Oh man, it’s starting.
I’ve been pretty lucky in the aging department. When I was young, I looked old for my age. (What teenage girls want for those who never were one.) And yet, for most of my 30s and 40s, I’ve looked “good” for my age. I work out a lot. I have good genes. I’ve never smoked. And I don’t care about things like laugh lines and grey hair.
But man, at 43, the not-so-great parts of age are suddenly starting to show. I am getting major crepe action on my upper arms that I did not have a few months ago. And I am starting to get jowly for the first time in my life. “Um….Do I still want to grow old gracefully?” I find myself thinking.
We’ve got a question today from another woman whose starting to rethink her objection to botox.
Meantime, the mirror is counterbalanced by signs everywhere in the media right now of the dominance and power of women in middle age.
Recently I read Vogue’s excellent cover story with Olivia Colman, for one, which lauds her ability to focus on her kids, be nice, be professional, not take herself too seriously, and work hard (in addition to being brilliant at what she does) despite gargantuan success.
I think those are all things that become more important and central as we age, at least they have for me. There’s so much pressure to act like a dude when you are young and building your career. But when I became a mother, I just rediscovered the value of being nice and saying thanks and saying sorry. Things that I was told were weak, I reinterpreted as signs of strength in middle age.
And then there was the awesome NYT profile of Jennifer Lee. She was the first woman to direct a Disney animated feature film with Frozen, which the Times points out was “remarkable since she was not a trained animator and had only ventured out to Hollywood a couple of years before, as she turned 40, the age when many people in the dream factory start lying about how old they are.”
Both stories push back on the idea that to make it in an industry that fetishes the youth of women, you have to be a young hot shot or an ingenue. Both are about women who didn’t fit the central casting mold of runaway success. Both women somehow needed the gifts of middle age to achieve what they have. And both are women that seemingly cannot be stopped right now.
It’s a good reminder of the power that comes with having those frown lines and jowls. They’re signals that we’re all just getting started and we have so much less f*cks to give…
Today’s new questions on Chairman Mom:
- Abusive ex in contempt of court and breaking child custody agreement
- Botox…yea or nay?
- Have you successfully navigated starting a new company “on the side” while working full-time BEFORE you can be public about the new thing?