I have never been a person that dreaded getting old. I've never thought that my life would be over when I hit 40, and I never really put an age limit on anything I wanted to do. Maybe because I was born with the mentality of a 75-year-old woman already enjoying retirement, or maybe because I pay attention to all the work women over 40 are doing, a la Shakira and Jennifer Lopez in the Super Bowl LIV halftime performance. I mean, seriously, can we have more of that please? Less "30 Influencers Under 30" lists and more "Moms & Women Still Killing It After 40," thanks.
Look, you don't have to like Shakira or J. Lo's music to appreciate what they did on that Super Bowl stage. You don't have to even be a fan of sequins or music or dancing — but no one can watch those two women, those two mothers, absolutely own it on stage and not feel impressed.
Shakira turned 43 years old today; J. Lo is 50. And those numbers, when attached to your average, normal, everyday woman who doesn't have a closet full of Grammys, mean absolutely nothing. If you Google "what are women over 40 doing," the entire first page of results are listicles with headlines like "20 Things Every Woman Over 40 Should Stop Doing" and "10 Things Women Over 40 Should Stop Saying."
Every one of those headlines is garbage. And J. Lo and Shakira proved it.
There's a confidence that comes with age — a "give no Fs" kind of attitude. You learn quickly that life is short, and that worrying about what your neighbors think is absolutely pointless. You realize that the most important things in life are the people you love and everything else blurs in comparison. You know that no matter what you do, someone out there won't like it, so you might as well do what you want.
If we all stopped dreaming after 40, what a quiet world this would be. Shakira and J. Lo on stage prove that motherhood and age and society's "rules" for you can't stop you. They only make things better. We're confident because our children deserve to see it, and we keep dreaming and doing things we love because we deserve it and, oh, I could go on and on here.
There is so much privilege in the 30-under-30 influencers set. There's so much sheer dumb luck and money wrapped up there. But in this era — this magic space of women creating and being incredible, dynamite humans even after the crappy magazine articles tell them to stop wearing cut-off shorts — is where the hard work happens. It's where we keep going and growing. And where we keep shimmying on stage.