But you don’t look ________(that old)
Gloria Steinem is one of my heroines. She came into my life at just the right time. When she turned 40, it was unheard of for a woman of such years to admit her age. She did. People kept telling her that she didn’t look forty. She put herself on the cover of her magazine, Ms, with the statement “This is what forty looks like”. Most of us didn’t think it was what we thought forty looks like. I saw Gloria last year. She is now 77. She still looks amazing. Not amazing in a plastic surgery, tight faced way but in a healthy, good attitude toward life sort of way. She continues to serve as my role model on how to age.
I felt I always looked pretty much my age — in a good way, but always age appropriate. I was not carded in my thirties, no one ever thought my daughter was my sister I never had the experience of the jaw drop when I revealed my age. Until lately. I’m not sure when it happened but sometime about sixty. Maybe it’s because I went to law school in my 50’s. My friends were all much younger then and they continue to be so now as I hang put with what I consider to be my professional contemporaries. Several recent incidents made me realize an in-congruence. There was the health insurance consultant who asked me when I would be eligible for Medicare. Uhm, been there for several years. The women my age who treat me as very much their junior. A doctor who does cosmetic procedures who looked genuinely surprised when she learned my age. My favorite was the business consultant who asked me where I wanted to see my business in ten years. Uh, alive? Lately I have been feeling I need to show ID to prove my age.
Don’t get me wrong. No one sees me as a femme fatale. I don’t get questioned when I ask for senior tickets at the movies I’m considered to be a nice middle age lady. If I’m middle age, I have to live to be 140! So here is the conundrum. Do I go along with folk’s perception or do I announce to the world: “Hey, I’m going to be 70 this year.”. I’m choosing the latter. I want to be a mentor and a trail blazer. I am determined to show women that it is never too late. Never too late to start a new career, a new life, begin a new hobby. I think it best serves that purpose if I can say “This is what seventy looks like.” God that sounds old!