Mary D., age 73

This is what 73.8mo looks like on me! 

Whenever I hear: Oh, you don’t look that old! Or, No-matter, 73 is the new 53! Hahaha- I now bristle.

It took me some time to be mindful of how ageism encourages us to hide our truth. Invites us to feel shameful, less than worthy. Persuades us to must-spend lots of money on anti-aging products. These are some of my grassroots examples of ageism at work. It’s the everyday stuff we don’t necessarily notice, but the consequences sure do pile up.

As I become aware of the ways we are asked to participate in our own invisibility as women aging/ growing old, I put an end to it. This is what 73.8mo looks like on me!  Self-depreciating friends in their 80s know I’ll jump in to reframe and say aloud, Really, 85 looks pretty damn good on you!

I grew up in an era where women felt a need to hide their age or lie about it. It was considered rude to ask the question, “How old are you?”  As a result, many of us came to these later decades of life not knowing that aging into 70-80-90 can be vibrant decades for women. Now I know when someone responds with, You don’t look ___!  They often have no idea how that number dresses up a woman! The mindset is usually based on an age stereotype of the “yuck/ pity factor,” (to quote Ashton Applewhite).

Let’s age for who we are, not for what others think we should be.

Mary D. has the privilege of 40 years living in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, a poet and writer. She has developed and facilitated programs for Women’s Radical Aging Groups, (WRAG) since she REFIRED (not a typo) in 2016.