Instead of wearing a scarlet M and believing ourselves to be over the last possible hill, maybe we should proclaim ourselves in a different way. Overjoyed for what we've achieved. Overjoyed that we're still here. Tolerant of things we used to get ourselves in a mad wad over. Proclaiming that now, finally, when some in the world would want to believe we're done, over, bye-bye, shut up, that we've finally arrived.
We spend so many years fretting over all our insecurities and worries and fears. And if we can't finally shove that aside by the time we're forty or fifty, when will we? What does it take for us to say, "Don't judge me by my age or the effects of gravity or whether I'm perfectly perfect on the outside. Judge me by my contributions, what I give back and what I've learned, whatever wisdom I've accumulated (or had thrust upon me without my even quite knowing it), what I'm willing to fight to the death for"?
Gray hair isn't a sign of mental decay, is it? Wrinkles and reading glasses don't add up to diminished returns, do they?
There's a woman we both know in California who passes herself off as learned and wise and ripe, and yet she lies about her age. Doesn't that lie diminish every one of us? And who is she really lying for—the world or the little voice in her head that says, "Time is running out?"