It was my birthday yesterday.
Thank you for your well wishes. (I silently hear you congratulating me on my 33 years of existence.) Although, I really should say happy birthday to my mum. She tried for 24 hours to get my stubborn, chubby-ass out of the birth canal into the world only for me to have my own agenda (surprise surprise, nothing has changed) and she ended up having a C section. So, happy birthday to you too mum. A mother was definitely “born”.
As my birth day came and went, it made me think a lot about age. What age means for anyone in the western world when it comes to viability, beauty and success. I feel so young. Young to the point that adulting seems extremely overwhelming. Like sometimes, I want my biggest choice to be what alternative milk to put in my coffee, and not what type of progressive pre school my daughter should attend, that will make her a more aware, well rounded pillar of society. I feel so young that the world still feels new and exciting and fearful and daunting. But when I look at the societal norm of what youth should look like, I guess I’m not young. What the actual fuck.
Yesterday, I turned on the TV and was watching a re-run of the Olympic diving. The commentator actually said “Well, this veteran is 30 years old. Wow, she’s very old to be diving at this point in her life. I’m sure this will be her last Olympics”. Crap. Well, there goes my hope for my Olympic diving medal. (Who am I kidding, I can’t actually dive at all. My swimming days were some of the most embarrassing, as I belly flopped my way through middle school.) But still – a 30-year-old VETERAN?! How did this happen??!
I feel like my 21st birthday was just a few years ago, when I drank one-too-many champagnes and sang the Spice Girls as I cried my heart out to “two will be one”, and daydreamed about my future life. I still do that!! My music choice has changed (Adele) but THAT hopeful girl Is still there.
Speaking of Adele, I just attended her concert. After hearing her belt her last desperado song, you’d think, I would have left inspired from witnessing greatness in its prime. But I didn’t. Watching a 28 year old at the top of her game made me think about time. Time we are given where we are allowed to fly. A bookended amount of minutes, where you’re considered valuable and viable. Where you are allowed to dress like sex, fight for an unknown dream and make bad choices.
The sad thing, about our society giving us humans a corridor of time to succeed, is that when we feel close to that age number when the gig “should” be up, we let it all go. We stop taking risks and chasing dreams and having new desires for the fear of being “too” old. For the fear of having too many responsibilities that it feels somewhat selfish to dare take a chance.
After the Adele concert, we made our way to our car. As we were walking I caught a glimpse of a billboard with a famous actresses face on it. I would say she was mid to late 30’s but you wouldn’t know it from the image. Her face was a smooth as a toddlers hiney and showed not one sign of the colorful and dense life she had lived. This made me think two things. Either she spent many an hour in the doctor’s office, to get rid of any signs of life, or the company retouched her face within an inch of itself to look like an 18 year old, because, once again, that was considered viable. Someone made the decision that looking a certain way would prolong this actresses career.
It’s so confusing to me. Why does erasing someone’s story on their face make them valuable? Why is a blank canvas what we want to see? Isn’t the interesting part the human experience? The pain and the adventures and the love making and the losses. I don’t know about you but as I age, I’m really starting to like myself. I’ve been though the fucking ringer in my early 20’s where people’s opinions really cut deep. But now I’ve come out on the other side. I know how I love, who I love, and who I am. No one’s opinion can now destabilize me. I know every inch of my face and body. Each imperfection telling me a story about my life. A life I lived where I stumbled and triumphed and hurt and loved. A life that has a story to be told and ironically one that many more relate to. I feel more layered and alive as an actor and more resilient as a business woman.
So yesterday, I made a decision. I will not to succumb to the belief that aging is a negative. That age means you have to stop fighting for a dream to come true, that you are any less beautiful. That age makes you invisible.
I have a little spoiler for you. NO ONE IS GETTING YOUNGER AND NO ONE IS GETTING OUT ALIVE. What do you have to lose? Adele will one day be a granny and I will be the first in line to buy her album titled “72”. She will be rich in her chapters. She will have lived and witnessed. Because of that, at least to me, she will be valuable. She will be viable. And she will still be so goddamn sexy.