When I’m 64…: Women, Aging & the Mirror
When the Beatles released this hit in 1967, I wondered how Paul McCartney would feel looking back from that ripe old age. I wondered too, what I would think. How on earth did those years pass so quickly? And yet I can account for each and every one of them.
Inside I am still the same girl that had such an awesome crush on Paul and was a diehard Beatle fan – until it all got a little too weird. As a budding classical musician, I was amazed at the never-before use of string quartets, harpsichords, and sitars. For me Lennon/McCartney were still the most innovative composers of my rock and roll generation.
But I digress.
I am no longer a fan of the mirror. It is still a shock sometimes to see myself in a way that fortunately others don’t – older and not as gracefully aging as I had hoped. Some women retain that lovely bloom and girl-like sweetness, and others don’t. Genes, clean living or vice, illness, stress all combine to add to the aging process.
Yet when I sit at the keyboard and plug away at my blogs and columns, or when I am called upon to speak publicly as an activist for my faith and advocate for all women, I am still that young girl, full of spirit and youthful bloom. And so much more. More than the pretty face, nice voice or however I was defined or recognized in my younger days.
I wish I could share this with our younger sisters. That you all are so much more than face, figure and the objectifying that you so innocently buy into. I know you can’t help it. It’s all you see and hear. Every ad, every song, every catalog, every program, every fashion in every store, screams image, sexiness is YOU. You must be sexy about all else: thin, hip, and well versed in every bit of nonsense that those who only want to own your dollars and your soul care about.
Does this wisdom and hard hitting truth only come about with age? I still see women that I cry for with Kewpie doll red lips and blush; so incongruous with their white hair. My dear mom was just like that. Still fighting the ravages of time to camouflage what cannot eventually be hidden. Why is it that men seem to age much more handsomely? So unfair!
But again I digress.
I know that when I stand before my Creator one day, He will not care about pretty hair, nice figure, or some popularity/reputation among the masses. He will look only at my record of deeds. I pray it will be full to overflowing. Now when I look at my life I wonder how many years I potentially have to do things until age, illness or infirmity prevent me? So I am galloping faster than ever. And in that I find great satisfaction.
After years of performing or speaking in front of audiences, I now find myself thrust into and well prepared for the role of activist, marcher, protestor, show up and speak up woman in a scarf. I am thrilled and still often astounded at the solidarity I find in every space and march. It’s an intensely frightening, frustrating yet exhilarating time for many.
So ladies, young and wise, never doubt that in each and every decade, there is not only a new opportunity for growth, a new chapter in your book of life; but also a sweetness and satisfaction. A friend complains to me that her youth is passing by as she nurses her cancer stricken husband, neither having yet reached their 40’s. This too shall pass and life will go on in ways unimaginable if we but leave ourselves open to possibilities and to go where life or God leads us.