The Death of Youth

I don’t want to be pressed about anything — least of all worrying if I’ve still got “it.”

I am not a young person.
 
Your instinct is to gasp. To launch into litanies about how much life I have to live and that I’m only as old as I feel and that 38 is the new 28 and all the other platitudes that make women feel better about aging and I’m going to stop you right there.
 
I did not call myself an “old” person. I said I’m not young.
 
As I observe my peers contemplating age and self-expression, I see the struggle. Letting go of youth means you’re old. Submitting to a sad life of mom jeans and sensible shoes or acting out a real-life Saturday Night Live sketch about old bitches in the club.

 

 
Call me a stereotypical Libra, but I’m interested in a middle path.
 
Because I am done with youth. It bores me.
 
I don’t care about the latest Tik Tok dance or which woefully unattractive young man the latest rap “it” girl has saddled herself with until she checks his DMs on the wrong day. I’m not filling my social feeds with 25-year-old surgically-enhanced celebrities as a 24/7 reminder of the body I never had nor am I hashtagging #snatched on photos of age-defying surgically-enhanced 40somethings with bodies I can’t afford.
 
I am 38-years-old with a full life ahead of me. I won’t waste a minute trying to turn back the clock. 
 
The problem, however, is that we haven’t untangled youth and attractiveness. To cede youth to the young girls is to give up your desirability. If it ain’t Fashion Nova, it’s a mumu. If you’re not twerking all Hot Girl Summer, you’re washed up.
 
I get why that’s a tough sell for women who are statistically at their sexual peak (name someone filthier than a woman over 35 — you can’t).
 
So it’s a Gordian knot of sorts. Consider me your personal Alexander — I’m slicing it in half.
 
I still live in a three-dimensional world. We all do; we just neglect it for the perfectly polished aesthetics we’re fed via social media. Attractiveness, sex appeal, desirability — whatever you call it — is more than your waist to hip ratio, how you photograph, or if your knees still support you for the entirety of “Back Dat Azz Up.” (Mine don’t. If yours do, I’ll cheer you on with enthusiastic “ayyyyyyes” and hand claps from the sidelines.)
 
I still believe in the power of confidence. Not cocky rap lyric in an IG caption confidence (though, I’m obviously not above a thirst trap), but that bones-deep, radiate-from-within je ne sai quoi that comes with knowing yourself. And that is not a grasping, catch-this-angle-while-I-can-still-hold-in-my-stomach affair.
 
I want to spend my time on shit that lights me up. Engaging, intriguing experiences that let me forget myself. I want to step out wearing clothes I can rock with ease in places where I can be in the moment. I want to get lost and find myself in dope conversations. To listen to music that makes me feel. To laugh until I cry and dive headlong into new hobbies and courses of study.
 
I want to trust that being fully present in my life will keep me walking tall and proud, keep my smiles wide and genuine, give my eyes a knowing twinkle. And I don’t want to be pressed about anything — least of all worrying if I’ve still got “it.”
 
Because I’m stepping into a new “it.” One that leaves room for gray hair and textured skin and hanging out in places where I can hear myself think. 

Published by

a girl named rob

I used to be "skinny black girl." I'm now a slender woman on the other side of 35 with no new moniker who is not quite interested in writing under her given name. Still writing my life, a day (or some months) at a time. Also, still black.

4 thoughts on “The Death of Youth”

  1. So this is what we’re doing? Well then, absolutely!

    I am having thoughts upon thoughts that I will ruminate on for the rest of the morning, so I’ll just comment this: this voice, YOUR VOICE, that speaks to curating this relationship to this experience of life, your experience, dare I say OUR experience? We need this. No we’re not raising children, or trying to figure out how to still titillate lovers that have probably stagnated. It’s not all about work, nor is it a pleasure fest. We’re at that lively, lovely bend where there are still new peaches to pluck; juicy berries to grab by the hand full….and, we have the time, the desire, the comfy, cute cashmere to lay back and take a picture in if we feel like it. We’re intelligent, engaging, mysterious, witty, sensual. We’re wondering, learning, loathing….to me, Janie’s on a journey.

    Oh on Wednesdays we read Rob…

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    1. Haha. This is what I’m doing *this* Wednesday. lol. I’m taking it a humble week at a time.

      I’d like to get into this poetic ass comment: “We’re at that lively, lovely bend where there are still new peaches to pluck.” A) A gorgeous turn of phrase and B) EXACTLY. Obsessing over youth is pouring water into a dying tree while ignoring all the trees ahead that are ripe for picking and tending.

      And this life… This life is still so unique that all the archetypes for the purposefully unpartnered, childless woman are extreme. You’re obsessed with work or consumed with consuming or a frumpy spinster or an eternal youthful sexpot — none of those roles interest me. Good to know I’m not alone in that and if my writing through it helps someone forge their own path, even better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever qualified who we are. Old enough to know better, but young enough to not GAF. Reading this caused me to introspect and find that I’ve been longing for that middle path as well. Somewhere far away from the club, but even farther away from a life of wanting to be back there. I’ve traded in the sparklers for candlelight, the bottles for curated cocktails, and the “bad babes” for… well… I’ll never trade those in, but the qualifications are much different these days. There is definitely a space for us… the socialite that doesn’t always want to sit at home, but has zero interest in the politics of the velvet rope. I still want to perk up when my jam comes on, but I want it to be quiet enough to hear the waitress asking to freshen up my drink. This is my community. I’m here for all of this!

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