I'm 47 years old, 20 pounds away from my optimal weight (if I were the heavy weight champion of the world), and in dire need of some kind of a "What Not to Wear" fashion intervention from Stacey and Clinton. A dynamic duo who in a strangely metaphorical way are not unlike me - or at least the way I've been feeling lately - and that is: CANCELLED.
Don't get me wrong because I don't mean that literally - and yes, those who love me will remind me of all the good that exists in the world merely because I'm in it; thank you very much by the way - but what I mean by feeling cancelled isn't so much about me or who I am on the inside, but more about the perception people have about me based completely on what's on the outside and how that perception is shifting as I get older.
I've been blogging about my life in one way or another since my fingers first came into contact with a keyboard. As such, I'm blessed with a chronicle of my son's life from inception to the day he left for university. When he was growing up there was so much to write about - and not just him, my husband, our pets, my parents, even our neighbours - no one was exempt from making an appearance in one of my blogs if they did something funny, or touching, or human because, at heart, that is who I am: a Noticer. I notice things and I like to write about them.
But when my son walked out the door, duffel bag in hand off to conquer the world, something inside me changed. Call it grief, call it loss, call if whatever you like, when he left home that day a tiny door in my heart softly closed and I realized I had just completed something that I could never have back. With that realization, somehow I lost my funny. I stopped noticing. I stopped writing.
That was five years ago. I was 42 years old and could still pass as someone in her 30's. At the time, I didn't see this as something significant and would have argued with anyone that age is just a number. My career was in full swing, and I began to work on chasing new dreams - this time in the cooking world. I gave up blogging about my personal life in exchange for entering cooking contests and coming up with recipes. Where I had once identified myself as being Just. That. Fabulous. I was now exploring the intricacies of souffle and advising others on the best ways to grill meat - all the while feeling good about myself and my place in the world.
But sometime between then and now, a shift began to occur; the odd soreness in a joint, the need to hold a book at arms length just to read the fine print, the first time I noticed the line by the corner of my mouth deepening. I am getting older. And though I still believe that age is a state of mind not a condition, it's becoming increasingly evident the rest of the world might not be on the same page because in many ways, I feel like I'm becoming invisible.
Like who I am on the inside is no longer adequately reflected on the outside. Take my photo for example. Anyone who knows me understands that if you look at that and only see a nice looking middle aged lady, or worse, a respectable one - you have not really seen me at all. And that's what happens. It's not unusual for women when they reach a certain to age to be overlooked regardless of how interesting, intelligent, or kick ass she might be, unless she has successfully managed to cheat time.
What does society view as the ultimate compliment? "You look so young."
As though looking young somehow makes a woman more interesting. You know, in the same way being thin makes people better human beings.
However, I will acknowledge, my smiling demeanor and well coordinated outfit doesn't exactly scream "kick ass woman" either. And I am, kick ass that is - just ask my husband - I've been kicking his on and off for over 22 years.
The gist is this: just because I'm closing in on 50 and prefer my jeans come with an elasticized waist band does not mean I don't know what you're talking about when you refer to 4:20, and - for the record - "Talk Dirty to Me" would so be my jam if it was still acceptable for me to go to a club and lay it down. And don't even try to tell me that would be an okay thing anywhere else but at my grandmother's nursing home - the one place where I have it on good authority I am still considered hot.
Stay tuned in the days and months ahead as I share my observations about growing older, kicking ass in stretch jeans, and re-discovering who I am and who I'm going to become in the second half of my life.
If you want to come along for the ride, be sure to subscribe!
And then tell me, have you ever felt invisible?
Okay, now it's time to get dancin!
Lyndsay Wells is a professional trainer, writer, and program developer
with a passion for food and cooking. She is an award winning recipe
developer, and a website ambassador for Kraft Foods Canada. Lyndsay
believes cooking should be approachable and easy and has great tips and
ideas for putting together sophisticated looking dishes that cooks of
all levels can accomplish.
Visit her on her blogs, The Kitchen Witch, and Just. That. Fabulous. or on her YouTube Channel, CHARMED With The Kitchen Witch.