I can cry. No one thinks twice if I cry while watching a sad movie. Or even just a sentimental commercial. Or reading a novel or listening to music. I’m allowed to shed a few tears wherever I am, no matter what I’m doing.
I can be playful. I can cheerfully tousle another person’s child’s hair or give them a quick hug and not be gawked at with heightened suspicion. In fact, I can usually get away with hugging strange grown-ups, too.
I can marvel at both men and women. If done tactfully of course, I get to hand out sincere compliments with abandon. I offer a compliment to a younger woman and she most often accepts it at face value. I admire an older woman, and she doesn’t dismiss it as flattery. If I compliment a man, whether older or younger, he doesn’t question my motives.
I get to wear whatever I want. I get to wear elegant clothes. Or comfy clothes. Or frilly clothes. Heels, sneakers, sandals, or flats. All depending solely on my mood. I was taught how to seamlessly pair a $7 clearance blouse and a $25 skirt with a really nice pair of $100 shoes and still look like a million bucks. Plus, we women hit the jackpot when it comes to accessorizing. I’m happy that I am not limited to making fashion statements merely with ties and watches and socks.
Makeup! Thanks to changing trends, I get to wear almost whatever I want. Indeed, I don’t even have to wear any makeup at all, and my friends won’t even gasp and clutch their pearls. Come to think of it, I can go out in public and play with all sorts of makeup all day long at a store counter if I’m of a mind to.
Age has somehow given me the right to speak my mind. Some people assume that if I’m older, I must be wiser, so they’re willing to at least give a listen. Of course, some may think “She’s so old-fashioned” or even “That ol’ bat is off her rocker!” but that’s okay. Because they’re usually nice about it. Occasionally, they listen and may learn something of value.
I’ve been blessed to be surrounded by women “of a certain age” all of my life. I’ve learned from their mistakes and their wisdom. I’ve made my own mistakes and picked up a few pieces of “that’s good to know” here and there over the years. I’ve lived long enough to say “no” and mean it, to let go of the things that aren’t really important any more, and to focus on the positive in almost every situation. I’m still strong-willed, stubborn, and loud. But, I no longer find joy in the fight. I prefer to stay on the sunny side as long as I can. And, I’m finally at a place in my life where I’m no longer seen as “the enemy” by other women. We get to be friends and colleagues. We get to count on each other and edify one another. Mentor and cherish each other. And, I like that.