Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

A Moment of Clarity


Having recently celebrated a birthday of significant numerals, I have been somewhat reflective these days. I have come to the conclusion I must start acting my age. The problem being which age? Do I heed the one I feel kicking about inside–the one that says, “Yes, enjoy the playground and blow bubbles and laugh too loud in public and wear retro dresses from the thrift shop because you are forever young and who gives a flip what other people think.” OR do I succumb to that other voice that whispers, “You are older now and should relish your experiences, the ones that allow you to reminisce your memories and mistakes. You’ve been there, done that, yet realize there is so much more to do. And, no, a woman of your age should definitely not be wearing that out in public.”

It’s confusing, I tell you.

Not that I want to start a heated discussion, but here it is: older men get away with it. You’ve seen them. They drive their Mustang convertibles, silver hair wafting in the breeze or wear Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and Birkenstocks with a greying ponytail, or they are the guys hooting it up at the theme park and their family obviously adores them because they don’t act their age.

If women express their youthful desires the world does not turn a kindly eye as readily. Face it, we don’t want moms being silly. Carol Burnett got away with it, true.

As I reflect upon my recent birthday of significance and contemplate role models I, of course, turn to book heroines. Two come to mind: Miss Rumphius and Mrs. Pollifax.

Miss Rumphius book cover

Miss Rumphius book cover (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Miss Rumphius and I share three common interests:  we have both worked in libraries, have both lived by the sea, and both want to make the world a more beautiful place. She represents the woman who ages gracefully, yet has that bit about her that doesn’t quite follow the pattern of societal expectations.

Then there is the wild adventuresome side I tend to embrace. You go, Mrs. Pollifax.

elusive mrs. pollifax

elusive mrs. pollifax (Photo credit: cdrummbks)

Mrs. Pollifax has skills. She has chutzpah. She has found a way late in life to still have adventure. How wonderful to possess all that and still be able to wear the right hat for the right occasion. What I most like about Mrs. Pollifax is her resourcefulness and her ability to find a way to make sticky situations work. Although I don’t feel I need to be a CIA spy to add a bit of spice to my life, I do relish the idea of others realizing that a bit of greying does not mean decaying is taking place.

So, all that being said I have decided I should at least try to act a bit more my age and have started with my blog header. Gone is the flirty skirt, lean legs, and painted nails of the youth that regales within, and instead I have replaced it with a more staid vision of the mature woman contemplating her reading. I’m not sure a new header is going to head off my penchant to fly kites, play hide-and-go-seek, and wear polka dots.

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9 thoughts on “A Moment of Clarity

  1. It is easier for men to age. The irony for women is that while we cannot act young, we’re still expected to look young. I am astounded by couples where the man has completely let himself go, but the wife looks phenomenal. I wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed.

  2. I like the new blog header. Very classy.

    As for acting one’s age, that depends. Dignity is one thing, but becoming staid is another. I think you can get away with acting youthful as long as you don’t appear silly. The trick is to judge when a situation calls for dignity and when it doesn’t.

  3. Elise on said:

    Why change perfection? I love your style, attitude and flair for making others smile.

  4. pastorjeffcma on said:

    Really enjoyed your post. This is coming from a 52 year old man who thinks youthfulness is wonderful while immaturity and irresponsibility is incredibly irritating. But I think your other commenters have communicated that quite well. You might be interested in reading some of my thoughts on men who won’t grow up–

  5. Growing old gracefully? Yes. Aging with style? Sign me up. Going through the years with adventure and chutzpah? Alright! Yes to all those things, but not to being staid. Not you. 🙂

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