I'm no fool. I know I won't appreciate my knees going or my muscles fading. In fact, I work out regularly now to minimize this as much as possible. I know I will probably need a drink the first time I spot a crease on my face that won't go away. I refuse to lie about this. I do, however, look forward to aging'and not just because my twenties have been a roller-coaster.
To quote Holly Golightly, "Wrinkles and bones, white hair and diamonds: I can't wait." I know diamonds are for a privileged set that don't have to do hard labor into their sixties and seventies. But so many older women have such an un-namable allure in my eyes. Older women who wear fur coats to the local cineplex and dye their hair blue have my true admiration. They cut you in line at the grocery store, and you can't say a damned thing about it. They still set their hair with hot rollers, and they get weekly manicures. It's everything I've ever thought glamor to be, since I was a little girl.
At a certain point, a woman will age out of her traditional beauty. I don't mean to express that older women aren't beautiful'not by a long shot'but they're finally past the age where their beauty fits into the culturally acceptable box. No matter how much you inject, shape, and pull back things, a 60-year-old woman simply will not look like a 14-year-old pubescent girl. I find this to be so freeing. Such a woman can command attention and respect without feeling the pressure to sexually appease her audience. Not that an older woman can't be sexy. Plenty of women, including Helen Mirren, disprove this handily. Simply, an older woman isn't solely defined by her ability to be sexy or visually pleasing.
Truly the fashion and glamor of these women aren't solely why I admire them. I also want to refrain from calling these ladies delightfully eccentric. No, what awes me about older women is their ability to grow so much into themselves. What I've learned from observing women is how much they solidify into their true personalities as they age. Their earlier elegance becomes effusive. Or, likewise, their youthful bohemian flair becomes deeply rooted in their self-expression. The background cultural noise that constantly interferes with a young woman has been filtered out, leaving the pure, unadulterated sound of an older woman's true self.
Perhaps I've just been blessed to have known women who developed a staid fearlessness with their age. These women in my life show me that there's a regality to age. One of my grandmothers is "Queen of the Universe," and you're lucky to be deigned her subject. My other grandmother wears leopard sequins to church. I envy them both'the boldness, the audacity, the verve. The latter grandmother just up and moved across the country to Colorado for half the year. I know 20-year-olds who lack the courage to change their life path so enthusiastically. The former one holds court with journalists, Marxists, captains of industry and professionals of all sorts who come simply to sit by her feet. I have always felt grateful for the presence of these fearless women in my life.
So, you see, I refuse to fear aging. I will lament the passing of my youth with the nostalgic fervor that I have always had whenever I've approached a change in my life. As much as my first wrinkle might startle me, I know I won't miss the cat calls, the street harassment or the leering that belongs to a young woman. I won't miss people telling me how to live my life. I won't miss how un-intimidating my full, youthful face looks. I won't miss people talking over me, thinking a young woman has little importance to say. In the end, I know age gives a woman the potential to break free of the pressures to be a certain kind of woman, giving her instead the gift to be herself.