Age as Power
Whether it's the ability to cast The Mom Look, touching notably hot plates without a fliching, or having perfected a tone that means total business, I have found that maturity has gifted some pretty unexpected superpowers.
Not being fans of yelling, raised voices aren't a thing in our home. However, impassioned communication has great value, so I perfected The Mom Look over the years. There are varying degrees of nuance that encapsulate a multitude of messages in The Mom Look. From “my patience’s timer is totally running out,” to “get a hustle on, we’re leaving now,” to “don't even go there.” A wonderful bonus of The Mom Look, is it translates to business situations surprisingly effectively, being one of those crossover life skills I touch on in Be The Umbrella.
Then there is a superhero level ability I think should qualify for X-Men status, and that is being able to touch, pass, and carry hot things in the kitchen and at the dinner table. AKA, Mom Hands. When servers at restaurants say, “careful, it’s hot,” I internally smirk at their extreme caution, because they don't know I have a superpower.
See, I love to cook, and I want mealtime to be a special time of our day. And as a result of spending an hour to two each day slinging around the kitchen, I have developed considerable Mom Hands which are impervious to heat. Having an amazing, and unexpected, built-in-hot-pad feature of my own.
And finally of the superpowers for which I am grateful to have honed; The Tone.
As I marvel at the amount of thoughts and words my thirteen year old daughter can produce and sustain within a five minute explanation, I marvel at her stamina.
At times, the amount of breath, strength, and energy, knock me back on my heals. I will often look at my husband after a passionately delivered ten minute download on the latest changes in BTS’s hair color, and my look communicating bewilderment and awe, while he always replies: “You talked just like that, for far longer than you know.”
The realization hit me, that somewhere along the way, whether it was insanely long workdays, or being up all night with a daughter who since birth insists that the night is indeed not a time to sleep, I have become a woman of far fewer words. And whether it’s a conservational approach for my energy, or knowing that power lies in fewer and selectively meaningful words, I have become a Sensai of Tone. And as all things I am coming to realize in personal development, this superpower has amazing magnitude in so many facets of life.
And in contemplating these developed superpowers, it is also important to note that they are just one aspect of many we have been talking about here on the blog regarding what we are gifted with age.
Age is Wisdom
Age is Maturity
Age is Power
And age as power is something traditionally relegated to thinking of men of a certain age. As men age and get silver hairs, folks call them “distinguished.” We don’t even have to tackle what women are called.
There is an endless list in the graceful, as well as degrading, gender designated terms for aging. Misogynistic standards, both imposed on, and embraced by women in popular culture, define aging in mostly superficial or objectified terms. And age as power, for women, is one that is wildly under-considered, and rarely discussed.
Coincidentally, I read a fascinating article late one night, not that long ago, via the SFGATE by Robin Givhan. The article was on Diane von Furstenberg, and even as I was floating between lucidity and slumber, something Robin wrote zapped me awake. Her interview with Von Furstenberg was all about the concept I had been drafting for this very post; age as power.
Von Furstenberg, an amazingly incredible force and talent, made for an article that was such a fascinating read. She was discussing that now in her seventies, she was looking in her “third act” to establish herself as an “oracle.”
That alone gave me so much inspiration and thought. Although I have decades ahead of me to achieve it, I love the idea and aspiration of too becoming an oracle.
Now I am not saying that it has to be on the same International, multi-billion dollar scale. We can be oracles in our homes, families, communities, professions, and hobbies. Our own "third act" can be about being a source of vision, and not the sort of inclusion society reflects most septuagenarians as needing.
So much about aging in our culture is condescending, and speaks about the inclusion of all ages. Whether it be media, fashion, beauty, or business, it's always about "representation," and ignorance frames the conversations to including people, versus the humility of asking for their contribution. To look to folks as the oracles. Being the source, the wisdom, the teacher. Obviously representation and inclusion are critical, but we need to be purposeful and aware as to what sort.
Givhan wrote a beautiful paragraph that inspired the title of my post in stating “She's not interested in making peace with her age or defying it. Frankly, she's confident she looks pretty good. Von Furstenberg wants to get at something deeper: Age as power.”
Age as power is something I want to explore more the coming months. And consistent with all things A WOMAN YOUR AGE, your personal stories, insights, and comments are so very valuable.
What are your thoughts on age as power?
In what aspects of life do you see that power?
And what are the superpowers you are learning that you posess?