Monday, October 1, 2012

Is Age a Blessing or a Bitch?


My sister recently had a “big” birthday. Leading up to her birthday, I pressed my mother, sisters and sister’s boyfriend to make plans. Should we have a party? Go away? Chip in for a present? Compulsive planners need to know.  Word was that she wasn't thrilled about her birthday and didn't didn’t want a fuss made. I found that so silly; birthdays are blessings.We are all lucky just to be here.  My sister and I both have friends we have lost who haven’t made it to celebrate these days. I joked with my sister’s boyfriend, “so you guys are old, what’s the big deal?” He said he’d check in with me with my time came and we could talk further.

I’m still in my 30s and though I’ve seen those changes that everyone warned me happen at that 35 mark (seems previously "good" parts become cause for concern and "bad" parts remain trouble areas) until recently age wasn’t something I worried about. Perhaps one can only stress and overthink so many things. I have always felt it’s not so much age but the place you are in. I have a career I enjoy, a loving family and I’m healthy (knocking desk).

Well that uncharacteristically grounded thinking was shattered last weekend. We went to dinner at Marble Lane at the Dream Hotel. 

After a delicious meal, we stepped outside to get a taxi.  We stood on the curb as my friend’s husband hailed a cab. After a couple of minutes, three 20-something girls in napkin-sized dresses charged in front (regretfully no photo snapped). Presuming “innocence” he said, “we’re already waiting but you can grab the next taxi.” They weren’t happy, rolled their eyes and said something to the effect of “whatever”.  At first I didn’t react; I was too busy taking in the outfit choices. 
 My Friend: “Is there a problem? Why the comments?”
Napkin Dress: “Oh my god, why don’t you act your age.”
 My Friend: “Excuse me, did you say act your age, not a problem if you can act over 3.”
Neon Yellow Napkin Dress:  “Seriously- you guys are too old to be here.”
That was it, I couldn’t hold back, she called me old and I had a martini in my system.
Me: “Even when I was 20, I wouldn’t go out with my titties on full display. Plus, there's something called manners.”
There were a few more comments, in a desperate attempt to prove she wasn’t a whore, yellow napkin told us she worked in finance. I may have inquired if she interviewed in that dress, fortunately we were soon in the taxi. We joked about what transpired but I looked at my friends and said, “do you think we were too old to be there?”

I wish I could say I forgot about the Saturday night skirmish but I woke up thinking about it. I went to workout and afterward walked down the street fair on Columbus.  A large sign “Organic Skincare” caught my eye. I chatted up the owner of the company about ingredients and such and asked, “What product would you suggest I start with?” She handed me this

“Mature Serum?” I asked.
“Don’t mind the name” she replied detecting my disappointment “it’s great at any age.”
And so I did what any insulted and panicked person would do, I said “oh sure, I understand, I’ll take it.”
We ended up having a “non birthday” dinner and chipping in for a special present for my sister. Despite her misgivings she was really touched.  I realize we all view age in different ways and you never know when it’ll seem like a blessing or when it’ll be a bitch.
Do you see age as a blessing or a bitch? What would you have done if confronted by the napkin trio? Have you ever been hurt by anyone commenting on your age? 
Congratulations to our Indian Cookbook winners Kristen "swankydietitian" and Marie

44 comments:

  1. BLESSING. life is only better at 43.

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  2. thanks for the reassurance, that's really how I feel but it was a strange and upsetting couple of days.

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  3. You're only as old as you think you are. You'll be able to celebrate your chronological age if you're mentally in a good place. Your 40's will be all about YOU!!! I see amazing years in your future.....

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  4. agree (and shocked first two comments so nicely grounded) but have you ever had moments of being bummed out? I wouldn't want to be 20 again but knee wrinkles?

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  5. Great post. I enjoy this quote: "Today is the oldest you've ever been, but the youngest you'll ever be." So when age feels like a bitch, you just need to flip it around and make the best out of where you are right now.
    As for the napkin trio, not sure what I would have done. Certainly wouldn't have given up my cab.

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  6. Life is a blessing. I don't love the crows feet by my eyes, but at 51 I feel that every day with my loved ones is a gift. At any age we have those days when we feel insecure about getting older. I think I would have felt the same way you did. There is such a thing called manners as you said.

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  7. I think you nailed it, I had one of those uh oh days/stretches but don't really feel old or dwell one it.

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  8. Pardon my french, but I would have cut the bitch in the napkin dress.

    By working with teenagers, I'm reminded daily that I'm not young. The seniors this year were born the year we graduated from college, which makes me hate them a little bit. But that said, I am so much happier w/ who I am as a person as I age. The 30s were better than my 20s, and I'm certain that my 40s will be better than my 30s. (Speaking of turning 40, I'm still going to ride a Mardi Gras float for my bday and would LOVE for you to join me!)

    Truth is, I cried when the makeup guy at Barneys suggested I switch to anti-aging products. Truth is that I resent the kids at school when they "discover" music from our teen and college years. (Why yes, I have heard of Nirvana.) But I'm happy for my health, for my success, and for my family. I also know that by looking at both of our moms, we have so much more to accomplish as we age.

