As a nineties kid, I’m watching thirty barrel around the corner with increasing fear. I’d never really been all that afraid of aging. I hung out with plenty of older people as a child (wait, not in a creepy way) and I knew that life didn’t end at any arbitrary round number. Plus, my parents had me in their late thirties – I was acquainted with older age.
And yet this really crazy thing happened the other day. I was looking in the mirror and I noticed I have some fine lines crisscrossing around my eyes. They were sitting in the space where my eyes crinkle when I smile, but now they appear when I’m staring at the mirror stone-faced. The weird part was that I considered getting Botox.
It wasn’t even a panicked, desperate thought. It was a calm consideration. Note – I’m several years off thirty yet.
I’ve also started to notice a number of posts on the internet professing amazement at a woman looking “incredible” (by conventional beauty standards) for a 29 year old (or similar). Marvelling at how good Lady Gaga looks for 34. Or wondering why Taylor Swift reflects on adolescence given that she’s 30. Or lamenting Nicki Minaj for dressing “sexy” despite “approaching 40” (for some reason women are considered to be “approaching 40” from about age 34).
And it has all come crashing home to me how important age is – as it relates to womanhood.
Think about it – we rarely put restrictions on men’s timelines. Men who are “young at heart” are good blokes (think Phil from Modern Family). Men who refuse to settle down are beloved lotharios (think Leonardo DiCaprio). None of this stops them from having families, or careers, or, most importantly, being taken seriously.
I also know that, in this age (in this economy), it can be near impossible to get your life started in the way that was once typical. While moving out at 18 was once standard practice, now it’s often the domain of the brave (or the wealthy). I know more than a few people who, despite approaching 30, are living in some sort of arrangement or another with their parents. What was once deemed sad or a failure is these days met with an understanding shrug. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do we lament over coffee. Then we feel guilty about the coffee.
As I look at the tiny crinkles across and around my eyes, I’m reminded that age is something you cannot prepare for. The theory of it will never be the same as the reality. I thought I had no fear when it came to aging – now I realise my thoughts are a little different. Whether I decide to one day experiment with Botox is beside the point. But when it comes to my thoughts on aging, I think I’m in need of some work.Support Villainesse