A friend of mine turned 40 the same year Barbie did. At the time, Mattel made a big deal about the eternally young doll hitting this milestone. One day during this birthday-year extravaganza, my friend was driving along and saw a Barbie doll lying on the side of the road (cast aside by a disenchanted owner?). She thought: Is this what happens to women when they turn 40?
Well, maybe not. It could just as easily happen at 30, 50, or 60.
Milestones are not a source of shame. Fighting ageism is sacred work. Combating messages from popular culture is a constant battle. Awareness of who is saying what and why is a big question to ask. Sex, youth, and beauty sell.
But when we face the fears that may come from being another year older, we can begin to live freely. No life is replaceable, not one year, one day, one minute. Ask yourself daily, “Did I live this day well?”
This message was adapted from “It’s Your Birthday: Don’t Let Your Milestone Be a Millstone” by Clare La Plante that appeared in the June 2002 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.