A few days ago my work friend Tam, a self-diagnosed choc-o-holic, told me that she accepted a challenge to give up sweets for thirty days: “I was eating a Tootsie Roll for breakfast—at the gym.” I laughed, not because she was trying to be funny, but because she was being real.
So I’m pushing 50, and a lot of my girlfriends are either approaching the mark, or have passed it, and the thing about the story Tam told, so naturally, so without hesitation, is what I love about being well passed 40. In my late 30s I quit caring about what magazines or television commercials said beauty was. But now, in my late 40s, I join a group of women who have collectively come to understand that it never really mattered in the first place. If we have feminist tendencies, we may have paid lip service to that ideal since our teens or 20s. But when I got to the place where I had no problem telling people that I have to wear reading glasses AND use the magnifying mirror every morning to inspect my upper lip for rogue whiskers…that’s a different rite of passage.
My almost 14 year old daughter can understand that I am comfortable in my skin. I can talk to her about why. But she won’t really understand it until she gets there.
This comfort level is home. Not competing with anyone. The age requirement was met when I quit taking myself seriously.
And the next time I start to wish I were young again, that gravity and hormones hadn’t taken their toll, I’m going to Tam’s gym to eat a Tootsie Roll for breakfast.