How to Grow Older But not Old: Ticking Ageism in Women

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stuart miles - aging

© Stuart Miles via

Carrie De Simas

Editor in Chief @

I’m about to turn 40. This got me to thinking about when I turned 30. My best friend and I threw a huge birthday party that we gleefully entitled “Second Annual Still 29 Birthday Bash”. 

For me, this was all in good humor. Turning 30 didn’t bother me. I’d had numerous friends who were already in their thirties—some even in their forties—and I knew how much fun those decades could be based on their examples.

Many of my female friends were not as optimistic. Like me, many of them were still single and had no children. And when that big 3-0 appeared on their birthday calendars, they fell into funks.

I have been taught three things about ageing from women who have already been there and done that. Perhaps that is what made the difference a decade ago when many women were drinking and crying and I was drinking and dancing.

 Here is what the best and brightest women in my life have taught me about ageing:

  1. Every woman has an age that they dread—either in advance, or in retrospect. Mostly though, it has nothing to do with the number itself. It has to do with your preconceived ideas about where you would be at this point in your life. If you haven’t reached your goals yet, examine them again and see if they are still really your goals, or if you just got used to them.
  2. Age is what you are, not how many days you have lived. I have known men and women in their fifties who still behave (and dress) as if they were 18 years old. If you behave youthfully, you will be youthful. I knew a grandmother once who had to leave our luncheon early because one of her boyfriends was starting to feel neglected. She had three (that she admitted to), each in different towns, none of whom she would commit to despite their pleas. She was loving it, and loving life. Her vibrancy made her seem decades younger than her birth certificate stated.
  3. Don’t lie. Women do all sorts of ridiculous things in their desperation to trick other people into thinking they are younger than they really are. Too much make up. Crazy diets. Fashion that was probably innappoprioate on the 20 year old it was designed for. Plastic surgery or procedures. Make up ages your skin making you look older. Dieting adds stress which ages you and the yo-yo weight fluctuations stretch your skin at a time when the elasticity is starting to wane. Plastic surgery? I have two words for you: Joan Rivers.

Basically, enjoy life. Figure out what you want and go for it, but remember what your mother (or Mick Jagger) taught you: You can’t always get what you want. So have a back up plan. Happy people are youthful people. Decide to be happy no matter the age. 

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