Some 10 or so years ago, as I waited in the line at the grocery store, I noticed a headline on one of the magazines. It might have been Glamour or Vogue (although the magazines by the checkstands are generally limited to publications featuring photos of a ragged-looking Emily Blunt secretly smoking a cigarette, or photos of Princess Kate giving a sideways surly look to the queen).
Anyhoo, the headline said: You Can Still Look Good at 30, 40, or EVEN 50! My 55-year-old self decided I hated anyone under the age of 30. Except my grandkids.
Because HOW DARE THEY? Why is it so impossible to believe that a woman of a more advanced age can’t look good, even without the makeup or expensive cosmetic surgery that the magazine probably recommended?
According to an article I recently came across from Literary Hub, a Brookings Institute study revealed that women become the happiest after the age of 55, and are most happy towards the end of their lives. The study showed that women in their 20s are actually the least happiest of all women.
I actually wasn’t terribly surprised to read the results of the study. I was frankly a hot mess during my 20s. I’m hoping God was distracted and not paying attention to me from 1973 to 1980. Just sayin’….
I think there comes a point in most women’s lives when the intrinsic need to look good every time we step out the door goes away. While it’s a tough pill to swallow at first, reality sets in that no one is paying any attention to us. That sounds sad, but it isn’t. Instead, it’s rather liberating. I admitted recently that I inadvertently wore my slippers to a store and was mortified when I realized what I had done. But my mortification was short-lived when I realized that absolutely no one looks at my feet, and if they did, they would dismiss it as just another example of crazy old people.
And, what’s more, older women tend to be happier than older men. The study authors have lots of theories, but I think it’s because (beware: generalization ahead) men tend to measure their happiness by their professional success, and mostly by how much money they make. Women are more reliant on friends and family relationships for satisfaction.
Whether or not we older women feel happy obviously depends a lot on our health. If we are in constant pain, or have difficult illnesses, we are a lot less happy. But if we feel good, are in a good relationship with our kids and our spouses, and have a gallon of Breyers Salted Caramel Truffle gelato in the freezer, we are happy as can be.
I don’t know if I will be at my very happiest when I’m in my 80s as the study suggests. But I do know one thing: my sister Bec — whose birthday is today — seems pretty darn happy at this stage in her life. Happy birthday Sis!…..