Friday, 2 September 2011

Is age really just a number??

I have often been told that I look (and act) younger than I am. By rights I should look a very haggard 42 year old considering I have partied considerably hard since my teenage years but thanks to good family genes (and afew make-up tricks) I am still able to cling to the last vestiges of youth. And before time catches up with me and the copious amounts of alcohol, cigarettes and lack of sleep form deep etched lines and wrinkles in my face perhaps I should take advantage that my face still has some structure and is not yet a cloth sack. So next month I will turn 43 but have decided I will tell new acquaintances that I am 38, a full 5 years younger.

Why would I do this when I am actually not ashamed of my age? Well first of all to see if I could get away with it, I am taking a risk afterall. It would be such a knockback (and hilariously funny) if  I received shock responses and pitying looks that scream of "she must have had a hard paper round"!

In fact, I am curious to see if I would be treated any different as a woman in her late 30's than a spinster in her early 40's. They say that the forties are the new thirties so technically I wouldn't be lying. Would I attract the attention of younger people to me? Would it be more socially acceptable for me to hang out with people in their twenties? Does 38, never married and no children sound so much better and justifiable than 43, never married and no kids? Well it shouldn't but it does.

Age is used as a yardstick to measure how good you look, how much you have achieved and how healthy you are and what more you have left to offer the world.   No wonder so many people approach their 40th birthday with trepidation and a sense of "it's all downhill from here". Society dictates that you pretty much should have it all wrapped up by your forties. Education, travel, marriage and kids and that now "life begins" since the kids have flown the nest and  you can perhaps put yourself first for once. Take up hobbies or buy a holiday home and spend every weekend enjoying the freedom that "cutting the apron strings" brings. But what about those of us hurtling fast into our forties who got to first and second base but never quite obtained marriage and kids. Do we still go in search of that?  How are we depicted by society.....failures or life's Peter Pans?

Recently on a train I sat opposite two older ladies who had certainly been visited by the menopause and youth had long since waved "Sayonara". However, on striking up a conversation during the journey one of the ladies in particular was very entertaining, spirited and extremely funny. The twinkle in her eye outshone her weather worn wrinkled skin and grey hair. It was her spirit and character that captivated and attracted everyone around her. We all grow old but we don't have to be old. The quote below sums this up perfectly:

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years.  We grow old by deserting our ideals.  Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul".  ~Samuel Ullman

It really is what's inside that makes us who we are and not the number of years we have been on this earth. Our bodies are merely a temporarily home for a spirit that never ages and time has no bearing. If tomorrow I was granted two wishes, one to be in my thirties again but with about as much personality as a dripping tap or be forty +, spirited, enjoying life, open minded with a wicked sense of humour then I know I would chose the latter. Like attracts like after all and I feel very lucky to have met those kind of people whether they were twenty,  forty or sixty, it is irrelavant.

When the iconic beauty Audrey Hepburn was asked to give her beauty tips below is what she replied. 

  1. "For attractive lips speak words of kindness".
  2. "For lovely eyes, seek the good in people".
  3. "For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry".
  4. "For beautifulr hair, let a child run his or hers through it at least once a day".
  5. "For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone".
  6. "People, even more than things, have to be restored, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone".
  7. "Remember if you ever need a helping hand you'll find them at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and the other for helping others".
  8. "The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides".
  9. "The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode, but the true beauty of a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows".
  10. "The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years."
Contrary to what some may think, Audrey Hepburn did not write this beautiful poem, Sam Levenson did. Levenson wrote "Time Tested Beauty Tips" for his grandchild, and it just so happened to be one of Audrey's favorite poems. She read it to her children on the very last Christmas Eve she spent with us here on Earth.

I could however ignore every word of wisdom and reason to justify aging indiscreetly by doing this one very clever trick. I could tell every one I'm actually older! I would be a fabulous 50 year old. People would ask themselves "what's her secret?", "what moisturiser does she use", "what is her exercise regime", "what is her diet?". And as the years progress I would continue to look much younger than my ficticious age without going under the knife .... I would only have to stay looking older than my chronological age....easy. I could, therefore age not only gracefully but calmly and peacefully which in itself would take years off me, a win win solution don't you think?
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