I ran into a friendly(or so I thought) acquaintance of mine from school at one of my favorite boutiques in my little hometown the other day. She asked about LM, and then said, “Wow, it must be so scary starting something like that, especially at your age!” I just smiled and said I was fairly sure that it would be hard to start something of your own at any age and that it had been so nice to see her:) I’m sure she meant nothing by it, just a passing comment in a conversation of mostly niceties, but it resonated with me. Shortly after my husband and I got married at 32(a ripe old age for matrimony here in the south) a casual friend of mine said we had better be pregnant soon, as I wasn’t a “spring chicken”. I know little of the life span of poultry but I can tell you this was not a compliment.
Society tells many fibs about the feminine experience and aging. These tales are part of the narrative nearly from birth, and are often more reductive than I realized in my teens and twenties. We are told that feminine beauty is so fleeting, it’s gone for good at 25, or perhaps(even more disturbingly) at 15 or 16. Putting so much ridiculous pressure to really maximize those years before you are put out to the proverbial pasture. I can tell you from my honest experience living in my own body for north of 30 years and staring at women’s faces up close for 20 of those, this is categorically untrue. Some of the most breathtaking women I’ve seen are way way over 40, and my personal biggest girl crushes(Kate Beckinsale, Nicole Kidman, Meghan Markle-ugh, gorgeous) span the decades.
When I was around thirty, I felt this kind of peace between my body and I, a kind of settling into my bones. It’s said that twenty-somethings are often guided by fear and I felt this predictably melt away as I left that fun and free and terrifying decade behind. This was the year I met my sweet, classically handsome, charming and nerdly husband; a decade late but then right on time. I had heard the complimentary yet pejorative, “Why aren’t you married? You are so cute/sweet” for a solid eight years at this point. I would go back and answer very simply, because I haven’t met my husband yet.
You can take no credit for beauty at sixteen. But if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your souls’ own doingMarie Stopes
Of all the women I have watched and admired, two almost conflicting things seems to be true. They have a gentle, loving, light energy…and they are ferociously boundaried and treat themselves with the same love that they give to babies, husbands, and careers. My own mother and grandmothers danced this line with grace. There were homemade dinners and nights up with sick children, but also lingering lunches with friends, shopping days(sans iPhones) and rarely a missed hair appointment. I see this in my own girlfriends as well, some seem almost to be blooming as the years pass by us, even as they lose parents and pregnancies and toe far too many lines. To put it simply, I know one thing to be true: If you love and invest in your own body and spirit, you will be surprised just how sweet time may be to you<3