Bruni in the City: Madonna Mia I Turn 50 Soon!
A Column by Christina Bruni
Make a Fresh Start in Your Forties
Has anyone seen my eyeglasses? I'm reading the book Style Evolution, about how a woman can dress herself at 40 and beyond. The author, Kendall Farr, a fashion stylist, shoots down Madonna and Demi Moore as unrealistic role models for women whose bodies are no longer pointy and perky.
Everything goes south at 40, honey. Trying to emulate women whose sole mission in life is to sculpt or scalpel themselves into perfect form is fruitless and unhealthy. Better to buy the Spanx and let nature take its course. Sure, do an exercise routine and watch what you eat. The Spanx couldn't hurt while you're at it.
Yet 40 and beyond, as a woman reaches this prime age, is not the time to still be in agony over your body or your life.
I urge every young woman reading this column to understand that 40 is the start of a new and wonderful phase of your life, and not the end of the best times. It can get better and better if you have the hope that you can live a good life into and through your sunset years.
I'm about to give a talk to senior citizens and I'm excited about this because I turn 50 in April of 2015. This seems unreal, given how I appear in my photo, yet that's how it goes: I'm soon to be in the target market for AARP.
Laughing about this is the only way to go. The kind of precious thing about it is that when you come to this age, you're no longer asked for proof of ID when you go into a liquor store. This charms me for some reason, that I can buy a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio and the shopkeeper doesn't bat an eyelash.
Of course, when I was 21 and I looked like I was 14 I didn't get carded either in my neighborhood. When I was 14, I went to Butterfly, the shop on 8th Street in the Village, and bought a fake ID to get me into clubs. The ID looked fake but the bouncers didn't care.
The old drivers' licenses in New York State didn't have photos when I came of age so you could report your license lost, get a new one, and forget the old license with a birth date that allowed you to buy beer and enter bars.
What I did when the new licenses with the photos came out, I acted like a makeup artist and added blush over my photo so that it looked better than a mug shot. Strange, but true.
No. I don't think 40 is the time when a woman should give up on herself.
A woman should never give up on doing things to feel beautiful, even if she doesn't look like Madonna or Demi Moore. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, you should be the one beholding your own beauty, and admiring yourself when you get older.
The cruelest word in the dictionary is menopause. I don't even know if it's in the dictionary. I will see what happens in two years when it's bye, bye babies and hello hot flashes.
You need to have a sense of humor about getting older. Only the Grim Reaper should be grim, not you or me.
If you turn 40 and you still don't like yourself, continuing to agonize over every imagined flaw, that's not good when you have 30 more years to live. We all need to get over our jiggles and make peace with the fact that we're not Hey Nineteen anymore.
Where did those years fly? I don't know, but they're gone and they're not coming back. So I'm going to end here with this indisputable fact: if life isn’t over when you're 22 and diagnosed with schizophrenia, it certainly isn’t over at 40. You'll live to be 40, and then 40 will be a memory. So your life isn't over at 22 — it's only just begun. As hard as it is to imagine at 22, life gets better, whether you’re 40 or 50, and so on.
For most people, recovery is possible. You might think the last call has sounded on the only life you've ever known. Not so. A new life beckons, and it can be better than you ever expected.
I'll leave you with this thought: you can have a good life.
Now if you'll excuse me, I must go look for my eyeglasses. I know they're here somewhere.