This Ballerina Loves Her Wrinkles. He lit five cigarettes but somehow missed mine. And quick as lightning, I went: "Did you think I was here for the company? If that had happened to me in my 20s, I would have fizzled out like a dud firecracker. Was it my race or age that had made me invisible?
- Margaret Morganroth Gullette: Against “Aging” – How to Talk about Growing Older?
- Age Becomes Her: The Unexpected Freedom Of Growing Older.
- Getting IT: Using information technology to empower people with communication difficulties.
- What Works on Wall Street, Fourth Edition: The Classic Guide to the Best-Performing Investment Strategies of All Time;
Race has always been my fallback explanation for rudeness from an interlocutor, however unfairly, but the idea of age was new. I realised that this invisibility gave me a new freedom. It is a freedom that allows me to walk late at night without fear. This is not to suggest that older women are not the targets of sexual violence but there is a steep fall in male attention. It is truly liberating not having to worry about the footsteps echoing behind you. When an older man in the park stared lecherously and threw the phrase "Fifty Shades of Grey" at me, I was so surprised that I accidentally made eye contact with him, a response I had studiously avoided for years.
I used to buy meat from a halal butcher staffed by mainly young Pakistani men whose hormones could have fuelled a Harley-Davidson. Once when I asked them the Urdu word for kidneys, someone yelled out goliyan , the word for testicles, and everybody laughed. I actually knew what that word meant. I resolved never to go back. The staff had changed and were very respectful.
It was only when one of them addressed me as "aunty" that I realised I had crossed the Rubicon. They were all still clones of the men who had served me years ago. Only I had changed.
Another watershed was when I was invited to speak about black women's activism in the s, particularly my involvement with Outwrite, an anti-racist, anti-imperialist, feminist newspaper, at an event celebrating the history of black feminism. Being comfortable in your own skin is the biggest gift of the advancing years. We are all plagued by fears and uncertainties but they are aggravated by youth. Perhaps it is also gendered because many of the young men I knew came across as cocky and self-assured. If only I had taken these fears in hand, overcome them, opened doors and wandered into spaces, owned them and expanded them all those years ago, where might I have been now?
So young people should feel empowered by that knowledge.
Growing Up Today (or the Lack Thereof)
I avoided public speaking for years, turning down invites with some excuse or another. I was afraid of coming across as inarticulate. At the very least I wanted my spoken self to be as polished as my written self. It was only when my first sole-authored book, Enslaved , on modern day slavery, was published in in my early 50s and there was no one else who could speak for the book, that I had to take the reins myself.
On one occasion when I had left my speech at home, I was forced to speak off the cuff and discharged myself quite honourably. It was easier than I had imagined. A public space expanded and owned! Oh, the joy. The other thing that happens as you get older is that your relationship with time changes. Time speeds up.
I hold back the rush of years by marking each year with one significant event; it might be a performance of my work, a publication of a book, a birth or death of someone close. It would be boring to look at the same face in the mirror for 80 years. For many women, this is when everything comes together, and they look better than ever. There is nothing you can do about it, so you might as well embrace it.
The fact that I made it to 30 and then 40 was big enough. I feel lucky that parts are being written for someone my age and I am around to play them. You feel wiser. You feel more mature. You feel like you know yourself better. You would trade that for softer skin? Not me! Getting older is awesome — because you get more practice. There is nothing you can do to stop it so you might as well stay on the bus.
You suddenly realize that you are what you set out to be. And there are no role models any more. The young have not yet attained adulthood. The young must learn to appreciate the wisdom of elderly people and learn from their life experiences. You can do what you want to do. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.
If You And Your Partner Do These 11 Small Things, You're Meant To Grow Old Together
Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough. The older she gets the more interested he is in her. I just watch what they do. If you deny that, you deny your heritage. I think that what happens early on in life is that at a certain age one stands still and stagnates. I want to have good posture, I want to be healthy and be an example to my children. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am.
Carl Honore | NEW book out now!
People who tell me their age are silly. We are no longer in the past, we have arrived. In old age, difficulties run into us. We grow old by deserting our ideals.
Related So What? So were growing older ...
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved