The New Forty, the Old Me

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We have all heard that sixty is the new fifty, and forty is the new thirty, etc. It is true we are much healthier, happier, and energetic than women were in the generation before us. Much of this is due to the choices we have made over the years, some of it is due to great genes, and some of it is due to a lifelong relationship with a great plastic surgeon.

There is a lot of pressure to be a fantastic fifty-something. It is no longer acceptable to forego what I like to call the “makeup, maintain, and manipulate” treatments to be fifty and fabulous like the women before us. It is our duty as women, as sisters, to help keep up the facade of aging gracefully. Because we all know, if one of us falls prey and gives up, many more will follow. I have several guides that help me be the best that I can be. 

Fortunately, many women have written wonderful books on the subject. One of my favorites is the book The Best of Everything after 50 by Barbara Hannah Grufferman. It is my own “Dummies for Aging” with sound advice in the areas of medical, makeup, men, and maintenance. It is straightforward and similar to having a discussion over a cup of coffee with a good friend. You are just happy to know that someone else experiences the weird stuff that you now go through. Another must-read is Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a Midlife Crisis by Amy Ferris. This is a fun romp that is like a pat on the back that assures you that you are not crazy and yes, shit does happen. Be bold, be bodacious but most of all be brilliant.

These are just two of the many books that I have read over the last few years. We owe it to ourselves to seek out information about this new forty that we are being drag into kicking and screaming. I have some advice I would like to share. Understand I speak only from experience, no research needed or confirmation of facts, just the antics of one woman. Here is my list of gripes.

Hormones: I want my estrogen back! I did not plan to spend my retirement on wax or laser treatments.

Belly Fat: Really? After all this time of raising children, managing men, working nonstop, donating money and time, and finally coming to terms that I will not be a backup dancer on Broadway, you give me belly fat!

Bad Feet: This is a cruel joke. I love shoes! Expensive, uncomfortable, sensational shoes and yet I can no longer wear them more than a few feet. I keep “real shoes” in my car so I can change. What’s next, Kleenex rolled up under my sweater sleeve?

Trend Busters: I love style; especially the Top 25 Must-Haves of the Season. I am beginning to realize that there is an age cap of these trends. One should only wear holey jeans if in fact they are real holes and you are gardening. My beautiful faux-fur vest makes me look like a Chicago linebacker on steroids; it is not good. I am not yet a Chico’s kind of girl. I want to be 5’10” and a size 6 while I am the new forty. Alas, for the sake of good taste, I will take back the vest.

Hold on … I know I sound like I’m on a bitch fest of sorts. I love being the new forty. In fact, here is a list of the things that I do love.

AARP Membership: You get discounts on tons of good stuff.

Freedom of Speech: I do not know what happens, but suddenly, you really don’t give a rat’s ass about other people’s opinions and you are not afraid to voice your own.

Music: You can appreciate it all. I can listen to the oldies, remember my youth, the ’80s, remember my nerve, the ’90s, and remember thinking I need to listen to the oldies. I love it all, hip-hop, pop, musicals, you name it, I listen to it and I get it!

Family: The pleasures of watching my children become responsible and good-hearted adults and the pleasures of watching them become a better parent than I was.

It is tough getting older but I do believe that it is all in the mind. If you choose to age gracefully, does that mean you simply go along? I would like to think that it means you do it your way. Be whoever and whatever you want and realize that age does not define you. Yeah, it may offer a few obstacles but life is one big obstacle. I am looking forward to the new fifty, which means I will be the old sixty, which may mean my list of good and bad will grow.


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