Yesterday was my birthday. Usually I’m a chronic sufferer on the day of my birth, often opting for hiding under the covers instead of celebrating. This year I spent it in cozy in my bed, binge watching Grey’s Anatomy and enjoying my favorite chicken salad on a bagel, and it was more of a celebration than I’ve given myself in years.
As a woman, age becomes a cut off for many things. Have a baby. Get married. Wear miniskirts. Play with toys. Go to bars. Climb a volcano. Go bungee jumping. What to do before you are 20, 30, 40….. the lists go on forever. The pressure is on for us, ladies. I remember having a full scale crying fit on one of my birthdays a couple of years ago. I was in a great relationship, I had a great agent, I could pay my bills, and life was good, but the birthday blues hit me hard because of everything I didn’t do. I feared I wouldn’t get to do all I wanted to do. It’s a horribly difficult pattern to shake but it hits hardest on the anniversary of my life. My time was ticking, but it wasn’t just ticking. I felt like it was ticking away.
In the entertainment industry, a birthday brings a sea of change year after year, another role you can’t play or another type you’re entering…. It makes you feel like your career is over before you even begin. Just as we are encouraged to be beautiful, thin and perfect, we are supposed to stay forever young and fresh faced. How can anyone stay fresh faced when their brows are furrowed with worry about getting too old for the business and for life in general?
Why do we do this to ourselves? Why is aging so scary? Why are laugh lines not gorgeous? Why am I so scared of it all? There are limitations to what our bodies can do, yes, but the rest should be the sky’s the limit. And yet, we tell ourselves, “no you can’t because you’re ____ years old!” Why do we do that?
After a full birthday of relaxing in bed, napping on and off, I went out to dinner with my husband. I spent extra time on my makeup, using my airbrush machine I rarely use, mixing colors like an artist does on their canvas. I used my BedHead Wavemaker iron just for fun, making waves from another age. I took a good look in the mirror. For the most part, I liked what I saw. I didn’t look the same as I did in my teens or 20s but there was definition and character where there hadn’t been before. I didn’t look any different than yesterday. I didn’t need Botox or face lifts or cheek implants. I didn’t change because of my age, which isn’t even old. The lines on my face are the expanding stories I don’t have to tell, because my face does.
I let myself smile and enjoy my birthday the way I wanted to. It’s okay that it meant staying in bed, watching reruns and playing Candy Crush with the mattress heating pad on. I relished seeing the 500+ people who messaged, texted, and called me. I mean, wow. That’s flattering and humbling to me. They didn’t care about the lines by my mouth that weren’t there ten years ago or that there is a rubber tire around my waist that I can’t get rid of. On this day, years ago, I came into the world and they all cared enough to wish me well on my many more years to come. That’s what it is about.
One of my favorite movie quotes of all time is “Let your eyes crinkle, let your skin wrinkle; our lines show that we’ve lived,” from Connie and Carla. It’s authentic. I want to be real. Now I’m not saying there won’t be eye cream and makeup and toning lotion to help things along, but I’m trying to actually live my life while I’m here instead of letting my time tick away. More like slip away… Every step forward lately is two steps back. I cannot keep waiting for my direction to reverse; I just gotta keep stepping.
So I’m wishing myself a happy life day. I’m wishing myself many more years to come. I’m wishing that on this anniversary of my birth, I look in the mirror at all of stories that are still being told…