Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Fear of Fifty
This weekend while waiting to have lunch with friends, I was browsing through Powell's books store and my eyes caught the title, Fear of Fifty, by Erica Jong. Although this book met with mixed reviews, it was the title that triggered a feeling of disgust. Once we approach middle age, women, in general, fear and/or are encouraged to fear those little signs of aging. We have a storehouse of anti-aging products, not to mention the availability of cosmetic surgery and shelves of self-help books to help us love ourselves despite our aging exteriors. That in itself is annoying and saddening, but it sort of pissed me off. I, and perhaps people like me, are not at all fearful of fifty. We are, in fact, fearful of not reaching fifty. In my mind, let fifty come with the wrinkles, dry skin, grey hair, sagging breasts and booty, and menopause - I don't care. I just want to make it with my faculties intact and with the ability to enjoy a good book and a conversation with my friends. The thing is, death is out there for all of us, always available, always possible, every day. So why do we fear fifty? Or any other age, for that matter? A pox on all people who get 'work done' in the effort to look younger. Our values are askew. We need to re-think them. Seriously.