It started with a visit to my doctor for a physical. I had a little lump on my back and asked him to take a peek at it and let me know if I should make an appointment with my dermatologist. He looked at it, dismissed it, and told me that things like this were going to happen now that I am old. I expected we would do something about it. Examine it, make sure it’s not skin cancer, remove it. But no, we were just going to ignore it and anticipate more weird stuff to show up now that “I’m old”.
This was my introduction to the invisibility of the middle-aged women. From society’s viewpoint, the middle-aged woman is muted and colorless. She is no longer useful or desirable. She is diminished and should be relegated to the background. She is white noise that is easy to ignore. This is not how I see myself and this is not a role that I will play.
At 50, I feel more vibrant and relevant than ever. I know that my years spent gathering depth and wisdom show in my eyes and smile. I know that my contributions are unique and valuable because I speak from experience rather than imagined ideals. I know that I wear the journeys I’ve traveled well; and that, with time, all women become more beautiful – not less.
And I did have that lump looked at. It is harmless and its still there. I chose not to have it removed because it doesn't change a thing about me. I'm not striving for perfection and I don't want to stop the passage of time. When my daughters were growing up, I never wished to prolong any age. I loved all the new things each stage uncovered. I intend to approach my aging journey the same and will celebrate all the new things each age reveals to me. - Shannon Kaza