TLDR: I’m retiring this rarely updated site and have created a new Instagram account, @mature.themes instead. Everyone should follow me there!
Things have been pretty quiet around here–and everywhere–lately. 2020 a.k.a. The Year of the Rat was supposed to be my year, and with just two-and-a-half months left it looks like I’ll have to wait until 2032 for my next chance at attaining greatness. I’ll be 60-goddamn-years old!
So, I’ve been debating the merits of newsletters vs. websites/blogs vs. Instagram (TikTok is a step too far and I’m never going to produce a podcast) for putting my content i.e. thoughts into the world.
Based on nothing scientific at all, I’ve decided no one wants to read a blog anymore. It takes too much effort and as someone who once was in love with the medium, I rarely make the effort to check out sites on a daily–or even weekly–basis. And despite the hype, I consider newsletters to be little more than ephemeral blogs that land in one’s inbox. It’s a more passive form of consumption, so I get it. I’m going to start writing and sending my own on a more regular basis.
Blogs are comforting in their orderliness, nice discrete categories, and chronologic order, but I’ve decided to put the types of things I would normally sporadically post here on Instagram instead. It’s easier, more causal, and more social. For a good time, follow me at @mature.themes where currently just five other people have taken the leap!
To be single and without children after a certain age is to largely disappear off the cultural map…Glynnis MacNicol, “I Think We’re Alone Now. Welcome.”
This essay was not so much about becoming irrelevant–which speaks to me–but being understood. The thesis is in the rest of the quote “…and I’ve spent the last few years struggling with how best to approach one of the unexpected challenges of my life: the need to create a language around my experiences so that others can understand.”
I just read (ok, skimmed) an article in Glamour, “A 38-Year-Old Woman Is the Bachelorette—And Yes, It Matters” and had the realization that I’m probably going to have to shift my age focus upward.
When I first started this pet project, I was in my early 40s and was fixated with women doing cool things over 40. But each year, I get older, as one does, and well, 38 being representative as an older woman is absurd, no matter how true it is on TV.
Women 50+ are becoming more interesting to me, just as women 60+ are going to be exciting to me, personally, in probably a decade. That’s the way life works.
That said, recent news of a casting call for singles 65+ for a senior edition of The Bachelor doesn’t make me feel any better. I don’t even watch reality dating shows, but I’m well aware that most contestants are under 30. An extreme pivot the other direction is good and well, but there’s also a lot of uncharted territory between 30 and 65.
I know, I know, I’m sounding like one of those size 8-10 women who complain they’re not represented by either straight-sized or plus-sized models.
Who will think about all of the middle-aged people!?
I used to get miffed that no one was advertising to me. But two recent commercials have me rethinking that stance. Take these embarrassments back, please.
I can’t decide if Domino’s and Quickbooks are specifically trying to target Gen X with Risky Business and Karate Kid references or if they are the products of creatives who are so out of touch, they think 30-year-old movies somehow resonate with 20-somethings.
Much has already been made of the Super Bowl half-time show. Women over 40 can be hot! Maybe even too hot and spicy! I’m not sure how many more headlines like “Shakira, J. Lo & More Women Over 40 Need To Do All The Things, Please” I need to see, though.
I’m also not sure the takeaways, if any, I have from the performance I watched while drinking a beer at the Starday Tavern, one of the first bars I visited after moving back to Portland (which I could’ve sworn I wrote about). The old-school bar patronized by a gentleman with a tramp stamp saying “Check Me Out,” and who didn’t know the difference between Burt Reynolds and Tom Selleck. On this visit, I actually heard someone (a man, naturally) say aloud that he was born in 1975.
Anyway, my initial thought, bolstered by the recent Jennifer Anniston fascination was that duh, you can look hot after 40–even 50–if you have enough money. And you can only remain relevant if you maintain your hotness, obviously. Then you start heading into Madonna hand-wringing territory.
If you read my newsletter–and you should–you’ll know that work, or the lack thereof has been on my mind lately.
I mean, being let go from two jobs in one year while 40+ (after buying a home in a supposedly affordable city with a mortgage 2x what you were paying in NYC) isn’t exactly living the dream.
That’s why, essays like the one below are infuriating in their obviousness. No shade on the author. I only mean the fact they need to be written over and over again.
A good workplace is one in which you can look around and see versions of yourself five years from now, or ten. But for women, this exercise in mirroring gets harder and harder as they push toward 40, and 50, and beyond — for the simple reason that older women with ambition don’t stick around.“Why We Need Older Women in the Workplace“
Over the past few years, I’ve noticed an uptick in 30-somethings acting as if they are ancient (particularly among cute media women) and I refuse to let it stand. It’s like skinny people applauding body positivity. And yes, I realize I probably drive 60-somethings nuts with my fixation on being over 40.
No, I’m not going to post and comment on every Elizabeth Wurtzel remembrance (I didn’t even read Prozac Nation!), but this essay, “Elizabeth Wurtzel and the Illusion of Gen-X Success,” had a lot of insightful moments about the so-called creative class.
What seemed striking was the disparity between her self-perception as an outlier — someone who had proudly refused to build a middle-aged life around the bourgeois goal posts of home-ownership, Viking appliances and managed investment accounts — and the reality of how elusive that kind of stability had become to a whole generation of her gifted, imaginative peers.
Gen X put a lot of value on not selling out–a meaningless concept to younger generations–but even if they wanted to sell out in middle-age, it would be impossible.
Strange Gen X news day. Elizabeth Wurtzel, Gen X extraordinaire, dead at 52. It’s hitting me this is really a death of an era.
Meanwhile, Chloe Sevigny managed to get knocked up at 45. Love that the TMZ slug contains: boys-dont-cry-star, referencing a 20-year-old film.
Yet, in all of that “Karen” nonsense, which by next week will be a forgettable end-of-2019 blip, Karen is at heart a Boomer name, not Gen X. Karen might as well be a Linda or a Debbie.
Jennifer is the Gen X mascot, obviously.