How old am I again?


Tomorrow is my birthday. I will turn 44. Oh no, wait, I will turn 45! This is how I respond in most forms I have filled out since I turned 40. I find myself writing a different age than I am, many times younger, but sometimes older too. I do it unconsciously; they would know my real age anyway from my ID. It must be related to that old saying “You're as old as you feel” and, nowadays, I feel ageless.

Ageless in the way of no longer connecting my identity and level of well being to my chronological age. I have stopped worrying about whether my friends think that I look younger, which was a compliment I adored getting during my 30’s, and no longer strive to look like the picture of a younger me that used to hang on my fridge as a motivation for my workouts.

Still, my body reminds me everyday that I am aging and my birth date says it is time to check the dreaded next age box in magazine surveys, my skin and hair needs are definitely changing and like the Shakira song says: “hips don’t lie” - and mine are very honest these days!

At the same time, I feel better than ever. I feel the most energized I have felt in years (my preschooler probably has something to do with that too!), I have finally mastered the “Teaser” Pilates move, I have found the best hair color for my complexion, and I know which fashion styles bring out my “inner goddess”.

I finally feel ageless, most importantly, age-careless! Nevertheless, I am very aware that changes are happening and will continue to happen because of aging. Am I the only one feeling this gap between my better-than-ever state of soul, body, and mind and the older me? It doesn’t seem so from the conversations among my circle of friends, where it is a recurring theme. However, it seems to be something not many products and brands out there are yet acting on.

In fashion, to feel ageless and wanting to be on-trend, means that most of the time you need to be a size 2 and have no hips. In the beauty category, most products are focused on making us look 30 again and very few recognize instead our new needs to help us look our best at 40+. Brands, products, the media: they are all daily reminders of how old we are and how great it is to be or stay young and the negatives of aging. They disrupt our ability to reach an ageless mindset, which, as studies have suggested, can be “advantageous to optimal living”.

The good news is that I, and if you are thinking the same way, we, are not alone. Beyond being a topic at many of my ladies’ nights, there are several big organizations and powerful public women that are also talking about it and doing something about it. For instance, Allure magazine has stopped using the term “anti-aging” and challenged the beauty industry to do the same. The mantra is not new, American poet Emily Dickinson already wrote in the 1800s: “We turn not older with years, but newer every day”.

So tomorrow I will blow out 45 candles (I know, that’s many candles and lots of wax on the cake, but it’s a fun family tradition!) and make my yearly wish. I might also just add a second wish this time: that the ageless movement can expand and become stronger. That society, the media and brands accept and support us without stereotypes, perhaps even strengthen us. Maybe for my next birthday there will be more and more products on the shelves that address our aging needs and help us feel ageless, so I can keep asking myself: how old am I again?