Like any seven-year-old, my daughter cannot wait to be a teenager. Her target age: nineteen.
“Mom, does this headband make me look nineteen?” Absolutely. And you could add another year if you detached the Minnie Mouse ears.
“Mom, look at my ballet slippers.” (Extending her foot with a lovely pointed toe.) “Do my legs look nineteen?”
“Listen, Mom, listen. Does this song make me sound–” Yes, sweetheart, yes, singing “We Are The Dinosaurs” at the top of your lungs absolutely makes you sound nineteen.
I’m not sure why she targeted that particular age. Nineteen was certainly not my best year. I was in my third year of college, a good forty pounds overweight, struggling to know more, do more and be more than I was comfortable with.
Nineteen was almost thirty years ago. Now I’m trying to look younger, feel younger and still trying to do more than I am comfortable with. Not that I want to be nineteen again. Noooo thank you. But forty-two…yeah, that was a great year.
“Hey, world, if I wear this makeup, do I look 42 again?”
“If I lose ten pounds, will I look 42? Will you like me better? Take me more seriously? Hire me?”
Recently, I was with the twenty-five-year-old niece of a dear friend. When I say the girl is stunningly beautiful, I am issuing a gross understatement. And yet she felt it necessary to have her first BOTOX injection at 24. Apparently that is no longer uncommon; you get a head start on wrinkle prevention that way.
Annette Bening was my acting teacher twenty-six years ago. She was, by far, the most confident woman I had ever met. Today, she is one of the few actresses of her generation with the guts to age gracefully. She is, by all accounts, the very hands-on mother to four young people. Google her, and you will find that she spends a great deal of her time giving back to her community in addition to conducting what has amounted to a thoughtful, intelligent and wildly successful career.
Check the imdb boards, and you will discover that she is being slammed–rudely–for daring to age naturally. One poster wrote that Warren Beatty is now “too good for her.” Another brain trust labeled her “a hag.”
Great. These are probably people who get tattoos and piercings so they can be unique. I’m not knocking that, but guess what? Aging naturally in Hollywood is probably as unique anyone is going to get.
I wonder if a woman posted the crack about Warren Beatty or the uber-intelligent hag comment? Lord, I hope not.
Annette: You glow, woman. And may I say, “Thank you” for living the wisdom of taking yourself seriously…but not too seriously. And for spending more time working to improve the world instead of your own skin.
Libbi, my darling daughter: Slow down, baby. There’s plenty of time. Live the moment, because the time that yawns endlessly now will someday seem achingly brief. And you don’t want to miss a second by trying to be someone else. (Or even an older–or younger–version of yourself.
Note to me: Ditto.