It’s no big secret that society is obsessed with youth. A quick glance at the horror that is taking over the faces of folks on television confirms that. Or the fact that we constantly refer to beautiful things by comparing them to being twenty.
40 is the new 20.
What an offensive, tiresome phrase. It implies that we all long to be in our twenties again, doesn’t it? Or at least that we want to look twenty. But why? My twenties were awful and I don’t think I looked all that great either. Sure, my body was tighter and more toned but I was such an insecure, confused, angry person.
Women have been trained to fight age. With make-up, clothing, plastic surgery, by lying about their age. But those women make me sad, they remind me of the kind of people who spend the rest of their lives reminiscing about how great high school was. Cheerleaders, football stars, wishing they could live in the hallowed halls of their high schools forever and ever.
As April Brucker writes for The Huffington Post, “Hollywood sells the lie to young women that their late teens and early twenties are supposed to be the best times of their lives.”
Me? I’m proud to be turning 37 this month. 40 doesn’t scare me at all. You know what scares me? 20?
My twenties were – in a word – chaotic. Here’s just a sampling of the kind of things I did in my twenties as a result of a real lack of confidence and self-esteem – someone just flailing around trying to figure out what she wants from life.
- I drunk dialed a boss who fired me once and actually thought he’d find it charming.
- I dated a married guy.
- I climbed a boyfriend’s fire escape to catch him getting it on with another woman.
- I hid in the back of a boyfriend’s SUV once while he ran errands so I could listen to him talk on his cell phone because I suspected him of cheating on me.
- I worked god awful overnight shifts at a news station for a very long year in a desperate effort to jumpstart my career as a producer.
- I obsessed over my weight when there was absolutely no reason for concern as I was in the best shape of my life.
- I dated an endless parade of guys who were just as unsure about themselves as I was.
That sound like a good time to you?
Beauty, success and confidence radiate from within and I possessed none of these attributes in my twenties. While life now often seems more complex it isn’t as confusing. I feel like I have a solid grasp on who I am and what I want out of this life. Each year I fall more in love with myself because I’m more comfortable with me. If you aren’t comfortable with yourself life is miserable. It’s like being on the worst date ever, all the time.
We’ve got it all wrong. We worship youth instead of age. Age is awesome and the older we are the more we should be revered. There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement via make-up or whatever rocks your world, but don’t lose yourself in it. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Be proud of your age. You’ve lived a lot of years and learned a lot of stuff, why deny it?
Image: Monica Bielanko
Read more from Monica on Babble:
- Girl Sues Parents to Pay for College
- Jail Denies Mom’s Request to Pump Breast Milk (And I Don’t Blame Them)
- Supporting Dylan Farrow: This Mom Will Never Watch a Woody Allen Movie Again
- The Wussification of America Illustrated by a Map of School Closures