To date, I have accumulated 19,710 days on planet Earth, and you couldn`t pay me enough to go back to an earlier age.
Looking back to my 20's and 30's, sure, I had great skin, perky boobs, and a bouncy booty — but I was a psychological and emotional wreck. Wondering about everything, worrying about specific things, catastrophizing about most things, and barely present in all things.
Why didn't he call back? What the hell is her problem? What is that weird growth on my arm? Why does everyone come to me to help solve their problems? Great, another yeast infection! I better get that promotion or somebody is going to get hurt! My legs are so hairy. Is it okay to date two guys at the same time? Maybe I should become a vegan. I feel like a blob. I wonder if I’ll ever get married or have kids? Do I have BO? How the hell does anybody save enough money to buy a house? What about retirement? Is that a grey hair OMG.
Wow. If that doesn’t sound neurotic, I don’t know what does.
If I could talk to that young woman I know I wouldn’t be able to convince her how much better life will get in her pre-golden years. She would probably give me that patronizing look of a millennial who "will worry about those years" when they get even remotely close to that era of their lives.
I remember other older and wiser individuals trying to tell me to relax, and that everything will work out. I also remember wanting to slam them into a wall. What the hell did they know? They weren’t living my life. They weren’t trying to stay in shape, work full time, take night courses, attempting to date, and keep in touch with family and friends all while staying on a diet. I’d like to see them walk a mile in my shoes and then tell me everything is going to be alright!
The punch line is that the older people in your lives actually DO know what it’s like to be in your shoes. They have lived through it and came out on the other side a little banged-up and dented, but so grateful for the lessons and knowledge acquired. There is no such peace of mind as in knowing that things really will be alright, that there is no reason to stress, and that you are not only enough, you are more than enough.
But just for argument’s sake let’s compare. Here are just a few things that make being in your 50’s or 60’s better than being in your 20’s or 30’s.
You don’t care if he calls back. It's his loss.
You also don’t care what her problem is. That's her problem.
That growth on your arm? It’s just an age spot – accept it.
Those people that turn to you to help solve their problems? Like DUH – as they should.
You don’t sweat the small stuff because you can’t see it without your glasses anyway.
You can date anyone, and as many people as you damn well please. Mid-life spread is a real thing and you don’t have to take responsibility for that.
Hot flashes are a great excuse for everything.
You don’t shave as often or at all in the winter. Hairy legs are cozy, who knew?
Exercise? Be serious. Getting out of bed is enough.
As for the small minority of women above 50 who religiously exercise, watch their diet, and maintain pristine personal hygiene and conduct? Bravo, but you are the minority. Us average, middle-aged, battle-scarred veterans really just don’t give a rats ass to be anything other than ourselves and if that ain’t pretty, that's just fine with us.
Sure we want to be healthy, but at an age where we have finally learned how to be present while sporting an attitude of gratitude, no amount of makeup or almost six-pack abs is going to matter one iota.
Heidi Crux is the author of Public Speaking Simplified and Demystified. Communication Basics to Create Lasting Impressions. Heidi is a graduate of Dale Carnegie Training with over 25 years of experience both in and out of the boardroom teaching communication basics and management principles at the university level. As a trainer and coach Heidi conducts seminars and workshops upon request as well as public speaking engagements.