In two years I’ll be fifty years old. I’ve been using that sentence to shock people lately. I know I don’t “look” as old as I am and I damn sure don’t act the way most people expect an almost 50-year-old to act. How do I know this? From their reactions to the statement, “I’ll be fifty years old in two years.” I’m usually on a dance floor, or in an office full of older men who assumed I couldn’t possibly be their peer, let a lone OLDER than they are and have the job that I have. You see, I manage a warehouse; it’s a small space chock full of various types of traffic equipment. Not a forklift in sight means I haul most of the stuff back and forth with brute strength. So, not only are they surprised to see me hefting this stuff around, they’re even more shocked to realize that at my “age”, I’m still able to press any real weight at all. I love busting stereotypes whenever possible.
Did you catch the “on a dance floor” bit? Yeah. I still enjoy going to dance clubs. I never thought I’d be THAT woman. You know, the one who is maybe a touch past her prime, who many say is making a fool of herself out there gyrating to music twenty or (gasp) thirty years younger than she is? You know…THAT woman. I do tend to go to clubs where the majority of the crowd isn’t quite that much younger than I am and the music is a mix of tunes from my hay-day as well as whatever it is the kids are listening to these days. But I’ve been out with my daughter (yes, my daughter!) a few times and it never fails, the guy checking the IDs thinks I’m lying about my age. Now, if I were going to lie, why on earth would I smile and gladly say, “No, you read that right. I’m almost 50!”
I’ve been told that soon, I’ll grow out of this. I’ll stop wanting to go to playgrounds with the cool new jungle gyms (seriously, I go when there’s no little kids to scare, and will climb to the top of whatever structure and just sit. I LOVE IT), or out dancing till all hours of the night, or to concerts. They tell me I’ll stop finding fun in playing in the sand at the beach, building 3-D puzzles, taking road trips. That eventually I’ll want to give up my sky-high heels and corsets and halter tops (okay, I’ll give you the sky-high heels and halter tops, as I imagine they will stop wanting to be seen with me when my skin begins to look like beef jerky and my knees and or hips tire of tottering around on a 4 inch spike).
But you know what, I don’t wanna! I don’t want to grow out of things that bring me joy, that I’ve enjoyed for over 40 years in some instances.
I don’t know where these stupid rules come from. I don’t know why people keep wanting to curb my enthusiasm; my childish glee. I’m not trying to stave off getting older. As long as I’m alive I’ll age. I get that. It’s not about trying to be “hip” or “with it” or whatever (lol…). But it is about being happy. Being comfortable in my skin and doing things that keep me from crawling under my bed and saying to hell with it. So many things in this existence are out of my control, why deny myself the few pleasures I can provide for myself? Why should my age dictate what “makes” me happy?
Sigh. Growing up is hard.