Over the past four years, I have been asked in various settings if I am the mother of: Lauren Fleshman, Sarah Mac Robinson, Christine Babcock, and Kate Grace, to name just a few of many. While it is certainly an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as these fabulous women, I am barely on the physiologically-possible side of mothering age with the youngest, and well out of possible range with two. It’s enough to give me a complex! Kate once tried to make me feel better: “It’s just because you exude a loving vibe.” Haha, ok...
But it certainly made me stop and think. And then this article came along, about the slippery slope and the collective action dilemma: “If [a] woman ignores the process of aging and eases more honestly into her inevitable wrinkles, belly fat and gray hair, she is liable to stand out as an anomaly within her personal and professional circles.”
Hmm. Well, I have a new grey stripe right over my forehead, and since I’m almost 50 I think I’m done dyeing my hair. And I love being in the sun (especially at track meets!)... I try to be responsible with sunscreen, but I know it ages my skin a lot. The idea of injecting neurotoxins into my face gives me the willies. And I feel like I’ve earned my wrinkles and saggy skin spots the old-fashioned way: with hard work and worry, lost sleep, excessive smiling and laughing, and carrying 3 babies in my body. Life. So, I look how I look.
I guess where I come down is: I believe in aging. And aging in a badass way. I have a great role model. My mom (will be 77 this year!) passed the Forest Service pack test (4 mile hike in 60 mins wearing a 45 pound pack) when she was 62 years old. She has crows feet from smiling and squinting, freckles and age spots from being outdoors, and still goes on weekend 20-mile hike-through camping trips with her women’s hiking group, even after a hip replacement. Go, mom!
I’m choosing not to do things to my body to affect how I look. [I have no problem with women who choose differently. Individual expression and self-confidence should be each woman’s privilege! Go forth and do what makes you happy! ] I’m choosing to do things with my body to affect how I feel. So, you may see me looking older. And hopefully this year you’ll see me continue to challenge myself by:
- Training as hard and smart as possible as a masters runner
- Attempting my first marathon (can Sally drag me through it?)
- Taking risks professionally
- Supporting women unconditionally
- Smiling and laughing as much as possible
- Doing core/lifting at least 2 times/week – because I feel so much better running if I hold myself to that