This Friday is my birthday. I'm turning 40. I'm not sure what 40 is suppose to feel like, but it's not old.
If I had the power to turn back the clock my 12 year-old self would agree with Karim and say, “Forty is old.” Let's fast forward a few years; My 25 year-old self was dreading this day. Fast forward 10 more years and my 35 year-old self was beginning to make peace with the idea.
Probably because I realized it was around the corner. Now that corner is just two days away.
Enough time has passed. I’m okay with turning 40. I’m actually better than ok, I’m finally ready to own it. And while I’m proud to own my 40th and the years I have ahead of me, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge I live in a society where I may be the exception and not the rule.
Ageism is a real negative force women have to reckon with in our society. It cuts across race, religion, and class. Turn on your TV, watch a commercial, go online, or go read a women’s magazine. Look at the ads. Youth is king and beauty is queen. While there are more ads with older women, it’s likely to be for Botox or another product promising to help a woman maintain her youthful glow with clinically proven results to minimize those fine lines. These ads seek to help us ignore the fact that those fine lines are a natural part of the aging process. And rather than accept it we must fight to hold on to our youthful beauty. If we don’t we'll lose our value in society.
The women's health and beauty industry takes in billions of dollars each year marketing products and services to give us a so-called upper hand. My younger self bought into this false narrative. That’s the power of media.
Recognizing this problem in our society doesn’t make dealing with the reality any easier. Like many women, I have my set of creams and products I use to protect my skin. Some of these products claim to slow down or reduce the signs of aging. There’s no magic cream, pill, or surgery that will stop me from aging. It’s apart of life. I’ll consider myself lucky if I’m blessed to be healthy and enjoy my old age.
I would love to hear your stories of turning 40 and how you owned it!