I glanced at the magazines as I typically do while standing in line at the supermarket. I always think it’s so nice that they put them there to help me pass the time while I wait (wink, wink). Usually I flip through US Weekly or People. Sometimes, she admits with coy, embarrassment, I grab a copy of STAR. Come on, when they have the “Stars without Makeup” or “Best and Worst Bodies”? Really, you can pretend to be above it, but I know you’re sneaking a peak.
Anyway, as my life slowly drained away waiting for the woman in front of me to finish her super interesting negotiation to the bored cashier on why she had an expired coupon, the cover of SHAPE magazine caught my attention. It was Cindy. Cindy Crawford.
For you annoying, young people who were too busy learning to go poo-poo on the potty to appreciate her heyday, Cindy, ruled the modeling world in the 90’s. During my most impressionable years, she was gorgeous but in a believable way. She was tall, but not impossibly tall. Thin, but not heroin anorexic like some of the grunge models of that day. Young, but (hee hee) a little older than me. She was with me through the big hair and the straight hair. We had babies at around the same time, and I exercised to her post baby work-out tape with all three of my kids. She was the friend I didn’t actually have.
So when I saw the cover, I experienced of moment of honest happiness to see her. My supermodel was back. Yay! I grabbed the magazine for a closer look, and my smile faded.
Now don’t get me wrong. Cindy looks great. She’s maintained her figure and her hair cascades down the page. But – yes, there’s a but – no amount of air brushing can mistake the obvious. Cindy is old. She looks great…wait for it… for her age. Ow. That last part hurts ‘older’ women everywhere, because if Cindy looks like a woman in her forties, well, I certainly must as well. Damn.
In three seconds of sighting the cover, I did a complete 180. I was no longer happy to see my old friend. She no longer reminded me of my youth, she reminded me that I was old. I doubt this was the effect marketing executives had hoped for. I knew Cindy was there to appeal to women like me. Women who grew up with her, who else would appreciate this blast from the past? I get it, but guess what, I don’t want to.
Getting old is weird. You almost can’t believe it’s happening to you. It’s an outer-body experience that’s happening to your body. I spend time studying myself, and can see the subtle changes occurring. They’re not terrible, but they’re there. But I don’t need a mirror to know that I’m past my prime.
For one, I just need to look at these magazines. I don’t know a full 70% of the people they showcase. Who the hey are Chris Hemsworth, Miranda Cosgrove, Gemma Arterton, Wiz Khalifa?
Two. People now address me as ‘so & so’s’ mom. If one of my ‘so & so’s’ is with me, say, in a store, sometimes they get some free stuff just for being cute. Hey! I used to get free stuff too!
Three. I drive a mini-van.
I don’t think I need to go on.
Now I’m not saying getting old is bad. It’s a good thing. Great, if you consider the alternative. And honestly, I’m so much more comfortable with myself than I was in my 20’s. It’s just strange. A minute (okay 20 years) ago, I was fresh and new, with the world open and wanting me. Now, I’m – eeeek!!! – a middle-aged suburban mom?? OMG.
Somewhere in those 20 years, almost all of my goals changed, or very slowly subsided into the background. I don’t want to blame the children, but what-the-hey, it’s their fault. With their blessed arrival, my entire focus shifted from me to them. It’s exactly how I want it, just don’t remind me what I used to want.
I was happy before I saw Cindy on the cover. I didn’t think about any of this. Sigh. I really wish I wouldn’t have seen my old friend today.