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[Youth - Just a State of Mind]

[AnneMarie Winski]
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"Reflection" by Chrystel Sarrazin

Ma'am. Horrid, offensive word! Come on, ladies, think back with me, now. We all remember this day as though it were a shot in history. The day someone first called us, ugh, "Ma'am."

The picturesque morning started out wonderfully. The birds were singing, the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, and all was right with the world. Or was it? Little did we know that lurking within the mind of some 18-year-old delivery person/grocery bagger was the word all women dread. Yep, you guessed it, "Ma'am."

Why is it we cringe at the thought of that word? Could it be that in our subconscious minds, it signifies the end of carefree days and having fun? Why should that be? In this day and age of increased acceptance, why do we still feel the need to hide or lie about our age? Why, the first time you are not carded to enter a club or order a drink, do you run to the restroom mirror to see how many imaginary lines are visible?

These are all questions I've been asking friends and relatives and they all have the same reply: It's the eternal quest for youth. Just like Ponce de Leon, we are all on a quest for that fountain of eternal youth. With youth there is implied beauty, right? But what kind of beauty? External, yes, perhaps. Internal, not always. Youth may have signified the spring of our lifetime, but were we mature enough to have made the right choices, instead of just blindly going with the flow? Just think about how many times in the past you said, "If I'd known then, what I know now." Maybe youth isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Speaking from personal experience, while vanity (and, yes, certain magazines which shall remain nameless) dictates that youth is the only relevant time of our lives, I disagree. We are much more beautiful now as people than we ever were in our youth. We take time now to see the big picture and how every action has a definite reaction, whether good or bad. We also have the means now to enjoy the things we couldn't in our youth.

Remember the first vacation you took with your friends? Not as good then as they are now, were they? What about your first apartment or, should I say, that closet with a bed and sink? Doesn't quite compare to today's abode, does it?

We are able to do many of the things we couldn't afford to do in our youth, and yet we still yearn for those days of juvenile poverty. That is, until we say, "No more," to the publications chock full of pre- and barely post-pubescent images that subconsciously tell us we have reached the top of the proverbial hill and are about to topple over it.

I say, embrace your age, imaginary lines and all. Remember, what you put out there is what you get in return. Love yourself for the person you have become, and don't blame the youngster for calling you "Ma'am." When she gets older, the word will come back to haunt her, the first time she is ordering a drink or having a pizza delivered and the word "Ma'am" teeters precariously on the server's tongue. That day will be permanently etched into her mind, as it has been for so many others in the past.

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AnneMarie Winski is 29 years old and has lived on Long Island in New York for the past three years. She is the proud parent of two cats, Psycho and Boo (short for Buddha Belly), and an attempted backyard gardener with a black thumb.

E-mail AnneMarie Winski at
comments@moondance.org


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Other Opinions Articles...

[ Youth - Just a State of Mind ]
[ Where Have All the Good Women Gone? ]

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