Long time no see, Society. Listen, I’ve spent more money on skincare products in the past year than in any other period in my entire life. Why? Well, because I’m aware that we—women only—must fight the war against aging every single day. I see all the ads and read all the literature you print, like in Vogue, Cosmo, and Architectural Digest. They all read like brochures for getting a facelift, and, no thank you, I’m not interested.

Hey, wait, don’t start talking to that twenty-year-old. I’m still here. The whole time we’ve known each other, I’ve been aging; you just never noticed incremental changes, because you’re normally super obsessed with my weight. Now that we haven’t seen each other in over a year, you might notice that there’s a little bit of loose skin draped like a curtain dividing the left side of my neck from the right side, as if each side suddenly became modest. Please don’t tug at it. It’s skin. No, I don’t want to put on a turtleneck.

Look, I tried to fight it. I bought a five-hundred-dollar neck cream that boasts a “tri-structural complex.” Three structures!! I figured one of them could hold up skin. I use a seventy-dollar jade roller on it twice a day in the hopes that I can roll the skin back into place. So far no luck.

There’s more: You may also notice a few more gray hairs framing my face like an unwelcome halo, only instead of having a glowing effect, my halo dulls my face. Hold on, where did this ring light come from? Please take it off my face. I just want to talk to you. Speaking of my face, I do facial exercises every day to keep my cheeks right up against my eyeballs, but they’re doing their own thing.

Yeah, I’m still good on the facelift brochure; I haven’t changed my mind about it in the last minute. No, that’s incorrect. Women don’t change their minds every minute. Quit spreading that myth, please, and let me talk.

I’ve also lost several pounds because I had so much stress and anxiety during quarantine that I couldn’t eat…and now you’re honking a car horn and whistling at me. Gross. Where’d you even get a car horn? Never mind, I’m trying to make a point about how my body has changed and how I’ve changed along with it.

For fuck’s sake, stop trying to give me that facelift brochure! Oh, it’s not the brochure. What is it? Ah, I see; it’s a coupon for a facelift. Yes, you’re right: I shouldn’t have assumed. I’m sorry.

Do you want to hear the great news? A byproduct of aging is that I finally love myself exactly as I am, and I don’t need anyone else’s approval… Ouch! Stop trying to burn me alive with your lighter. I’m not a witch; I’ve simply grown wiser, gained confidence, and discovered inner peace. The cot and straitjacket are unnecessary too. I don’t feel faint and I’m not hysterical. I’m just saying that I’m a happily unmarried, child-free, visibly aging woman over forty, and it took being stuck in self-isolation during a pandemic for me to realize that was okay.

Where are we going? Why are we walking into the utility closet at a 7-Eleven? Are we even allowed in here!?!!!? Holy shit, this 7-Eleven has a secret portal!?!? What is this white room that extends to infinity in every direction? And who are all these women…?

Wait a minute. Is this a theoretical void? And these are all the women between the ages of forty and fifty-five who have decided not to fight aging? Wow! I always wondered where we disappeared to in Society’s (your) eyes. Honestly, a theoretical void is a lot kinder of a result than I would have expected.

Thank you, Society. I feel better. Oh no, why are you crying? You wanted to make me feel sad, rejected, frustrated, insecure, unfulfilled, and completely discouraged? I’m sorry to let you down. I guess I forgot to mention the other byproduct of aging: we no longer feel any of those things, because they’ve all been replaced with rage.