The time has come. I never thought I would ever be a half century old. I thought I would feel different when I got to this phase in my life. I am not sure what I thought it would feel like to be one of the old folks (as I used to call my parents and their friends), but here I am.
Looks have been a big part of most of my adult life, as I have been a fashion model for 30 years. Lately, I have been going in for ad campaigns for creams that claim you can look 20 again. I got into it with a casting director recently, saying I would not want to be 20 again, why would I want to look it? Why is looking young the goal? Is it because wisdom and experience are not revered in this society? We all know that smooth skin is not the goal in our life, but we are behaving like it is.
I became a model at 19 and was told at that time by my agency to say that I was 16, and that my birthday was July 1962, instead of 1959. I lied for 20 years and was always afraid that I was going to be found out. I would hide my passport when traveling with clients or even other models. I was living a lie — a seemingly small lie, yet one that kept me in fear.
When I turned 40, I had a coming out party, and told the world my true age. How liberating. Mark Twain says that it is so much easier to tell the truth because you don’t have to worry about remembering what you said.
I was talking to a friend the other day. His grandmother is 92 and very proud of the fact that she is still sexually active. My friend gently reminded his grandmother of her age, to which she replied, “Darling, inside of this shriveled up 92-year-old body is a very active 16-year-old girl.”
As I approach this milestone, I am so happy not to be living a lie. I am proud of my life and my experience, and want to show my kids that getting older is a blessing rather than a curse. My body is aging, and I have earned it. I am 50 years old, but deep inside, I am also a 16-year-old girl, and a 92-year-old woman. I honor all.