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Woman in Paris: 45 and Fabulous!

women-over-40Today is my 45th birthday, and it recently dawned on me that I’m one of those people who still gets excited when it’s my birthday. In fact, I’m throwing a little party for myself and decided to leave off the “no gifts, please” line that I used to include with my invitations. Yes, this year, I want presents. Lots and lots of presents.

Still, despite my excitement and genuine glee at continuing the journey through my forties, I’ve found myself a bit shocked by this new number in my life. I’ve never been one to dwell in the past or look to the future. I’m quite Zen, actually, rooting myself pretty firmly in the here and now. And with no children to measure the passing of years against, time has been pretty irrelevant to me.

So when it was brought to my attention that my next milestone birthday is 50, it dawned on me that time—specifically my time—really does fly by all too quickly. How is it possible that while I’ve been paying so much attention to the details of my life, I haven’t given much thought to the progression of my life?

I’m not saying that any of this is a bad thing. It’s just surprising. The truth is that I feel happier, and more enthusiastic, energized and adventurous as a 45-year old woman than I ever did in my teens, 20s or 30s. I feel liberated; free from the illusions that previously kept me from becoming the me that I am today.

Of course, it helps that I’m hitting this milestone in 2010 and not, for instance, in 1990. That’s when there would be a significant difference between being a 45-year old woman in the U.S. and being a 45-year old woman in Paris. In 1990, I would become invisible—to American men and marketers.

Fortunately, we 40-something women are now seen as sexy on both sides of the Atlantic. The French no longer have the distinction of being the only ones to still objectify older women. Thanks to the likes of Michelle Pfeifer, Sandra Bullock, Jennifer Aniston, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore, Demi Moore, Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Monica Belluci, Juliet Binoche and Julia Roberts—all actresses over 40—we middle-aged gals are still seen as “do-able.”

Still, I’m far more likely to find a Frenchman flirting with me than an American fella. In fact, I’m not quite sure that American men still flirt. A few weeks ago, while at a bar on South Beach, I saw a very handsome man looking at me with a smile. After a few minutes of shared glances and more smiles, this man walked over to me, leaned in close and whispered in my ear, “Sweetie, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but you’re wearing two different shoes.” He began to walk away, but before he got very far, he turned and added, “But they’re both fabulous.”

linda-donahue-signature








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17 Responses to “Woman in Paris: 45 and Fabulous!”

  1. Lise says:

    Bonne anniversaire Linda! Hope you have a fantabulous birthday! Thank you for a wonderful blog, hugs, Lise x

    PS. I’m 50 this year and will be in Paris for it, what a perfect place to celebrate our birthdays!

  2. Lindsey says:

    Bon anniv poulette!! Wish you were here so we could celebrate this special day!

  3. Lindsey says:

    and I’m sure your shoes WERE fabulous :)

  4. Barbara says:

    Okay, those last two lines almost made me snort tea out of my nose. You’re right though, it’s not too shabby being over 40, no matter whether in the U.S. or Paris. But I’m sorry to say that it’s happened a few times where I’ve noticed a handsome man smiling at me, and just as I start to feel flattered, I realize that he’s actually smiling at my kids. Ah well. Thanks for the laugh – and happy birthday!

  5. Happy birthday! And wow, that is the best ending to a story I’ve read in a really long time. Fabulous!
    -Sion

  6. Maggie says:

    Happy birthday!
    -Maggie

  7. You are hilarious, fabulous and wow…a month my elder!!
    Love you girl, so glad we’re friends and can’t wait to see what the second half of our lives bring…hope there’ a lot of Paris in it!
    xoc

  8. Linda Donahue says:

    Right back at ya, sister!

  9. jo silverman says:

    And many more great ones to you, Linda.
    In the words of the ageless pitcher, Satchell Paige, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”. It’s a number!
    Enjoy.

  10. Marti says:

    I love this site and I love Paris … Happy, happy Birthday. I think I’ll plan to spend my 55th there!

  11. Bien sur
    A woman is not really a woman until she’s fifty. In Paris we adults have the fun-
    a very content 60+ guy who gets younger every day.
    Vive la France

  12. [...] J’adore this post on Parisien Salon on the topic of  Women Over 45 and what that means in France versus the United States. It ties into the book I just finished [...]

  13. Have a fab 45th!! Mine’s next week…I’m also turning 45. I so relate to your post. I’ve been married a very long time, but I still get hit on by men of all ages. But it’s really quite international here, so I can’t speak on American men’s attitudes towards us “older” girls.

    Lucky lady, you- spending this milestone birthday in the most incredible city, Paris!

  14. Linda says:

    From one Linda to another…
    Joyeuse Anniversaire!

  15. Susan says:

    Bonne Anniversaire Where are you going to celebrate? I had my 50th birthday in Paris in 2007 and had several friends come to stay in an apartment I had rented. We are from Sydney, Australia. Had my birthday dinner at Le Train Bleu, which was so lovely and old world Parisienne. They made me the most magnificent birthday cake and the waiters came and sang.

  16. Fifi Flowers says:

    Bonne Anniversaire a little late… ooops… better than never, non?
    J’adore your story… especially since I too am in the 40s club… and I think it is a FAB club… ENJOY!!!
    Fifi

  17. Linda says:

    I adored your article and hope your birthday was as fabulous as you are cheri!

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