper 20-something behind the counter.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I have a 20-something child who is gorgeous and accomplished and talented. I am very proud of her, I love her, she is the future. She is the Statue of Liberty in my personal harbor. However, as you know, if you have children in their teens or twenties, what happens when you have a child, especially a beautiful, accomplished one, is that you lose yourself. There’s that horrible competition between mothers and daughters, older women and younger women, seeping into your subconscious. Once that beautiful child is born, you have officially been usurped by the next generation, and you have the rest of your life to get used to it.

Okay, so then you go shopping for goop to put on your aging face, and you find that all of these repressed resentments come out. Mine finally came out when the young woman behind the counter said, in response to hearing the list of things I put on my face to keep the ravages of age at bay, “Well, my mother believes in aging gracefully.” She said this cheerfully, insouciant, not caring that she was stepping into my post-50 year old minefield.

I wanted to smack her.

This will be my theme: why I am not “aging gracefully”; why I am angry about aging; what women of all ages are up against nowadays; why being 50+ is good, yes, but it’s hard to face (pun intended). Why I am not going to be one of those women who pretends this process of loss is okay—because we lose so much. Someday, I will make peace with everything we lose, possibly through writing about what it feels like to age.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 4, 2011 7:19 PM

    Although I’m not quite 50, I’m close. Once I turned 40 salespeople began to call me ‘ma’am’ instead of ‘miss’. I thought that was strange.

    • February 4, 2011 7:39 PM

      It might not just be strange. It might be mean. 😉 I will be writing some more about salesladies. Oh my god, I have A LOT to say about salesladies. ;-/ Thank you for reading!

  2. February 5, 2011 2:21 AM

    I’m an old Doc. I always tell my son he is younger and stronger than me and can jump higher and run faster but he’ll never catch me in wisdom.

    He’s a good kid and concedes it to me ’cause he knows it’s all I got left.

    Dr. B, author, “The Mandolin Case”

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