A close friend is celebrating her 43rd birthday this week. She is very (way too) concerned about getting old. At our recent Martini Tuesday (one of our rituals where we have friends over every Tuesday night, after the kids have gone to bed, for martinis – our effort to stay young at heart) she was asking if she is now old and, by implication, unsexy.
It led to a good discussion on what is old. My perspective, for what its worth (some agreed and other did not):
– there are three ages: (i) young, (ii) old and (iii) comfortable; and ‘sexy’ is different for those in each of these ages .
– number of years lived have little to do with being young, old or comfortable.
– (i) ‘young’ is the period in your life when you are still struggling hard to figure out who you are; I work at a university and am surrounded by ‘young’ people. I enjoy seeing them begin to assert themselves, figure themselves out and develop. I like these people, and enjoy seeing them go through this stage of their life… as long as they are progressing toward getting their shit together and maturing (ie. I like 20 year old you people; not so much 35 year old young people). This is a huge generalization but I think the sexiness of young people is most appealing to other young people (aside from an aesthetic appeal).
– (ii) ‘old’ are those who have just given up. They have become cynical in their beliefs, they tend to be pretty negative and they have stopped caring about their appearance. I know tons of 35 year old ‘old’ people. And I know a number of 65 year olds, who are not old. I’ll throw my bias out there – I’m not a fan of old people, in the sense that I am defining ‘old’;
(iii) ‘comfortable’; these are people who are comfortable and confident in themselves and put energy into their lives. You can be any number of years old, but as long as you’re still seeking adventure, putting yourself out there and putting energy into your life… you can be vibrant, sexy and desirable until you drop dead at 102 years old.
My friend… is she getting old? It depends on the day. She can be a lot of fun when she tries, but less frequently than she used to. I fear she may be getting old.. but it has nothing to do with the wrinkles around per eyes or the grey hair that occasionally peeks through on her head.