Posted in Of Culturel

Of Women and Aging

I don’t see why there should be a point where everyone decides you’re too old. I’m not too old, and until I decide I’m too old I’ll never be too f**king old. – Lemmy Kilmister

I am 28. Indian. Female. I am called Amrita. I don’t know what that means to you. I am not quite sure what it means to me either. I presume it will take me a lifetime to find out. And even then, I might not have a clue.

I have visual aids below to help you in forming an opinion. Of course, you don’t need to form an opinion. You are free to think what you think, and not think at all, if that’s what you choose. Nobody can tell you what to do. Nevertheless, here are two recent photographs. One is when I was made up for a wedding, the other when I felt tired and a little bit ill at the end of the day.

Made up your mind yet? I’ll let you take your time. Although, I must point out that your opinion might be corrupted if you’ve been a reader of this blog. You may not have known the above details. You might have read the thoughts of someone, and pictured them completely different in your head. You may even find it hard to associate these details with that previous impression you had of this Of Opinions blogger. Even if the two sets of information may appear jarring, incongruent, you’re still leagues ahead of most humans that come in contact with this blogger who is called Amrita. Most humans already make up their mind about her as an entity even before she gets to share half the details she has shared with you today.

There is no need to beat around the bush anymore โ€“ women cease to be relevant after a certain age. It depends more on how you look than how old you actually are, but you are old when society decides you are old. I suppose there is an explanation for this based on the theory of evolution. My unscientific conclusion is, no matter what you have to offer as a human being, if you haven’t procreated roughly by the age of twenty-five, you haven’t done enough for our species. Even though you have ten years or more left to able to do so, and the choice not to contribute at all (which should be acceptable in an overpopulated planet), your fertility is of subliminal concern to anybody you come in contact with.

I went to a five-year-old’s birthday party recently. We played with toy cars, had cake, wore party hats. Other adults were also involved, who took my innocuous participation as an opportunity to point out I am a โ€œbig babyโ€ and that the party hat makes me look younger. Ladies, I am not about to suggest kids’ party hats as an anti-aging product. But, while I am used to such ageism and sexism, from both men and women, on a daily basis, this particular instance made me really mad.

I’ve never been a misanthrope. I care about people. I like to spend time with them, to know their likes and dislikes, dreams and concerns. And I am great. With people. I’ll risk saying it even if it sounds like bragging. But, they’ve been getting at me for a while now. Every f**king person it seems has to point out I am running out of something. Of what? Of time? Aren’t they? Am I the only one getting older, the only one who hasn’t ticked all the boxes society expects them to tick? Is the rest of the world filled with highly accomplished foetuses?

It’s not easy. When you suffer from asthma, hypothyroidism, chronic joint pain, anxiety and depression. It’s a struggle everyday to keep your chin up. And it really doesn’t take me much to be happy. I can be under the spell of a song for days. Watching a sunset. Cracking jokes with a friend. Ordinary things, not climbing Mount Everest or winning the lottery. I can be happy, and it appears there isn’t a sight more unbearable to humanity, which is why they take it upon themselves to do something about it.

And I know it’s not going to get any easier. There will be new reasons everyday, every year, for as long as I live, for people to find fault with my existence. I cannot decide to not let it bother me. It will bother me, especially when I have to deal with the physiological changes related to aging as a female human (currently, it’s slow metabolism). However, in a world where there are already such atrocities and unpleasantness on a vast scale, how can I logically offend with a double chin?

How has aging been treating you?


Writer, Blogger, Kate Bush Fanatic

49 thoughts on “Of Women and Aging

  1. Interesting, thought-provoking piece Amrita (as usual).
    Though I’d like to think I haven’t made my mind up about you as a blogger, even after the photos/poem narrations/etc.
    I’ve started to subscribe to the idea that the instant one decides I’m ___, or this person’s _____, they’ve stopped listening & learning, instead just looking for evidence to confirm their decision.
    And I fully intend on continuing to listen & learn while visiting here!

    1. Thank you very much, Geoff. Just today I was watching this Ted Talk talking about the Learning zone vs the performance zone. It wasn’t specifically about personality, but it emphasized on the notion of preparing for whatever it is you need to do, be it work or your relationship with a loved one. Even if that activity is defined, if you don’t work towards learning how to improve it, you’ll let it stagnate. I personally think once you stop learning about the world (in a non-regimental sense), you stop living. Complacency, indifference is death.
      Thanks again!

      1. Well said – one of my colleagues has an email signoff, if you’re still teaching the same thing you did 5 years ago, either your field is dead, or you are.
        Enjoy the weekend Amrita!

