Humor has two homes – pain and happiness. Great happiness. Happiness that is secure to the point of silliness. But even that happiness has to have in it the spice of pain to give it tang. Otherwise it is Disney with plastic gravitas, angel food cake without strawberries, sensible shoes in brown, and blandness masquerading as naiveté.
The question is: when you are a woman of a certain age, what are you? Society is still figuring this out even as we women of that age are living it.
We are, in fact, changing the paradigm. We are no longer crones, though we have immense wisdom. Scary wisdom. Be afraid.
And, sorry, but those of us who are in shape are not all cougars. You may be attracted to us, to your immense bafflement, but we don’t wear leopard skin Spanx and most of us are not trying to seduce boys. If they get seduced, it’s their own problem, not ours. We’re interested in lovers who are not afraid of us and who know the depths of love because they have depth in themselves. Otherwise stay away.
Being “a certain age” is a no-woman’s land of just being who we are. A tad unfair. Teenagers have prescribed roles, millennials have prescribed roles, young parents have prescribed roles, people of middle-age have their prescribed crises, and then there are women 60 and over.
We have made it through marriages, divorces, betrayals, illnesses, children, disappointments, poverty, prejudice, injuries, and successes. We have made it through being beautiful and being ugly. We have made it through seeing that the world will not be devoid of pain – ours and others – in our lifetimes. We have made it through seeing what our work has or has not done to change the world for the better.
We have forgotten more people and more lovers and more crises than any other group, and we savor beauty and remember EXACTLY what and who we should remember. When my granddaughter at 4 years of age sings out “Let It Go,” she has no idea that we say this to ourselves every single day. Every time we look in the mirror, every time we feel pain, every time we want to cry. We let the tears come, and then the laughter. We KNOW how to “let it go.”
And one day we stop worrying that we don’t have role models except Gloria S. and Tina T. and Elizabeth (Warren), and a few others … oh, wait, there is a list! Yes, of course, and each is uniquely herself.
And we are suddenly able to be goofy in the face of what is and what was – and not because we mumble to ourselves or don’t know any better. No, it’s because we do know. We have learned how important “goofy” is. It is freedom not to be a crone, not to be a cougar, but to be magnificently ourselves.
Here’s looking at you, kid.