By Bea Tifton, guest of Laurean Brooks
So this happened. Monday I will become “A Woman of a Certain Age.” I will turn 50.
Mary Tyler Moore saw it coming. In the episode, “Today I am a Ma’am,” she was shocked to discover that had she slipped into the middle aged demographic. That evening, she went to a store and the young man respectfully called her, you guessed it, Ma’am.
Ah, yes. My first Ma’am. It happened. I remember it well. It was from, hmmm, we’ll call him Jordan.
Oh, sorry. What was I saying? Oh, yes. Jordan. Sigh.
Ahem. The young man who checks me out at my favorite pet supply store. And by “Checks me out,” I mean, sadly, “Operates the cash register in a competent and friendly, albeit impersonal, manner.”
Oh, we started out well enough, laughing and talking. I was sparkling. I was interesting. And, since I’ve been accused of being so in the past, I admit I was a little flirtatious. Suddenly, I realized that while I’m not old enough to be a cougar, I was indeed probably old enough to be his mother. This man was Too Young For Me.
Reeling from that realization, I heard it from Jordan’s very lips. Oh, his lips. Sigh.
Jordan, in all his innocence, said delightedly, “Oh, my God. You remind me so much of my mother.” Handing me my receipt, he switched to his official cashier voice and said, “Thank you, Ma’am. Be careful with those bags when you walk to your car.”
What, while using my walker? Really? His, gulp, mother?
Now, I know woman our age are important. And that’s really what matters, isn’t it. While I’m still waiting for some of the oft mentioned wisdom that comes from getting older, I have not been sitting around, numbly clutching the grocery receipt Jordan handed me and mumbling to myself.
Oh, sorry. What was I saying?
Turning 50 is a milestone. It really is. Not a bad thing. Not the end. Just a milestone. While, admittedly, and you know this, my dear friends, if you search your hearts, sometimes women our age are dismissed, maybe that is our superpower.
We can come out fighting and no one even saw us coming. We are smart. We are strong. And we’ll probably live to be 100, so this IS the new middle age. We’re not even old.
We’ve seen it, done it, and most of it was before social media could plaster us all over the internet so we can deny it if we want, thank the heavens. We know our way around the system, we keep abreast of politics. We are beings of true substance. We are the protectors of the environment, the champions for social justice, the mentors for the next generation. We are frickin’ awesome. We have romance. We have mystery.
And whenever someone calls me Ma’am now, I know they’re really calling me, “Your Awesomeness.” You betcha, young man.
Now where’s that damn birthday cake? I’m taking on the world.
Bea Tifton majored in creative writing at TCU and won writing awards in high school and in college. She is currently working on her first book, a cozy mystery with a shot of romance and silly shenanigans. This morning, she put on her sassy pants.
By CBS Television , Public domain