“Over 50”

In exactly seven days, I will officially be “over 50”. That will not be an issue for me.

Let’s just be real about it: as women, the losing battle that we fight against getting older is rooted in patriarchal conditioning. While men are allowed to grow old as gracefully as they please, we are urged to present as young, thin, and dependent on men as possible. When I see women subjecting themselves to haircolor regimens, botox injections, dangerous cosmetic surgeries, and self-deprecating statements like “Don’t call me ‘Ma’am’!”, it makes me want to swing a bat at something.

We demand respect from men while consistently disrespecting ourselves to attract them.

My mother was the strongest, most fearless woman I knew–when she was around other women. She would preach sermonettes about why she did not need a man and never would. She possessed the physical strength of ten men, even in the throes of Alzheimer’s. Whenever a man came into her life, she would take on these sickening attributes: forced laughter at his every word, a “less-threatening” tone of voice, and deference to his inferior intellect. She would slather herself with Oil of Olay or anything else that promised to keep her “looking younger”. What offended me most was when she lied about MY age, because she couldn’t tell people she was 40 when she was 50 if they knew that I was 35.

I loved the woman that my mother was, but I despised what she tried to be with men. She did it because she thought she had to, and I pity that mentality. Her behavior made me aware of how other women around me cheated themselves out of embracing their maturity. I am not arguing that women should let themselves go or not care about their looks. Just the opposite: by all means, love yourself and love ON yourself. Do it because it makes you feel good about being you, not to fit the standard of what kind of woman a man wants.

I reject patriarchal conditioning that tells me I need to stay young (and stupid) to be beautiful. If that puts me in a class by myself, then so be it. I will not renounce any part of myself to cater to the male palate.

Let me leave you with the words from Andy Rooney that provoked me to write this post…and to kick-start a new way of appreciating myself. The beauty that I cultivate is for ME, not for mankind.

“As I grow in age, I value women near or over 50. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman near or over 50 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

If a woman near or over 50 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it’s usually more interesting.

Women near or over 50 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot or stab you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman near or over 50.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two [not on me!], a woman near or over 50 is far sexier than her younger counterpart.

Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk, if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women near or over 50 for a multitude of reasons.”

Andy Rooney

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