Women of a Certain Age

Beth Brophy Health Guide
  • March is a very social time of the year for me. Two of my close friends share almost the exact mid-March birthday--although different years--so between us we have quite a few celebratory lunches and dinners in the works. And while we are all three women of a certain age, i.e. as the youngest, my 50th took place two years ago, I notice that they don’t quite share my zeal for marking the occasion. “You really want to celebrate that I’m turning 55?” asked S. “It’s so damn depressing.” “Not as depressing as the alternative,” I reminded her.

    I doubt anyone would accuse me, ever, of being a Pollyanna or, god forbid, looking on the bright side. And I’m as vain as the next person. But I truly don’t understand why so many women I know, woman who are smart and funny and healthy and generally happy, dread getting older. So we are getting wrinkles, and gravity is wreaking havoc on some body parts, and our daughters look a hell of a lot better than we do. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? And let me stipulate that these two particular friends look great, and are both trim and pretty.
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    Even before my cancer experience, which made me question whether I would ever reach my 50th birthday, much less my 52nd, I viewed each birthday as a victory lap. (Read my blog about reaching the 10-year mark after being diagnosed.) Generally, except for the physical ailments and the wear and tear, I like getting older. I feel much more comfortable with who I am. I wouldn’t want to be striving and searching and working as hard as I used to and feeling as uncertain as I did in my 20s, or even my 30s again, for anything. (Well, maybe not anything. I’d love to have my 20 year old or even my 30 year old body. Who wouldn’t?). But if the tradeoff for more inner peace is more outer wear and tear, I’ll take it.

    So happy birthday to my two wonderful friends. I hope we have many more years of celebrating our birthdays, and our wrinkles, together.

    One more thing: I've got a new book recommendation for you. This is self-serving as I’m one of the contributors, but I highly recommend a new anthology called Mommy Wars, by Leslie Morgan Steiner, Random House. It’s about the choices women make in their lives, and a few of the essays, like mine, talk about having cancer. Recommend other good books in our message boards.
Published On: March 10, 2006