No matter what age you are, there are always times when you can feel like your youth is slipping away like silk through your fingers, leaving you with pulled threads. But life is not measured in birthdays – it’s measured in smiles for no reason, happy memories, influence on the world, embraces from those who love you… You feel alive not simply through being young, but through running down the sand or feeling the wind through your hair, through experiencing deep love or burning anger. Life is something that everyone has, but some people let go of it too early.
Teens, like me, can mourn the loss of their childhood. I still watch cartoons and I’m game for a bouncy castle if there’s ever one on offer. I find myself thinking things like ‘it feels like only yesterday that I was doing handstands in a field’ or ‘I’m almost 20!’, because I still feel 10 at heart, as do so many of you. That probably sounds silly to some more experienced ladies but to me it’s a scary concept.
Women who’re approaching their thirties can feel the pressure getting heavier and heavier on their shoulders, telling them they need to find a husband and have a baby and get a house and a serious job and start a savings bond and start wearing sensible clothes and crocs. Some women take it as a shock that they’re no longer what is considered young. They’re almost *retch* middle-aged! But these women also might be starting to develop a confidence in themselves that has been lost to them since the self-consciousness of early womanhood set in. You realise that you’re no longer a girl – you’re a women, no matter what Britney says. An adult. Someone who people trust to do stuff without messing it up. It’s more freedom than you know what to do with. Embrace it.
And there are the women who’re edging towards the wrong side of 40, or perhaps even 50. They might look in the mirror and slap globs of anti-ageing cream onto their slightly less firm face, hoping to scare the lines away. Old age is still far off, but it feels a hell of a lot closer than it used to. Well, you may not be wet behind the ears any more, but you’re better for it. There are still people out there that would call you a baby. But if you are getting on a bit, simply take solace in the fact that everyone looks like shit when they’re 80. I personally will never be wearing a bra, ever.
Happiness is what preserves youth – not surgery or creams or holding back your laughter to avoid lines around your eyes. Ageing is simply the passage of time as you experience more and more, as the sunshine warms your skin and every step along the way makes you a little more tired. It’s nature’s way of telling you that you’re done with a stage in your life and a whole new generation needs the chance to go through all the ups and downs that you have.
So whatever age you are and whatever face you see when you look in the mirror, as long as you’re happy I see no reason to ever call yourself old. It’s distasteful word anyway.