I know that elsewhere in the world the view of older or aging women has changed. You know, “50 is the new 30” and all of that. But I live in the midwest. Here, we catch on to things slowly. Middle aged women still smack a bit of short mom-do’s, denim jumper skirts and appliqué birdhouse sweatshirts. I remember thinking how that would never happen to me.
I’m here today to say:
Never Say Never
As I get older I am realizing that this is a very slippery slope that I started on at some point and seem to be gaining momentum. I’m not sure when it started. Maybe it was the day I had kids and started driving a minivan. No longer could I be carefree about the length of my tops but worried incessantly, wearing tank tops and layers to make sure my mom belly and stretch marks are forever hidden from society. Maybe it started sooner than that when I deemed myself “too old” to wear my wide leg l.e.i. pants and vintage Shawn Cassidy t-shirt. I had a real job and felt I should try to look the part – perhaps that first bit of responsibility started the ball rolling.
Regardless, it has begun. I’m a fist shaker- you know that older person shaking their fists at young kids mumbling about what hooligans they are and how they need to pull up their pants (or buy looser ones in the case of all those damn emo kids). I’m that lady aghast at what the young girls wear out to the mall. I’m the old person, tired and leaving downtown at 10:30 on a Friday night as all the young kids are just starting to go out. I’m the old one bitching about how loud it is at the bar/restaurant. I’m the one starting sentences with “When I was your age”. I feel out of touch with real music. I recognize songs I used to listen to as a kid now played on the oldies channel.
I know, you’re like “Kelly, you’re only 36!” and I’m all like “I know, right! Damn.” Doesn’t make it any less true. I don’t know that I would have thought too much about it if it wasn’t for Tuesday.
“What happened Tuesday?” you ask; well, I attended my first ever meeting of the St Paul Needleworkers Guild.
The SPNG is the regional chapter for the Embroiders’ Guild of America. I’m always interested in learning new things and the EGA allows for correspondence classes and certifications (because I’m a nerd like that), the only catch is you have to be a member. To be a member you need to go through your local chapter- hence my checking out the SPNG meeting on Tuesday.
Now I’ve joked before about how embroidering makes me feel like an old lady. It’s true, it does. So does the need for my magnifying glasses when I work. And let’s not forget my extensive cardigan collection and hermit like tendencies. Well, let me tell you that there is nothing like attending your local EGA chapter to make you feel young again. I mean, I was the youngest person there by a good 15-20 years. Hah!
When I first started thinking about it, I was a bit scared. I mean, do I really want to be that middle aged lady in the quilted, appliqué holiday vest? But as I sat with those wonderful women I realized that becoming middle aged isn’t so bad; really it is freedom. Because if you think about it, letting go of all that other stuff is just setting yourself free. Trying to keep your cool & be hip, looking or dressing a certain way or act a certain way is just a confinement we subscribe to. These women are doing what they want because it’s what THEY want. They are wearing what makes them happy. They are wearing what makes them comfortable instead of what makes them “cute”. Anyone who has worn heels knows that cute does NOT necessarily equal comfort. I mean, who is it we are trying to impress?
But besides all of that outside stuff, here was a bunch of women who had struggled through their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and some even their 50’s & 60’s, and come out better. They were genuine and welcoming. There was no ego or weird competition to be the best looking/mother/woman in the room. I have never felt so loved or supported as I did sitting with this group of women- a group ready to encourage, to lift up, to teach.
So it’s official. I’m skipping this whole middle age bullshit and jumping right into old age. I say 70 is the new 30, bitches. And if you see me rocking an appliqué sweatshirt and elastic waist pants with a handy-dandy tissue tucked into my elastic banded watch on my way to my next SPNG meeting, well, you can just eat shit and die of jealousy because I’ve found enlightenment.