Aging has never been something that I’ve been graceful about. In fact, I’ve been pretty bad about it. I was always that woman who shaved a few years off her age when I met people. And I got away with it — until I got caught.
I was checking in at the Kahului airport with my then-boyfriend. It was the end of August, hot and humid. I had TSA pre-check and had never had issues except with one particular airline. The problem was that my boyfriend had signed me up for the airline’s frequent flyer program using the information he thought was correct.
While checking in that day, I complained to the agent that I only had issues with my TSA pre-check with her airline. She got a manager, who reviewed the information on file for me. I wasn’t even thinking when the agent read my birth year as 1972 and I blurted out that it was 1967. I then turned as red as a tomato. Sweat dripped down the back of my shirt. My boyfriend looked confused. The airline manager looked amused. I was busted — and I was embarrassed.
I had a lot of explaining to do on that flight home.
All turned out well, as I eventually married that understanding man. But even after that incident I still danced around admitting how old I was.
Once I started working with women my age, I realized I would never really be able to connect unless I accepted my years. I didn’t go willingly.
Once I started working with women my age, I realized I would never really be able to connect unless I accepted my years. I didn’t go willingly. But, as I have learned what works best for me, I ripped the Band-Aid off.
Since I often post on social media, I decided one day I would admit my age on Instagram. I realized that I couldn’t be the only one with this struggle and that if I could be brave, I just might inspire someone else to be brave, too. I sat for what seemed like an hour before hitting the share button on a photo of me picking a lemon off my lemon tree. The copy wasn’t about my age, but rather I’d written at length about patience and weightlifting. I slipped in the part about how I am 51.
The post resonated with followers. I have gotten many messages from women who see it and ask me how they can take charge of their life, health, and body. From there, I started accepting and embracing my age. I faced the reality that time goes by for all of us.
So why I am sharing this? Because embracing my age taught me some great things, and maybe you can relate.
1. Admitting my age allowed me to be my true self, and I was better able to serve the women I want to help. Once I admitted how old I am, I could better relate to other women my age. Being honest about who you are helps those you are trying to help. Who knew?!
2. Opportunities I never thought possible found their way to me. Once I admitted my age as well as my struggles with depression, AARP asked me to be an ambassador for its annual Fit & Fun Health Challenge. I didn’t guess that I would be someone to influence others to get moving. I still can’t believe it to this day.
3. I became more self-confident and comfortable with my body than ever before. When you no longer have to hide who you are, you get to become who you are. Time marches on. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. This was my biggest lesson.
How we take on age is an individual thing, but life is better when we do it. I say take it on and live your life. It’s not as bad as you think — and you’ll be happier for it.
Margie Clegg is a coach who helps empower women over 45 to look and feel their best through fitness and nutrition. She lives in California. Learn more about her at margiecleggfitness.com.