49 Birthdays & Stronger For It

This is my 49th year. 

I’ve never lied about my age and I won’t start. When I was in radio in the last couple years, I mentioned my age on-air and was met with chuckles and surprise by people around me who couldn’t believe I’d actually admit that – inviting threats to my relevancy. 

I said bring it on. I have no reason to shrink inside myself on this topic. 

What kind of nonsense do we allow to stand in a culture that’s supposed to be the land of opportunity… except for women of a certain age?

My certain age is 49…and I love this age.

The way it used to be is not the way it has to be moving forward. I say this as someone who knows I’ve been sidelined and cast aside, at times in different situations, in recent years because I dare age. 

People grow, morph, change, emerge, fall back, rise, soar, and circle back to do it all over again. Sometimes I’ve looked amazing and sometimes I’ve wanted a heck of a lot more sleep and peace wishing I could better recognize myself in the mirror. When you engage life, risk, and feel deeply, you’ll wear some of that in some way. I like who I am and I’m proud of her – all 49 years of her.

I’ll accessorize with hair color as I desire, whiten my teeth if I want, use makeup, and do any number of things for fun and because I like the outcomes. Other times, I won’t do any of it. Our bodies are our murals when we want them to be and they aren’t when we don’t want them to be. We have choices and to allow others to silently take those from us is unwise, at best.

Shrinking and reducing yourself to tow the line, know your place, and remain nonthreatening to the masses equals living small and contains an apology for yourself every single day you accept it. 

We put women in an impossible position of self-betrayal when we allow ourselves to be defined by age and whether we wear age well enough… based on who’s evidence, by the way?  And, that is definitive truth because?

Age discrimination is real as an elephant in the room in American culture. It shows not one ounce of depth to buy in to it. It screams fear. 

We can require more of those around us and feel disappointed when they aren’t able to deepen and broaden their thinking, but we also owe it to each other to embrace the texture we’ve earned over the years.

There have been times I shunned the idea of plastic surgery as well as times I dreamt of it – joking about deserving to get back 5-10 years I felt I lost seeing aging effects of extreme stress and disappointment as I’ve lived a full, textured, thoughtful, loving life. 

You do you is my view, but quit lying about how many years you’ve been doing it. 

It’s the first step in standing up for women. Own your age and call out the attempt at dismissive manipulative control systemically at play in those who dare attempt reduce your value based on it. We’re all so much more than any one aspect of ourselves.

Haven’t you earned the right in all you’ve learned in your life to demand you be seen as exactly who you are, no apologies – whether spoken or in refusing to shave off years of your age that were full of life experience?

It starts by choosing not to care what others think of you and stop investing in status quo thinking. Know that some people won’t be ready for you yet in this kind of thinking and that’s entirely okay. You have nothing to prove.

The sum total of you is not a number – any number anywhere.