I’m 36 and am rapidly approaching that stage in life where I can be une femme d’une certaine age. I’m looking forward to it.
Oh sure, we live in a culture that worships youth –and young was good. I liked the fact my breasts didn’t sag, that I had that smooth, soft skin. I liked the energy of youth and the lack of stretch marks on my belly. The wide open possibilities were fun and exciting. The lack of responsibilities that made it easier to concentrate on my obsessions. It was good. I won’t claim that I did not enjoy those advantages. I mourn them some.
But only some.
You see, at a certain age, your directness stops being offensive and personal power is accepted. You stop being a domineering bitch, and become a force to be respected. The elegant manicure stops looking vain and and the good jewelry no longer seems pretentious – like a girl playing dress-up. An understated style stops looking plain and starts looking elegant. A lifted eyebrow and smile can speak volumes that are actually listened to.
Those possibilities of youth become more real. You have the resources to accomplish them. You have more shading to your life, perspective and a latticework of structure from which to view and create your world. Life has almost certainly knocked you to the ground at least once, and you know in your bones that it doesn’t matter, because you know you can get back up every time. “Ma’am” becomes a badge of honor rather than a jab that tells you that you’re getting old.
You’re less patient with nonsense, more compassionate with real trouble. You have the wisdom to know the difference. You’re not so easily suckered by a sob story and you have the resources to help out when you really can make a difference.
There’s a balance that you get when you’re of a certain age, and it’s fun. You understand the ebb and flow of life better and don’t take everything so damned seriously. You understand that the cup of coffee after the hard labor is important – that the job is not really done until you’ve relaxed and enjoyed yourself after the labors. You understand that the silk scarf is just as important as the good kitchen knife, that life is too short for bad chocolate and that the youthful energy out there with the youngsters playing in the grass is as much for you to savor as for them.