Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fifty is Not Old For a Tree



(This is a picture of an ancient tree in Stanley Park in Vancouver. It's still there, you can walk inside it.)

A good friend of mine has turned fifty with much grace and fanfare. "After all", she laughed, "Fifty is not old...for a tree".

A group of friends (all women) toasted her new decade by drinking champagne and eating chocolate in a hot-tub, while a November storm blew around us and the blue herons called from the beach down below. We toasted the mothers who gave birth to us: after all, THEY are the ones who did all the work on our original birthday.

Afterwards, climbing steaming from the wonderful water, we ate fantastic food as we sat by the roaring fireplace. We were a scandalously-clad bunch, clad in towels, and er, less than towels. One woman wore flannel bunny pyjamas and felt she was overdressed somehow.

"I've never been at such a informally attired dinner party", I had to admit.

We talked long into the night, this wonderful group of women and I. Not a person in the house except for me was younger than forty-nine. They were all beautiful, strong, talented women..and proud to be their age. It was refreshing.

Two nights ago I was at another birthday party. It was fun, grandly fun, but one thing puzzled me. Everybody there thought they were old. This time, the birthday girl was turning thirty-one, and the guests ranged in age from early twenties all the way up to..well, let's just say I was the most elderly thing alive in the room at age thirty-three.

There was much talk of aging and wrinkles and the horror of being called a "cougar", an older woman trying to date younger men.

I wanted to say, nay, DID say: good lord, people! you are NOT old! This is the prime of our lives and it's getting better and better. We have such potential.

15 comments:

the Monk said...

indeed...that was a great post...

blackcrag said...

Hey, I just visited that tree last spring! I have pictures of one of my mothers and myself standing in it to prove it.

You know, that’s how I want to spend my next birthday, in a hot tub with several women “clad in towels, and er, less than towels” (when not in the tub). What a wonderfully discreet way of putting it. Though somehow, I envision my companions… younger… than these grand ladies you kept company with.

Age is a matter of perspective, and we are at that pivotal time where heedless youth runs into headlong into wary ‘age’. Our culture obsesses over youth, as if being young is somehow a privilege only bestowed on a few. In our thirties we accept that we are not ‘young’ anymore, and switch our perspective in life accordingly. Or life changes our perspective… the needs of holding steady jobs or building careers, buying homes, raising families and losing other family members.

I believe these grand ‘old’ dames have the right perspective on age: it’s not how old your engine is, but where you’ve driven it. I’m guessing these ladies have driven down some great roads. Here’s to them (and the birthday girl) having many more miles to go!

Connie and Rob said...

Wish I could have attended the first party with you. Now that sounds fun. Confident women helping others to feel good about themselves...that is what it is all about. Acceptance will make us much happier.
Connie

Grant said...

Remember, cheese improves with age. Wine improves with age. It's not your fault you aren't wine or cheese. :p

I say that, then I obsess over my own age (36). I often feel like I haven't accomplished enough with the years I've been given, and I should be farther in life than I am. Still, I try to remind myself to take comfort in one of my favorite quotes: "Each new day is another chance to turn it all around."

Jayleigh said...

Isn't it silly how age is so relative?

The hot tub party where everyone was comfortable in their own skin sounds ever so much more delighful.

Have a great day and thank you for your comment on my blog. :-)

Rachel said...

The hot tub sounds great! Glad you had a good time!

Being 30-ish isn't old at all. (neither is 50). But age is viewed differently by different people. No one wants to get older but then that's life, or else we wouldn't be living, so we have to make the moments count!

[Mat] said...

I wish I had seen that tree. :)

The hot-tub seems nice.

about that thirty-something age. I think, and always have and will think that women get their best at this age.

They (usually) look proud, complete, healthy and damn hot. Never have I seen that look in the eyes of younger women. Sure, the body is tight. but the eyes do it all... Never before my gf had I seen that look of complete hotness.

Women are so beautiful:)

Bill said...

Uhhh... My mom is 50ish. Don't tell her I said that tho. I try not to take youth for granted, and i hope I don't sound condecending when I say that. I try to enjoy "the best years of my life". Rigghhhtttt.... w/e. Anyway i short I am trying to "drive my engine" as far as I can while I am young, and will continue to drive when I'm old.

PBS said...

Yup, funny how that perspective changes with more years!

Mel said...

50 is the new 40 they say! Thank god cuz I am staring at 50 now, it wont be long...

Wendy C. said...

What a wonderful story! I hope to be reconciled to the aging process by the 50th anniversary of my birth!

PS. Don't let anyone lie to you! Being a Cougar is cool (I married my prey!)

melanie said...

was that our party, because I missed that part I think.

I'm feeling confident at 30, but I'd be interested how the 50+ women felt leaving their 20's.. perhaps the acceptance comes as we grow in years and in wisdom.

Weary Hag said...

You know, the more of your posts I read, the more comfy I feel here ... love the way you think!

And being a 50 year old isn't all that bad. Yet, for some strange reason, when I turned 30, I was more disturbed over it. I remember that very well ...

SkyeBlue2U said...

Sexteen opps sixteen more days to the 50. Your post made me feel good. Thank you.

The Thinking Man's Babe said...

Great post...honestly, I just turned 40 and I feel younger now than I did at 30 and 20. More money. More confidence. More freedom. Also, more attention from the opposite sex, which is amusing and bemusing. But it only proves that confidence and self assurance are the sexiest features anyone can possess.