No, I will not hide and fade into the woodwork. I will not meet your expectations of what I should look like, what I should do at this age. This 63-year-old body sags and wrinkles and I refuse to lift or constrain it in any way. My hair is thinning; but that doesn’t mean I won’t continue to color it and wear outrageous hair styles as long as I want. My eyebrows are greying and disappearing, and my eyelashes are all but gone; but that doesn’t mean that I will stop wearing makeup to enhance what is left. My breasts are sagging and not as perky as they once were; but I will not wear bras that ‘lift and separate’, or make them pointy, or make me want to scream by lunchtime because I can’t breathe. My legs are not shapely and they have spider veins; but I will not wear pants or long skirts just because you don’t want to see them. I love my nail art that shows off my beautiful hands with their age spots and prominent veins and wrinkles (who knew you could get wrinkles on your hands?) I have skin tags, and moles, and other things you think are gross growing on my body. Yes, they are gross, but they are part of me; part of my body, and I have learned to live with them. I don’t need to look like the latest top model to be beautiful.
I may seem old to you, but I was once your age, with all the hopes and dreams you have; getting old wasn’t something I thought about as I’m sure you don’t either. But one day, you will be my age, and hopefully, much older. I hope that you don’t have to listen to snide remarks made where you think I won’t hear you. I’m not deaf and can still hear your whispers from across the room. I am living my life the way I want to live it; the fact that I have lived this long gives me that right – I have earned it. I have earned every wrinkle in this face by laughing and loving and losing. And I’m sure that more wrinkles will appear. And yes, I have ‘turkey neck’ and ‘flabby arms’ and a ‘menopot’. But this is the body I have, and I love it. It still gets me where I want to go. I can see and hear and touch and taste and smell. I’m not in my dotage and I still have opinions, and I will voice them.
So you young women out there, and you older ones, too; when will you rise up with us to stop society from thinking we are invisible? When will you start respecting your elders and listen to our wisdom? We didn’t live this long without learning something. We see what is wrong with the world and try to fix it. You think we’re crazy and have no right to tell you what we think. So listen to us; maybe you’ll learn something. We’re not fading away; we’re getting stronger, and we are beautiful, and we will make our voices heard.