OyChicago blog

43 and Counting

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annice feb 15

The airport security guy was huge, at least 6 ft. 4 in. and a good 275 pounds. When he stopped me as I went beep-free though the metal detector, I was confused.

“So.” He growled.

I looked up at him smiling. “Hello! How are you?” I knew I sounded overly gleeful and guilty as my mind began to frantically recall my packing process. Full size Toms toothpaste tube? Sea salt spray in an offending over 3-oz. aerosol? A kidney to be sold on the black market? No. I was sure I had left those all safely at home.


“So. What do you know about Jimi?”

I realized he was looking at my shirt with the iconic Jimi Hendrix headshot.

“Purple Haze …?” I replied weakly.

“Everyone knows ‘Purple Haze’ – name another one.”

“Uh, I don’t know…”

“Where was he born?”

“Uh, California?”


“Oh! Yeah! I knew that! I went to Seattle this summer and visited that Museum where they have all the Rock and Roll Hall of …”

“You need to know more about Jimi wearing that shirt.”

“Well, to be totally honest, it’s my kids T-shirt.” I lied.

He raised his eyebrows, well trained in deception detection. “Your kid’s T-shirt, huh?”

And with that I was summarily dismissed. My face burned. It was like Jimi himself was rolling his bloodshot eyes at me. I felt like a total poser. My camouflage pants didn’t help the situation. I tried to shake it off. It was an impulse purchase! I thought Jimi would help make me look hip and young – the emphasis being on young seeing as the day before I had turned 43 years old.

Being newly 43, the timing of being called out was especially painful. (And the fact that I was seduced into my purchase of the iconic image mainly because it had been located in the juniors department and it fit, just made it all the more worse.) It was then I realized the level of desperation I had sunken to in an effort to cling to my fledging youth.  It’s true. I’m getting older, and I’m starting to feel it in my bones.

So what’s a girl to do? I’ve talked about it before – I have my limits. No knives, no needles. I’m not looking to lift my boobs with anything other than a bra. 

I blogged about aging right around when I was turning 39; I reread it initially to not be repetitive. I was complaining about the usual – dark circles, wrinkles, brown spots, wanting to be a redhead (“fiery” I specified) once I began to gray … I still have all of those things going on, plus additions (like, the gray is actually starting to happen.) 

Rereading who I was four years ago doesn’t feel much different than who I am today. My spirit still feels young even though my body might be betraying my age. So after the four-year review, I’m starting to rethink my embarrassment and create a do-over in my mind. 

“So. What do you know about Jimi?”

“He was hot, played the guitar, died tragically young of an overdose.” (This much I know.)

“You need to know more about Jimi wearing that shirt.”

“Not really. Last time someone told me what I could wear was when I was 3. I can wear whatever I want. I’m 43 and free!”

And with that I would flip my fiery red mane, tighten my grip on my hot pink carry on and saunter confidently in my own wrinkled, spotted and saggy skin wearing my Jimmy, er, Jimi Hendricks T-shirt like I had every right to – because I do. 

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