How to celebrate your age well into your 'older' years

ANOTHER birthday has come and gone, and I have sensed it is time to get in touch with my Inner Sex Goddess and shore up my own sense of self-worth.

And so count this as a rallying cry to all women over 40.

Despite what you see in the media, there are not two ages - your 20s and dead.

Yes, I know it can feel like that sometimes, in a world where we glorify the sexually potent youth that we enjoy fleetingly between about 18 and 35.

But, let's face it, the majority of our life will be spent being referred to as older, middle-aged, or just plain old. How ridiculous.

For women, the old double standard is alive and well - not just gender pay inequality, but sexual inequality. A man over 50 is still considered attractive and potent, whereas a woman over 50 needs Botox, new boobs and a butt lift before being considered a "babe" if, indeed, that is what she wants to be considered.

Enough already, I say. Power to women of all ages, but especially those being relegated to the back of the queue.

Once again abandon the bra - the push-up, the padded, the lift-and-separate.

Dress "inappropriately", ie bikini top and shorts if it's too hot for sensible clothing, complete with a bit of a muffin top hanging out.

Play up your good bits - your shapely calves, your delightful ear lobes, your beautiful hands - with your favourite clothes or jewellery if you so desire. And don't label anything on your body bad.

If you're fit, and it works, it's good. The alternative is infinitely less appealing.

Be strong. Use your muscles. Strengthen your bones. Work your mind. A beautiful mind and heart are better than a pair of silicone 36Ds.

Take up role models - women famous or otherwise who are comfortable in their own skin, no matter what their age.

I often hear women bemoan the lack of sane, single, available men, and you may just be in the wrong place, in the wrong generation. But, if it's a man you're after, you only need one good one, so forget about "lack of", and concentrate on abundance.

Reclaim your right to be sexual and sexy. Younger men? Why not? Older men, too. Any man you want really - or not. Or no men, if that's your choice.

Don't be boxed, pigeonholed, or patronised. More wrinkles or a softer butt doesn't mean you're past your use-by date. Hell, you're in your prime.

Recently, the fashion designer Tom Ford said, "I am tired of the cult of youth - the cultural rejection of old age, the stigmatisation of wrinkles, grey hair, of bodies furrowed by the years. I am fascinated by Diana Vreeland, Georgia O'Keefe and Louise Bourgeois, women who have let time embrace them without ever cheating. Society today condemns this. Me, I celebrate it."

I sense the world is turning. Let's not wait too long to play catch-up.

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