      2. What ever I remember of school maths, that would be difficult! Though not every teacher uses pop music to keep things interesting! I had a teacher in college who taught Galsworthy’s play Justice for 30 years. And hated doing it from the get go. I guess you can still live with the same Shakespeare play for 30 years, but that play’s just torture.

        Do you get to choose your own syllabus in Canada? Or vary it to keep it interesting?

      3. We have to follow the province’s curriculum expectations but I’ve been fortunate that as long as all the requirements are covered, I’ve had a lot of freedom in how they are covered.
        The numbers don’t change – but I at least try to change the way I teach them!

      4. Were you always good at maths? Did it ever scare you, or did you ever have scary teachers? I had one called Miss Shanti. Shanti literally means silence, and that was pretty much the effect she had on us. Even the way she would scold us was like a modern day “anti-hero”, where you weren’t sure why she would compliment you if you did something wrong.

      5. Actually I wouldn’t say I’m all that great at maths – but that probably makes it easier for me to teach, as I understand where kids can get stuck (as opposed to if it was too easy for me, I’d be shocked that they didn’t just ‘get it’)
        Fortunately, I can’t remember having any teachers like Miss Shanti – hopefully my students don’t think I fall into that category!

      6. I read somewhere that aptitude for mathematics and music are governed by the same area of the brain. Therefore, if your aptitude for music analysis is anything to go by, I’d say you are great at maths too! Your blog definitely helps exercise that part of the brain!

      7. Which is not to say that Mathematics itself is dull or unvaried. I realise how that might be offensive to a mathematician, but I was only speaking from difficulty understanding maths as a child!

  2. I think you are remarkably beautiful, both with makeup and without. I do resonate with you very deeply, I feel a lot of emphasis is placed on how I look or how I carry myself or what I wear. It’s a lot of pressure. Sometimes I feel I am only relevant if I look good, which is very demoralising. This is a wonderful post, and highlights a great many important things.

    1. Thank you so much, Girl with a Pen, for your kind words! Even if you look good, you might attract the wrong kind of attention, or inappropriate remarks. Either way, it’s not easy being a woman! And it would be better if there was real solidarity among women, but there often isn’t. Maybe that’s evolution too, women bringing each other down because they’ve been made to feel competitive. I think if you decide what’s important to you, then things fall into place. I feel better if I look good, but I’d rather be recognized for my intelligence than how I present myself.

  3. I recently had my 52 birthday. Diabetes, MS, and caregiving have taken a toll on this old girl the last 6 months. The latter seems to be the hardest thing to live with (the others, those have been with me for decades and years). Today? I feel old. I detest the double chin and cottage cheese butt and woman belly, but at the moment, I crave sleep and/or a shower more! I did have someone tell me my hair had gotten more silver since December last………funny thing. My avatar pix is from spring 2016! lol

    1. Belated happy birthday, Kris! I don’t think 52 is old, at least I know a few 50-year-olds who’ll disagree with you! And you should absolutely enjoy the things you crave. I am not fully aware of the symptoms of diabetes and MS (though I do know what they are), so sleep might be part of it, but showers are always recommended in my book! They’ve always been one of my favourite parts of the day, and always make me feel better. You should definitely treat yourself with them!

  4. You are def more beautiful without the make up . You need to learn to like yourself now, because all of us are getting older everyday. Aging isn’t pretty, but it it better than that , it frees you from all the insecurities you are feeling now. I like myself a great deal more than I used to. Stop looking in the mirror and listen to your heart.

    1. Thank you very much! And I am glad you participated and formed an opinion! I enjoy makeup. I guess I go without it most of the time, but I do like putting it on. I enjoy most of the so-called beauty rituals like skincare and hair care because I feel like I’m taking care of myself that way. I admit, I’ve sometimes done it because of some unflattering remark from someone, but that was when I was younger. In the last few years, I’ve definitely learned to accept myself more, though I’m yet to reach the point of being completely unaffected by criticism. Though I look forward to that aspect of getting older too!

    1. Exactly! It’s like we stop existing or become invisible the moment we are a little older. Whether you’ve had children or not, it’s like your time is over. When will this attitude go away?!

      I apologise for being late in replying. Thank you for reading and sharing! I love your blog name!

      1. Yeah it’s the most irritating, if u r middle age & doesn’t look like 20yo – u r grandma (inside & outside). If u look like 20…maybe…MAAAYYYBEEE…society will allow u to exist. A bit grotesque:)) but u got it ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ‘‹โœŒ๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ถ

  5. Age is just a number…just hit number 70 and not thinking about it…take everyday one day at a time and enjoy life to the fullest….and I have stopped worrying about what other people think…..but that comes with age!

