I have turned a page on another birthday already, and I’m surprised that I have not given it too much thought this year. I didn’t feel like I was at a crossroads or that it was a milestone. Instead, I found myself, well, catching myself doing my usual yet wondering if it was still age appropriate to do so. When my mother was my age, she wouldn’t have been caught wearing leggings or mid-rise jeans. Heck not, she wouldn’t have been caught wearing jeans at all. And here I am, still shopping at Charlotte Russe, Jeans Warehouse, and at the juniors section of any department store. It helps that I’m still tiny and slim, but I’m certainly saying no to skinny and low rise jeans, miniskirts, and anything with slits all the way up there and all the way down there. Age is a mindset, but the mirror tells me that those kinds of clothes look better on younger bodies.
Then, the other day while I was waiting my turn at the salon, I reached out as usual for Glamour magazine. It hit me. Shouldn’t I be reading Good Housekeeping instead? Something more in tune to my age bracket rather than poring over boho style dresses and bikini-ready body tips? What was going on with this new self-consciousness? In the end, it was one of my bosses who ended up giving me a clue. He said that when you get older, when you get to a certain age, you want to tell your age because it’s like earning a right to brag, to say, “Look, I have live this much and this long! I have conquered. I have overcome.” So maybe my questioning what it is age appropriate doesn’t have to do with a preoccupation with eternal youth or an urge to live up to our ageless culture, but rather with a natural, internal call to acknowledge this life, the years I’ve had on this earth so far. They amount to something. They’ve made me into who I’m.
Giving recognition doesn’t mean I have to wear polyester pants with elastic waists and give up shopping at the juniors section. After all, I love the prints, the shapes and the colors I find there. They speak to my creative side. Same for magazines like Glamour. I find inspiration between those pages. But it’s time to own my older self. She’s here after all these years. She’s a learner. She has made mistakes. She’s wiser. She has survived. She’s still laughing and dancing. Together, we hope to thrive for years to come.