One of my favourite shows is Younger. The premise is a 40-something divorced mother lies about her age so she can get a job in the publishing industry in New York. She tells people she’s 26 and a millenial, because otherwise she’d be outcast from her career. In the most recent episode, her real age comes out, and when fact checkers inquire as to her real age, she tells them she’s “age queer” (much like the current “gender queer” trend), and refuses to associate with a particular age. She says she’s saying she’s 41 in a protest to ageism.
Yes this is hilarious, but it also rings true in my current life. I readily admit I’m 36, a mother of two, and very much established in my career (in which I’m fortunate to have security in because the perception is that English teachers are old cat ladies anyway). But lately I haven’t felt my physical and emotional self matches my age. For a good year or so now, I’ve been hearing comments like “Are you aging backwards?” And, “You look younger now after kids!” While this is all very flattering, and I can chalk much of it up to genetics, I’m here to share with you the key to feeling and looking youthful.
A big part of it is lifestyle. Sleep. Meditation/mindfulness. Clean eats. Working out. My regimented lifestyle is definitely a key attribute. BUT, an even bigger part of it is just confidence, the way you perceive yourself, and recognizing you don’t have to let getting older dull your sparkle.
Last night I had dinner with these two beautiful former students. They’re 22, and have the most insightful perspectives on life. They were saying that I look and act younger now than when I taught them in 2011 (and again in 2014). I don’t think they’re wrong. One of them was also saying that feeling sexy is something to be embraced, regardless of age, and that societal perceptions shouldn’t dictate who can or cannot feel sexy.
There *is* this stigma that mothers should be stressed out basket cases, and that their physical self should look accordingly. But I want to challenge this notion. My inner and outer self feel sexier to me now than they did in my 20s. Am I having a midlife crisis? Maybe (Definitely). But the point I’m trying to convey is this: embrace your youth regardless of age. It feels so good to laugh like a giddy school girl. Or to have a superficial conversation. Smile more. Be playful. Wear something “age inappropriate.” Turn the jams up a little louder. Go dancing. Whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, you can still feel young, dress young, and act young. Being a mother, a wife, or just generally adulting doesn’t have to feel like a death sentence.
Thanks for reading. Namaste.