By MARY BETH MAASSEN
It has occurred to me that I am still hanging on to some frustration and resentment that I need to let go.
Recently when I am meditating– as various thoughts come and go–I realize there is one concern that pops in and out of my mind on a regular basis. Research studies have documented that persistently feeling resentful affects both our physical and mental health. I thought it was allergies that have been bothering me, but my ah-ha moment tells me it is really Christy Brinkley.
A few months ago 63-year-old Christy Brinkley graced (once again) the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. When I saw the cover of the magazine all I could think was “Does IT never end?” and of course, “IT” is the expectation and demands of society that women should look a certain way (skinny and gorgeous).
I had been thinking since hitting my 50’s that I was off the hook for meeting this expectation. But there is Christy, in her 63-years-old-but-looks-33-years-old-glory, continuing to carry the “I am perfect in every way” banner that most women have simultaneously resented and struggled to achieve their entire lives. Yep, that includes me.
Christy says she is redefining aging. And maybe she is, for those women who have an entire staff dedicated to making sure they look as perfect as possible at any given moment. Those women are industries unto themselves. To my way of thinking, aging is a privilege. I am embracing the changes that come, and I love feeling that I can dress, wear my hair, and make-up (or no make-up) and because of the way society looks at mature women, I have a pass. I am very happy with the pass. But here comes Christy. She ups the ante, and I didn’t even want to be in the game anymore. I choose to pass.
It’s not like I don’t care about how I look. I do, sorta. It’s not like I am going to walk around in elastic-waist pants and give-up altogether—and it dawns on me that as I write this I am wearing elastic-waist pants (but I am wearing a very stylish top, so please hold your judgment). I don’t think women at any age should feel compelled to conform to a media-created, society-acquiesced image, but once upon a time not so long ago, women of a certain age embraced purple hats, wore red, and gloried in their pass.
For this week I am letting go of the expectations women like Christy Brinkley create. I am letting go of the resentment I carry for women who set those expectations, and I am embracing my pass.