What does it mean to be age appropriate? Remember the phrase “Act your age, not your shoe size?” Your mom said it to shame you into acting more grown-up! I read recently in a fashion magazine that older women should only wear neutral lipstick. Really! No bright red rouge on the lips? I think “age appropriate” is always someone’s interpretation of how another person should act. So how should we express ourselves as we grow older? Does aging bring to mind rocking chairs, white beards, polite conversations and thick bifocals? Rachel McAdams, Canadian actress says, “I feel like I'm going backwards, actually, as I get older. I'm regressing. I feel more and more like a kid, which is kind of a fun feeling.” If aging is truly about becoming more of who you really are, with more freedom and confidence then there should be more diversity in the expression of each Elder. To heck with being age appropriate.
One of my favorite poems entitled “Warning” by Jenny Joseph starts, “When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me. And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves and satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.” Jenny was speaking to this exact topic. Do you have your own set of “rules” about what dress, behaviors and conversation will be like for you as you age? When will you quit wearing red lipstick or colorful clothes? Maybe it is time to start! Should Elders be neutral in every way? I think just the opposite. The older the freer! As the poet says, “And make up for the sobriety of my youth.” To each their own; more freedom, more expression, more uniqueness. Grey maybe the color of hair but it is not the color of life!