Clark Gable and Lady Sylvia Ashley on their Hawaiian honeymoon, 1949
One of the most beautiful aspects of life at “a certain age” is coming into a kind of confident focus. I find that I am less easily flustered on a daily basis and there’s precious little that really bothers me in my little realm (baring global warming, cruelty to animals and the like). And most glorious: I don’t really care much about what anyone else thinks of me. Oh, the freedom, the release!
It used to take me hours to prepare for a party or an outing. I would try on a myriad of outfits trying to produce the perfect one that would be flattering and stylish, giving me the self-esteem I lacked. I’d catch myself not saying many of the things that went through my mind in conversation for fear it might be inappropriate, not witty enough or misconstrued.
But more recently, I have morphed into that woman who wears whatever makes her happy and has no filter, sometimes saying wildly misunderstood and slightly unsuitable things to complete strangers. I just simply can’t be bothered anymore. And I’m having a blast!
I suppose when you realize you’re at the halfway point on this journey, it’s a kind of wake up call. Life is a limited engagement. When you’re young and just starting, it’s all stretched out before you so vast and limitless and full of possibility. But when the sands in the hourglass start to balance, you realize you’d better make the last half count, that there is a finish line to this marathon.
I think Silky understood the concept of a woman’s expiration date, especially since attracting a man was her goal. She took great pains to remain alluring and successfully snagged the bachelor of her era, Clark Gable, in her forties. I enjoy keeping fit and being active, dressing well (most of the time). But it’s because it gives ME pleasure to take pride in my appearance. It’s not for anybody else, although I do enjoy the male attention it gets me.
We live in a consumer culture that worships our youth because they lack discernment and can be sold to more easily. But once a person reaches a certain point in their lives, they’ve seen enough to know what really matters…and it’s not a new car or what so and so wore to a party or the latest celebrity gossip (although those things can be quite entertaining). Our culture’s version of “sexy and hot” are trendy and fleeting, designed for consumption. In my travels through this mortal coil, I’ve come to realize that connectedness and generosity are the fashions I follow. And that the sexiest, most attractive trait in another human being is kindness.