Janetta Mackay: Ageing with attitude

By Janetta Mackay

Don't look back, except to party like it's 1999... Photo / Janetta Mackay
Don't look back, except to party like it's 1999... Photo / Janetta Mackay

In the last two weekends I've been to 50th birthday parties - and great fun they both were. One was a glam, dress-up affair in a studio off K Rd, complete with a Mad Men theme appropriate to the year of birth of the hostess. The other was a house party in a Mt Albert bungalow filled with books and art and ringed with the birthday madam's lovingly tended garden.

At each party the very different crowds ranged in age from 20s through 70s and, aside from the odd joke, no one was unduly worried about ageing. We all have our moments fretting about the passing of time but I like to think this is more about what we are doing with that time than worrying about the changes wrought on us by it.

This week's Viva is called the "Ageless" issue, rather than the "Ageing" issue - for a good reason. While no one can deny age has an impact on us all and helps defines how other, usually much younger, people see us, it doesn't have to define how we see ourselves.

I'm happier and healthier now than I was 20 years ago and because of that I reckon I look better.

The mirror sometimes punctures this little cocoon of self-confidence - especially if I've got my damn glasses on - but the main reason I feel semi-insulated from ageing is it's not worth worrying about the inevitable. Compared with all the angst of youth, it's refreshing to feel comfortable in my skin, even if it's isn't quite as toned as it might once have been.

Writing about beauty, I'm constantly bombarded by images of airbrushed teenagers used to sell stuff to women older than their mothers. Mental, yes, but I figure it's easier to smile at the fleeting fantasy they represent, secure in the knowledge that reality is way more complex and interesting.

Lol, it's like the difference between a good grown-up conversation and a text.


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