    1. That is great advice! I will try to live with that attitude, though it is hard to be indifferent to what people say!

      I apologise for being late in replying. Thank you for reading and sharing! Belated Happy Birthday!

  6. I know it’s going to sound like a clichรฉ, but you look very sexy without the makeup and bad lighting. No, I am not a ghost luring girls in the dark to get them ๐Ÿ™‚

    With makeup anyone can be “somebody”, however it’s rear to see anyone letting their inner beauty flow out of them like sun rays bless the earth.

    We’re pretty lucky to have you among us.

    1. Thank you! I did not mean this blog post to answer the question of me being pretty or not, though it seems to have turned out to be that way! I don’t place my self-esteem on my looks. I’m fine with whatever they are, it’s more of a question of being too old or too young. Inner beauty is very important, as cultivating it might actually help fight outward criticism. Thank you again!

  7. Hey Amrita, I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. As an Indian, I understand where you are coming from. We have been made to believe that ‘certain’ tasks have to be accomplished by ‘certain’ age. In a world where people constantly interfere in our personal lives, it is very courageous for people like you and I to stand up and speak up for ourselves, for what is right. Well done!! Have a great week ahead!

    1. Thank you, Bhavana! You have put it very well in words, without being controversial. It just gets so irritating when people constantly pass ageist and sexist comments. On top of that, it’s often women bringing each other down, when we should be standing up for each other!

      Thank you for reading and sharing. I’ve had a great week so far (just published a book) and I hope so have you!

  8. You are so gorgeous! That hair… you’re beautiful! Not saying ithat in a creepy way, just in a one-girl-appreciating-another kind of way. As for aging, I’m getting to a stage (30) where I’m starting to think more about it, buuuuuuut I’m still an adult child!

    1. Ha ha! I am also an adult child! Actually, I can never be my age. I’ve always been rather maternal, but also very girly. I think you should definitely stick to feeling how you feel, instead of moaning (like I do) when people try to bring you down. Your spirit will be infectious to other women in their late twenties!

      And thank you for the compliment. I did not mean this to be a “am I pretty” assessment, more of a “am I old” one, but I’ll take all the positive feedback I can get!

  9. Great post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m 34 and didn’t procreate yet, so I am definitely failing the species. Oops.
    I am actually keen to make babies in the next couple of years, but it makes me really mad when (mostly family) ask again and again if I am preggers. How can people think it’ll help if they tell me I am running out of time? It’s not like they have already been saying the same thing for 10 years!

    Anyway, I made up my mind. You seem beautiful both inside and out.

    1. Ha ha, thank you! I think the question was more of a “am I old” than “am I pretty” but I’ll have whatever I get!

      I just don’t understand how people can say such things without once thinking about the hurt they are causing to the other person. Like having acne. People keep pointing out you have it, as if you don’t have access to a mirror. Will their repeated judgement about marriage and babies magically make that a reality? Or will it be as futile as their obsession with other people’s acne? I don’t know what purpose they think it serves, except that they enjoy making others miserable. And we should just learn to have no time or tolerance for those who enjoy making us miserable. Easier said than done, but I know a few women who have done it.

      Thank you for reading and sharing!

      1. It’s mad isn’t it!

        I lived in Japan for a while and had strangers tell me I should hurry up and have children (while I was in my early 20s!) They’d be horrified that I still didn’t get around to it.

        The worst thing is my family don’t think it’ll annoy me or make me sad. They seem to think it’ll help. *sigh*

        Still, 28 isn’t even old. Can you imagine someone telling a man that 28 was old!? It just wouldn’t happen.

      2. Ha ha, no one would ever do that! What makes it worse is, up until I was 25 or 26, people would ask me to hurry up and marry before it’s too late. And now, they act as if it is too late! I don’t think so at all, and we have life and biology to prove that it isn’t. My friend’s mother even said she might not be attractive by the time she’s in her mid-twenties! How can people get away with saying these things?

        My family knows I’m stubborn, so they don’t give me much of a hard time. They seem to have given up lol.

        At least, we get to commiserate! It would be unbearable to think we’re the only ones!

        There’s this comedian called Sara Pascoe who is 34 years old and hasn’t had children yet. I’ll look for the clip where she talks about people giving her a hard time, since she made it really hilarious!

  10. Hi Amrita! This was a really thought provoking post. In fact I joined WordPress just today and yours is one of the first posts I read. I, being an Indian woman as well could relate to your experience. I look forward to reading more material by you. Keep going!

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