    And don't forget moisturizer, water, good food, and good sex. These things keep us young.

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  9. framing is everything, huh? Great quote.

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  10. I have to say I wonder what would've happened if our taxi didn't come. Once we left, another friend had the bouncer "bounce" the trio. I'm in for the Mardi Gras float. Love "don't forget moisturizer, water, good food and good sex" to that I would add drink tea (white/green/black), eat seeds (hemp/sesame/sunflower) and embrace plank pose.

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  11. I forgot...thank you so much for the cookbook! Let me know if you need my address.

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  12. No way! I cannot believe that happened. Good for you for speaking up, I think I would have been too shocked to speak. But I would have yelled my head off in the cab 10 minutes later! Haha!


    I forgot you are so young. It's no surprise that things definitely do change in your 40's and not all of them are for the better. But for me, the happiness that the rest of my life at this stage offers allows me to look past the gray hair (hey! I make enough to afford to color it!) and the wobbly arms (lucky! I have the option of going to the gym to work them out!) I'd never trade my age now for my early 20's, no matter how cute I may have looked then!


    As for the anti-aging remedy, I remember getting an upsell from the dermatologist's assistant who was pushing Botox when I was in my mid-30's. It's not how you look, it's the salesperson using insecurity to sell stuff.

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  13. Initially I wasn't going to say anything but they were mean girls. Oh and we totally wish we had a business card from the "finance" napkin. At my derm, the nurse is so scary looking it makes it easy to keep my wrinkles. No thanks, I'll age before looking Halloweeny.

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  14. send to school or home?

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  15. There are things that are going to happen to you in the next 10-15 years that you have no idea how they will affect you. It's best to be gentle (not my strongest trait) and not say that age is just a number because it may, of course, have nothing to do with the age or the birthday itself. As for myself, I'm usually in the blessing category, but I certainly do not look like I did ten years ago in ways that are hard to take at times. That doesn't mean I'm unhappy. I am much more forgiving and accepting of myself and I think that's the real blessing: it sounds like most of us give up on picking ourselves apart at some point. Blessing!!

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  16. wow, love this Caron. Whether it's out of necessity or not, we are more realistic and understanding as we get older. I am not one to believe you get wiser but maybe we have more perspective? Thanks for this.

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  17. Let's do school. Thank you so so much!

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  18. I can't believe the attitudes some people have. I also love that you refer to them as napkins. I may be in the age range of 'napkins' 1-3, but I would never ever be so callous or classless to another person. Way to go for speaking up.

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  19. Nothing against napkin age, just napkin behavior, ha.

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  20. This is so interesting...I was thinking the same exact thing as Ali and I celebrated his 36th bday at the newly opened Mastro's 3rd Floor Penthouse. Talk about a young crowd...I also felt like I had too many clothes on!


    I envy your ability to confront people...good for you Lauren. Will glean more of this from you when we are neighbors...


    PS: You look amazing. No mature serum needed.

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  21. Bitch. Not because I have anything against aging, but because I'm coming on 35, and I don't think I'll ever have a baby. I think if I already had kids, I'd pick blessing, though! Birthdays are a gift.

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  22. Stephanie, I'm so sorry to hear you say this. I hope you have access to the right doctors or options to help you here. We can email outside of the blog.

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  23. Ha, yup I hear you as I was in blazer/jeans I thought- I am certainly dressing old for this location. That part I'm fine with. I don't know if confrontational is a good thing. I could see you being direct though, maybe you wouldn't have said titties. And I like the mature serum, so does Marc (whatever that means).

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  24. Good for you for responding like that. I love it—You're never too old or too young to have manners. I'm only in my mid-late 20's but I still don't get why so many women my age put all the goods on display. Maybe I'm old-fashioned or something, but what's wrong with leaving something to the imagination?

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  25. See, you can be young, have manners and wear clothes!

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  26. The "napkin trio" was nothing more than an example of an astounding lack of manners - which, as Jess points out, has nothing to do with age. Total lack of class, which, cannot be bought at Intermix or anywhere else.


    I'm really lucky that I look younger than I am - people are surprised when they find out my real age (chalk it up to Mom & Dad and lots of sunscreen) and that really helps mentally/emotionally. I love the knowledge and experience that comes along with age (growing up), but I will say, "maintenance" is a bitch (fanatical about sunscreen, more gym time, etc). Would I go back in time? Only if I could bring back everything I learned, but realistically, you have to move forward at some point. Besides, when you revisit something you thought was awesome, is it ever really as good as you remembered? Is that second sip of coffee in the morning really as amazing as the first?

