Now that I’m well into my 50th year (and what a year it’s been), I have several observations. The first: I’m at a point in my life where I can face the multitude of fears I have collected over half a century. First of those? Doctors. And dentists. As a woman who is far more akin to pleasure than pain, doctor stuff causes a lot of anxiety. But as I’ve been focusing on my health for a minute now from completely changing my diet to committing to regular exercise to a skincare routine that is both grueling and meditative, I’m all in on feeling my very best. That’s why I ripped off ALL the Band-Aids this year. From embarking on some fairly gnarly dental work to getting a mole removed on my back that I put off doing for several years (yesterday I did it, and it wasn’t fun), I’m feeling powerful because there is no better feeling than crossing stuff off your eternal list and clearing the decks for health and happiness.
This brings me to something super strange I saw on TV the other night.
Many of us have guilty pleasures (I have scads), but one of mine is watching “Family Feud.” I know. It’s super weird. But for some reason, I love the Feud. And I love to hate Steve Harvey. Take this confession however you like. I’m a fan of the Feud and I don’t even know why. Anyway, if you’ve watched it, you know the winning family competes at the end of the show in a speed round of questions, which are often so ridiculous you can almost hear the screech of non-PC nails on the chalkboard.
The question was:
“At what age is a woman too old to wear a pair of stilettos?” Say what?
What kind of fuckery was this? Interestingly enough, the two family members chosen for the speed round could not have been much older than 25. And one of them answered “26” and the other answered “30.” So weird. But what was the answer from the Americans surveyed? The most popular answer amongst some swath of the heartland and beyond? 5-0, friends. Apparently, most Americans feel at 50 you must stop wearing high heels.
Full disclosure: I hate high heels. Always have. Because they hurt like hell. I have always joked I don’t wear them because you never know when you’ll need to run. I very well remember an old boss of mine wearing spikey Blahniks in a snowstorm back in the ’90s and stared at my own shit kicker-clad feet in relief. And after a night out in Miami back in the day when I complained all night about my shoes, my husband quietly asked me to never wear heels again. I think I was in my 30s then, but yea. I’ve never been one for heels. Platform Gucci boots? Yes. But skinny heels? No. No way.
We live in a youth-obsessed world where there are far too many rules
But just because I don’t wear heels doesn’t mean other women my age don’t love them, even if this past year or so had many putting their heels into hibernation mode. And truly, an odd question to pose to the American people. As if shoes have an expiration date. As if turning 50 means you stop wanting to feel sexy or powerful (as many women feel when wearing heels) and feel the need to pop on some Dansko clogs (ugly shoes are all the rage, by the way), or that heels don’t allow for the invisibility many women complain about feeling as they age. And hey, it’s cool if you do. But you know what I’m trying to say here. We live in a youth-obsessed world where there are far too many rules. And though I find the idea of tottering around in heels nonsensical, many women of a certain age do not. Just ask SJP.
As for me, I’m currently rocking a Run Lola red hair color that is bright, bold, and a little outside of my comfort zone, but I’m totally digging it for a change. I am sure there are those that think bold hair colors are best left to the young, but I think having fun with fashion and personal style doesn’t have an expiration date.
I don’t care what anyone thinks of my shoes, hair, or truly, anything else
But contrary to what “the survey says” (that’s Feud talk, folks), I’ll tell you what.
The question should have really been, “At what age do women stop giving a fuck about what society thinks of them?” Answer? 50. Definitely 50. If you came to that sooner, good on you. But I’m here now and I don’t care what anyone thinks of my shoes, hair, or truly, anything else. And it feels fucking amazing. So, if you’re questioning what you can and can’t wear or do or say in this thing called midlife, take heed. You have earned the right to crash through the ceiling, lean in, lean out, or flip conventional wisdom the bird. It’s obscene the way women are scrutinized at every point in our lives. At 50, I’m crying foul on all of it and, to be honest, I’m too busy taking care of myself in the healthiest way possible to worry about my fleeting youth. It’s true I’ll be rocking my fresh Stan Smiths this summer over a sexy pair of stilettos, but you do you.
Because 50 is not the new 20, 30, 40, or otherwise. 50 is 50. And really, it feels just fine. And that’s what’s up this high and low Thursday in beautiful Brooklyn. Yours, in tough shoes to fill, but worth every step. XO