Younger at 40: Old is just a label

I hadn’t expected my life to turn out as beautifully as it did. A kid and an adoring husband. Book club on weekends, and picnics on sunny days. I was the lady in the movies, glistening in the background. Happier than the leads. But soon I came to a realisation that perhaps I was avoiding for longer than I care to agree to. I was old. I was actually the lady they talk about in the Olay advertisements. The saggy old hag that you need to avoid becoming. Their anti-aging creams lying to us just as our mothers did. “It all gets better as you grow old”, they said. What lies!

I am Colette, and here is my take on aging. I hate it, but I’m getting used to it.

Let me begin by saying it ain’t a ball, ladies. I am tired all the time! I am failing at yoga, if that’s even possible? (I don’t bend like the others do). I read books just so that my peers won’t judge me for being ‘unaware of my surroundings’. My husband orders wine for me when we go out with friends because it’s a woman’s drink (apparently he hasn’t figured it out that we live in the 21st century). My breasts are saggy, and I haven’t had sex for so long that I am pretty sure that the hymen is growing back. Menopause is killing me while burning me alive. I am tired of cooking dinner for my family, and I’m tired of pretending to enjoy small talks with my other perfect friends. And how is it that Angelina Jolie is about my age and she looks like a doll?!

So, to help you understand where I am coming from or maybe just because I need to tell this to someone, let me tell you a story. I did something I wasn’t supposed to. I went around and had a little affair. I met him in yoga class, the one I was failing. He was my teacher, I stayed back to learn the Uttanasana, and one thing led to another and so it began. The most satisfying two weeks of my life until Mary Kai saw us together going at it in the storage closet. And I was labelled a cougar.

It hadn’t occurred to me before, his age I mean. To me it was about the attention he gave me, the attention I missed from my busy and equally tired husband. No doubt what I did was wrong. I cheated on my husband, a terrible thing I regret. The divorce is going fine by the way. He is dating his secretary now (as he did for a year, just out in the open now is what I meant). Not many judgments directed towards him, at least not explicitly.

Now I am living my life as a divorcee woman. But the rumours and gossip have started to get to me!

So, I write to ask you all something, riddle me this, if age is just a number then why does mine matter so much? If consensual sex is nobody’s business then why does it make me a cougar? If every body type is beautiful, then why are my saggy breasts, wrinkled skin stuffed down a spanx, and child birth survived loose vagina, disgusting? You can lust, and have every right to hate the label whore. I follow desire and I am having a mid-life crises?!

After you cross a certain age, people start assuming you’re old news and expect you to retire away from the world. Have a peaceful life, eating the fruits of the trees we planted in our youth. But my tree is still branching, despite the end of my youth. And I want to live, I want to live till I am alive. I don’t want to be declared old news. I still have a few more mistakes to make. And I still have enough love to give to fascinating men for fickle moments.

Why should I be your older reliable friend? I am the protagonist of my story, and let me tell you it’s a blockbuster! I am ageing as badly as you can imagine -trying my best to get in terms with this- but I don’t want to fix my ageing skin or pop vitamins and heart medicine by the fireplace like you expect me to (Fortunately, I have my father’s genes and I am healthy as a horse).

I don’t want to do yoga and wait for my kid to call me once a week. I definitely don’t want to work on my stitching skills, or leave recipes as legacy. My legacy should be something colossal, something that I had fun making.

I guess what I am trying to say is ladies, I am tired of being just a wife, a mother and a friend. I want more, I want to be a lover, someone who turns you on. I want to try adventure sports, and not worry about my weak bones. I want to try restaurants and drink exotic drinks, not host boring parties. I want to see the world again and do more with my sunny days than picnics.

So if you understand where I am getting at or where I am coming from, that’s great! Otherwise, you can label me like you label others, an oldie with a few good years left. But I’ll keep living my life, reckless or meticulous, the way I want to. That is of course until you find me in an urn on a shelf. But until death comes running my way, I won’t let the world kill me with a number.

  • Written bySabah Batul

    Sabah Batul is a journalism student currently living in Bangalore. Her journey as a writer began in her English class as she was forced to write an essay. Soon she fell in love with writing and deeply enjoyed birthing characters and stories through the tip of her pen. Sabah also enjoys writing poetry to make sense of the chaos around her. Her Instagram @sabah_on_paper is a raw description of her deepest thoughts. Apart from writing she is a proud Potter head, who claims to be the lost Winchester sister and is also supporting Tyrion Lannister to sit on the Iron Throne next.


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