Getting Older Doesn't Have to Be a Bad Thing

Demeter Delune

Jessica Valenti recently released a newsletter where she talks about getting older. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. When something you read causes you to think, it’s a good thing. I won’t regale you with her wisdom, you can read it for yourself, but I will tell you what I think of the whole getting older thing from the perspective of a woman.

Mark Manson may have written the book, but older women everywhere are living the art of not giving a crap, and we’re tired of being subtle about it.

I grew up hearing about people ‘letting themselves go’ from my mother and other women in my family. Men may think it, but it’s often stated out loud by women. It wasn’t always older women they were referring to, but also those who had been married for a bit, had children, or were just plain exhausted. Apparently, letting ourselves go is a bad thing. I never once heard the same said about men in the same positions. If a man gained some weight or looked tired, he must be working hard and living off junk food. But he wasn’t letting himself go.

Today, I’m ready to own ‘letting myself go’ in a way that’s positive. Yep, I stopped caring what people think — I let go. Yep, I went out of the house without a bra on because it’s more comfortable — I let go. And yes, I’m wearing leggings at the age of 44 — I let go.

Every single one of those things is a positive for me. I spent way too much of my life caring what others thought about what I said, did, and how I acted. Where did it get me? To the land of anxiety, that’s where, and I don’t want to live there anymore. I feel Danny Glover’s character in Lethal Weapon hard these days — I’m too old for this.

What other people think of you is none of your business. Unless you’re a raging jerk, there’s not much you can do about how others perceive you. You can be the nicest, kindest person on the planet, but something you do or some way that you act is going to offend someone. You don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea — some of us prefer coffee and whisky.

Like most Americans — women, especially — I was taught to fear aging. Told that getting older meant I would be less attractive, socially irrelevant and hopelessly uncool.
What a... scam. — Jessica Valenti, Getting Old is Good, Actually

I don’t want to be the ‘cool chick’ anymore. I don’t want to go along to get along. The days of me being a doormat are long over. They didn’t do for me what I thought they would. The difference between now and then is simple. I know my worth. I know what I bring to the table. And sometimes, that’s simply me, just being there, available to listen. Other times, it’s just me, minding my own business, keeping to myself.

Like Jessica, I don’t fear aging as I was taught to. I don’t need thousands of dollars of beauty products to slow down the process. It’s going to happen whether I look like I’m 44 or not. What’s important isn’t the look, it’s the act. Most days, I forget how old I am. I have to do the math more often than I care to admit. My age doesn’t mean anything to me these days. I’m long past old enough to drink, old enough to smoke, old enough to do pretty much anything I want (legally).

I’ve let go of society’s expectations for me. Where I’ve been told I should be quieter because I’m becoming irrelevant, I’ve gotten louder.

Embracing ourselves, in whatever form that takes, scares people. Being okay with having an off day and saying screw it, scares people. I say, who cares if it scares them? I’d rather terrify the masses than be afraid of my own power.

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Relationship and Intimacy Coach who loves to bring folks good news and fun facts to help them brighten their day and inform.

Myrtle Beach, SC
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