I got a message from one of Tutti’s friends the other day. It read, “I’m out with your Mum. She’s getting so many compliments… I need therapy.”
I can’t stand it when people say, “She looks so amazing… for her age.” After all, what does age even look like? These days, 50 is young. So is 60 – even 70. All you need is a love of life: a sense of wonder and adventure; a little dash of style; a wicked sense of humour.
Once, 60 might have worn a faded pink dressing gown, and ‘tsked’ at the television while hunched over the ironing, before dinner at 5 and bed at 7 (maybe some still do – it’s no crime after all). But perceptions have changed. People have changed. Sixty can be as vibrant as any 30. Sometimes more so. I know people my age who might as well have been 100. But even saying that seems insulting to 100-year-olds who still live life with vigour.
I feel sad when I hear women talk about turning 40, or 50 and feeling invisible. Just because you might have a few more lines, or because your mid-section doesn’t snap back into shape after a doughnut binge like it used to, or because your your backside is exponentially more wobbly, or your hair’s going grey, it’s no excuse for allowing yourself to fade into obscurity. There’s no need to wave goodbye to your identity amidst the bland sea of perky pouters, fresh out of school, in their uniform, bum-skimming bodycons and tragic stilettos that have them clip-clopping down the street with all the elegance of drunken giraffes.
I once wrote a ‘manifesto’ of sorts for Prevention (the health magazine for women 40+, where I’m the features editor) and it pretty much sums up my sentiments (edited for context, below):
No one really wants to get ‘old’, but if we can, quite simply, live our best lives, then we have rendered age irrelevant. It’s not about stopping the clock, or turning it back – it’s about moving forward, buoyed by life’s many possibilities and the inevitable wisdom we pick up along the way.
Of course, I’m lucky to have parents like Tutti and the Guru as role models, doing their darnedest to age disgracefully, with more colour and layers of eccentricity year-on-year, but if you need a dash more inspiration, check out photographer Ari Seth Cohen’s blog Advanced Style.