I was checking my new outfit in the mirror the other morning (not the soul-destroying mirror at my work that shows every line and wrinkle – I avoid that one like the plague!) and I thought “I’m looking pretty good for someone my age”. Bang! There is was…..the dreaded midlife disclaimer “for my age“.
I’m not sure when in life it sets in that judgments are based on how old someone is. I have been guilty of thinking it when I see someone looking good and I hear it from others regularly too. Nobody says about a 20-year-old “gee she’s looking good for her age” or “she’s in great shape for her age“, but when it comes to life after a certain date it seems to pop up in conversations and comments fairly regularly.
Helen Mirren, the actress, has it attached to descriptions of her outfits all the time – particularly that shot of her taken in a red bikini (mind you she never had children so her tummy didn’t suffer the indignities of being stretched to the size of a small town and deflated again numerous times – so that helps a bikini photo no end). I noticed another photo of her in a purple swimsuit and she looks much more like a woman in her second half of life – still pretty “good for her age” though!
I’ve also noticed people apply it in the negative too – “really, you wouldn’t think she’d be wearing those earrings at her age” or “you’d think she’d be a little more settled at her age” etc etc. There seems to be a magic age where this disclaimer becomes normal and I’m yet to figure out when that actually is. At some stage I’ll have to start surveying a spectrum of friends and see whether they hear it or not to determine an approximate start date. I can’t imagine it applying to the 30 something young mum down the street so it must be from a later stage and I’m thinking somewhere from forty onwards?
So, do we fight the disclaimer or take it on board as a compliment because it means that people have seen us and are impressed enough to comment on our appearance or behaviour? My opinion is that we own our choices – whether it’s about fashion or lifestyle or whatever is important to us. It’s all about confidence and choosing to ignore the disclaimer. Let’s accept the compliment and stand proud in midlife!
Let me know what you think in the comments below. If you’d like to read more about celebrating midlife I’d love you to visit my blog crestingthehill.com.au