by Susanne Solomon
Let's face it, we are living in an age where growing old, or rather looking old has become inappropriate. Gone are the times where one was respected and honored for the experience and wisdom that one acquired during one's lifetime.
In today's world, it is all about looks and the size of one's bank account. It is the era of twenty-something's. It does not matter if one is fifteen, thirty, forty, or in their fifties, one is expected to look like a twenty-something year old.
What is a woman in her forties and fifties to do? When a rosy cheeked Christey Brinkley smiles at you, cheesily, from the cover of a magazine saying: 'I do not mind being fifty, but I do not have to look like it.' I have to admit that every time I hear a supermodel say something like that, I have to fight the urge to draw mustaches and warts on her picture.
And there is the never aging Cindy Crawford, who in her forties, is finally happily married, looking slim and trim, with perfect twenty-something skin, walking with her kids through the fields in the country in $2000 dollar Armani clothes. The sun rises in the background, and she graciously shares with us the picture of her perfect life, swinging her kids in circles, laughing, and miraculously not one hair of her $1500 dollar hairdo is out of place, including her children's. 'What a lucky woman,' I think, 'she just has it all together.'
The only miracle that I witness these days is, when I am able to roll my stiff and painful back out of bed in the morning, without hurting myself too badly and eventually managing to transform the Medusa that stares at me from the mirror, into the not-so-perfect-me, in thirty-five minutes flat, wrapped in clothes from the local thrift-store.
How do they do it, you ask; the ever young looking, never aging women? Well, truth be told, if all of us could afford to hire a Parisian dermatologist to develop an anti-aging moisturizer especially for us, a nutritionist that cooks us well balanced meals, a personal trainer that helps us target our problem zones, and a nanny that watches our children when we are in the mood for a shopping trip in Aspen, then maybe we would manage to look like twenty-something's in our fifties as well.
We mortal women are lucky to make it out of Wal-Mart without a nervous breakdown and without gum that a screaming five year old decided to spit into our hair during an embarrassing temper tantrum at the check-out counter.
I encounter evidence of my fading youth every day. When you go back to college in your forties, you have to become accustomed to the invisibility factor. I am surrounded by tight skinned, perfectly tanned, beautiful twenty-something's on a daily basis, and that fact makes a forty-something year old woman invisible to the opposite sex, no matter how old and out of shape the opposite sex may be.
When I was young, tight-skinned, and pretty, I always wanted to be known for my intellect, my brains, and not just for my body and a pretty face. 'I am smart,' I heard myself saying often, 'I have things to say and to contribute.' Well girls, trust me on this one, enjoy your looks as long as you can and use it; it is power.
There is nothing that a great set of knockers or a good looking butt cannot accomplish. Most guys are going to keep staring, and they will favor the young and pretty girls; nothing will ever change that. You might as well take advantage of that fact as long as you can, within reason, of course.
I asked my husband about the strange fascination that men have with boobs. He calls it the Neanderthal Chip that is deeply embedded into their brains. He compares it to Pavlov's Dogs, that were conditioned to drool every time a bell was rung, knowing they would receive a treat after that. In men's case, the bell is a pretty young girl and the treats are the boobs.
You eventually will come to the realization that even you are not above the need for attention, when you find yourself slipping a construction worker a twenty for a cat call. Aging is indeed not easy and one has to come to terms with it. That is what the forties are for.
It is a restless age, an awkward one. The forties are somewhere in between; too young to be called old but too old to be called young. They are the puberty of adulthood, but instead of growing pimples, you will grow hair in places I am too embarrassed to mention. In the forties it becomes painfully evident that things go down hill, literally. Gravity has taken its toll and certain body parts have begun to point downwards.
Camouflage has become an art form. Hair color, tweezers, heavy moisturizers and the wonder bra become your best friends and tight jeans, your worst enemy. Sure, you can force yourself into them, if you want, and even make it through the day without passing out; but be prepared that by the end of the day, you will pop out of them like the Pillsbury Dough Boy out of a can of Biscuits.
Nevertheless, with all of the disadvantages that come with aging, also come many advantages. All in all, I enjoy growing older and I do not mind a few wrinkles here and there; it gives me character. My husband is always saying that he would love to be seventeen again but I have to tell you the truth; you could not pay me enough to go through all of that again.
I like who I am and I am fine with the fading youthfulness of my skin. We all get there eventually; there just is no way around it, unless you want to end up looking like Joan Rivers, and honestly, who wants that? As long as I keep my sense of humor, I can conquer anything in life; even wrinkles as deep as the Grand Canyon. I do not have to impress anyone anymore, except myself.
I am lucky enough to have a husband that adores me; gravity, wrinkles, pouches and all. And he does not mind putting up with all my idiosyncrasies. What more can a woman ask for?
About the Author:
Susanne Solomon is from Tempe, Arizona. She is 41 years old, born in Germany, but living in the United States for the past sixteen years. At the age of forty, she decided to go back to college and become the woman she always wanted to be.