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  27. This is something I've thought about a lot lately---at 34, newly single, and having just moved to LA (where nobody ages!), my age has been thrown in my face a lot. It's strange to me---but it's like I finally realized I'm not in the same age category as 25 year olds anymore. I looked for an apartment and briefly considered getting roommates (thank god I didn't do that....I mean, I'm WAY too old to share a bathroom with a roomie! ha), and the roommate ads all wanted people ages 22-30 or "early 30's" at most. Don't they know you can still be nice and "young" at 34? Maybe they should just meet me... but anyway, I ditched that idea in the end anyway.
    My mom loves getting older, and she's probably the least vain person I know (which somehow makes her more attractive). I like being the age I am...I know more now than I did before. I like who I am. My one "funny" feeling about it has to do with the fact that I'm not married and I don't have kids. I always felt like it would happen at the right time, and all of a sudden, I'm like, oh crap. I don't actually have unlimited time. But I suppose I'm old enough to (1) not settle out of fear and (2) realize I can be happy no matter what happens!


    I LOVE this post :-)

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  28. Thanks Lisa, I know what you mean about being in a different category. We're not old but we're older and that's a realization, I had something similar at 27, I was no longer just out of college. As for kids, we never know when things will happen or when it'll bother or not bother us. I have things career-wise that are just happening now I thought would happen younger etc. My mother isn't vain either/very confident and it's awesome. I would take aging over sharing a bathroom any day.

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  29. I like the maintenance, ha. All for moving forward and improving things. See Jen, I look younger too and I'm thinking maybe that gave me a false sense of not aging. These were my first "you're so old" comments. can I make a case for the second and third coffee sips?

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  30. um, I think the napkin girls would fit in so well on the strip, though they may get beat up, ha. Yes, you will be sent the cookbook, is your address on your blog, if not email it to katelynn@foodtrainers.net

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  31. many ways to stay young EA, as you said part of is is doing what makes you happy, part of it is trying new things and a big part is taking care of ourselves. The alternative? Not so good.

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  32. I suffered through infertility back when it wasn't a multi-million dollar industry, timelines were longer, and no one spoke of depression or of hope. Here's all I will say in the comments: I know the depth of the heartache and no one in the universe was more surprised than I to discover that at some point the pain began to lessen. If for any reason you want children and you do not get them, there is hope for life without them. No formula and the pain hasn't ended completely, but it is much more accepted in my heart these days. Hugs for you.

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  33. thank you for all your comments Caron, Clay Baboons words stayed with me. I love that we can all reach out and share/care.

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  34. I don't think of age in either way - it's really just a number and it's more about what my body is capable of doing and the state of my overall health. I guess I'll see how I feel about that when I'm past 40, I don't know. I cannot fathom what I would have said to those girls if confronted with such a situation but I can guarantee there would have been a lot of eye rolling and if they were lucky I would have gotten out most of my aggression by punching the heavy bag earlier in the day! I like that you're able to use the words "titties" and "manners" in the same sentence :)

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  35. I just turned 56 and have to say I wouldn't repeat my 20s, 30s, or 40s so I guess that means it's a blessing. Sure, my skin isn't what it used to be, but it looks pretty darn good compared to others my age. I think it's all about feeling good about my body, my brain, and staying young at heart. It's not about the number. The younger types you mentioned are a dime a dozen and not worth considering. But yes, I would have given them quite a bit of my attitude about their obnoxious junior high travel in pack behavior.

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  36. Lauren, I really enjoyed your piece, young one!


    A beautiful thought I recall from Mitch Elbom's 'Tuesdays With Morrie' is that an older person has in him all the younger versions of himself. How can you be jealous of younger people when you've already been there and done that?


    Aging is what happens when you live your life.


    What you do with your time is what matters.


    I think you and I share the same birthday, so whenever you feel old, know that I'm older, and I still feel oh so young.

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  37. Love "aging is what happens when you live your life." I am never jealous of anyone younger, guess I just didn't like being called "too old". Here's to feeling young and making our days count. 8/23? How did I not know? Just mentioned sparkling herbal water in a magazine interview.

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  38. you do look good kelly but more than that I love that you sound like you feel good. I think I hadn't had a mean girl run in in a while. I surround myself by pretty great people.

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  39. I can use lots of words that seemingly don't go together. I'm really not that "mature" after all. Thanks for commenting!

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  40. Your birthdays are 8/23? MY birthday is 8/23!

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  41. Andrea@WellnessNotesOctober 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Great post and questions and great discussions! I'm always so late commenting on posts these days, which actually turns out to be great as I get to read all the comments... Oh, and it appears we share a birthday! But I am of course quite a bit older... :)

    I think age is a blessing. As you point out, I think it has a lot to do with where you are at in life. If you are happy with your life, age and wrinkles and all the rest won't matter. However, I have to say that just to "feel the same" (i.e. without aches and pains) much more "work" is required these days. In other words, I can't afford to miss my yoga and barre classes as I otherwise may have literally trouble moving... And I could do without the hormone roller coaster (which can be tricky to manage)...

    I have two good friends who are close to 20 years older than I am, and they are great role models. They have aged very gracefully. They are fun, classy, silly, and "act their age" in a good way.

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  42. I think it's a bitch physically and a blessing emotionally. So long as you can keep emotional distance on the physical shit than you are fine. I can't. I hate aging in all forms and I hate that my new apartment with it's abundant natural light has revealed wrinkles I didn't know I had. Ah...the cliche is true, "youth is wasted on the young."

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  43. MY apartment isn't bright, part of me felt I had aged without knowing it.

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