Surprising Revelation: Uncovering My Age Shocks Everyone, But It’s Far from Flattering

How old do you think Terri is?

My friends and I love playing a game where they try to guess my age. It always leads to an awkward pause as they carefully look me over. Guessing too high risks insulting me, while guessing too low seems like pandering. The point of the game is to fail, and I always enjoy the laughs when they guess wrong. However, I’ve always been the one to reveal my actual age because it feels like an accusation if I don’t.

Everyone is surprised when they find out they were wrong, but they never realize just how wrong they were. Their jaws drop, their eyes widen, and their eyebrows shoot up like birds startled off a wire. And then, without fail, they say, “You look great for your age.” It’s a universal reaction when someone’s actual age is older than what you thought.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered by the compliments. But it was cute when I was 39 and people thought I was 27. Now that I’m 50, it just feels different. What used to be a fun fact now elicits shock, and I wish I had done something more interesting to earn it.

People often ask me how I look so young, as if I’ve achieved some kind of trick or death-defying feat. But as Seinfeld once said, all I did was not die another year. Speaking on behalf of women nearing 50 and beyond, I have a request: please stop being shocked by our ages. It doesn’t help. In fact, we’re already shocked ourselves. Aren’t you just a little incredulous about your own age?

As we get used to the idea of our current age, it changes once again. We’re constantly adjusting to a new reality. I’m guilty of the same curiosity, asking questions about celebrities’ ages and comparing them to iconic characters from years gone by. But this constant comparison leaves very little room for regular women like me. We’re either expected to be like Bea Arthur when we turn 45 or deemed failures if we don’t look like J.Lo at 54. It’s an extreme dichotomy that doesn’t leave space for the average woman.

Maybe the shock we feel about aging is a reflection of our denial or fear, or both. With the average lifespan reaching 73 and even older for women, it shouldn’t be surprising to turn 49, 53, or 60. If you’re lucky, you will reach those ages. The truth is, I don’t just look good for my age. I look good, period. Some of it is due to genetics, some to privilege that affords me excellent healthcare and hair color. I also made choices that resulted in less stress and more sleep. Of course, I maintain a healthy lifestyle too. Overall, I have many factors working in my favor, some earned and some not.

I have plenty of friends who also look fantastic, and they would rather share tales of their experiences than reveal their graduation year. They fear debunking the illusion of youth and fertility, which we believe defines our cultural worth. We still cling to the idea that a woman’s vitality and power are tied to her ability to conceive. These deeply ingrained beliefs are patriarchal in nature, and it’s why we should be grateful when someone still finds us attractive or prefers “mature” women. But let’s be real, it’s not okay.

In her book “Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life,” psychologist and mythologist Sharon Blackie reminds us that fertility isn’t the norm for the entirety of our lives. From around fifteen to forty, we have approximately twenty-five fertile years out of an average lifespan of eighty. It’s a relatively short window, yet we’ve decided that it defines our worth. For decades, menopause has been pathologized and seen as a problem to be solved instead of a natural stage we pass through.

If you feel weird about turning 50 or any other age, it’s probably because you think your power has an expiration date. But how do you define power? Youth has its own kind of power, but as we age, different forms of power emerge. There’s a certain weight and authority that come with age, and it feels empowering to use it to put those who dismiss us in their place.

I had a memorable experience when working as a brand consultant for a major financial institution. The client, an older white man, asked if people took me seriously because of my youthful appearance. I challenged him to guess my age, and when he got it wrong, it changed his perception. It’s not just men who make these assumptions, women do it too. And I must admit, I love it when someone assumes I’m too young to remember something, only for me to prove them wrong. It changes the way they look at me, and I find it quite enjoyable.

The author of this piece, Alice G Patterson, shares her thoughts on power and aging in her book “Hagitude: Reimagining the Second Half of Life”. She believes that the power we thought we had as young women was actually a delusion imparted by a society that made us believe its needs should be our aspirations. Compliance and achievement were celebrated as long as we didn’t disrupt the norm. Our power doesn’t come from fooling people into thinking we’re younger; it comes from embracing who we truly are, going full throttle, being unapologetically ourselves, and caring less about most things.

I don’t plan on “letting myself go,” but I have started letting go of the world with all its petty grievances, made-up rules, egos, and demands. It’s liberating to release ourselves from the shackles of society. Our fear of aging is not just a result of patriarchal culture but also limited imagination. If we believe that our power stops at turning heads, then our vision is lacking. I’m already loving being 50 because I can focus on what I truly want instead of adhering to old roles and expectations. Fooling people into thinking I’m younger is just a fun party trick, not a goal in itself. We have so much more to offer than just a youthful appearance. Let’s save our shock and awe for what we’ll do next, not despite our age, but because of it.


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Denial of responsibility! Vigour Times is an automatic aggregator of Global media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, and all materials to their authors. For any complaint, please reach us at – [email protected]. We will take necessary action within 24 hours.
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