Worried about getting old? We're like a fine wine baby!
Amy Ruffle shares why she's embracing getting older and wiser.
When people ask me how old I am, I have forever answered “I am on screen 18-25”. For work purposes, my real age has always been irrelevant and Hollywood has got to decide how old I am.
Also, it's just a funnier answer.
And so as my true unspoken age has continued to rise, I continued to read casting briefs of troubled teens and raunchy college kids, despite the ever widening cavern between my real life and those I was pretending to be. But like they say, all good things come to an end and after receiving an audition for [insert title of new high school drama show], no longer was I auditioning for the mysterious new kid in town, I was up for the ever suffering English teacher, sweet and unassuming.
With that, a conversation about my on screen age window commenced and discussions about what I could do to hang on as long as possible to the 18 year old end. That the rough hands of Father Time do in fact not have to come for us all and there are procedures for the wrinkles now around my eyes, creams for the scars on my skin, haircuts that are perceived as more youthful, and of course I could craft a svelte, little bod that doesn’t so overtly scream 'ability to bear a child’.
The fear that my continued physical degeneration was going to hamper my ability to do my job, while disappointing, is certainly not an experience that is unique to the entertainment industry. Everyone should absolutely be able to do whatever they desire to their own body and I in no way begrudge anyone who derives joy from the activities prescribed to me, but to me, the belief it is necessary to defying the very natural human process of ageing, feels like a shame. I see ageing and its physical representation on our bodies as the greatest privilege, because the opposite is pretty grim and final. We are constantly sold the story that showing the signs of our time on this planet is a negative, whereas this narrative should be the opposite and a celebration of the time we continue to have fortuitously bestowed upon us.
I love getting old. It is the freaking best. Yes I don’t fit into the pants that I used to, I will have impromptu night sweats for no reason and I can’t hear anything in venues with even the slightest background music, but with my physical decay has come incredible mental freedom. I spent so much of my unwrinkled youth worrying about what other people thought and what I should be doing or wearing. The validation of others was the upmost priority because I didn’t know how to validate myself. The obsession with youth is so exterior centric and fails to acknowledge the internal growth and peace that comes with more laps around the sun.
The people in my life will probably tell you I have gone too far with this one, but the things I am happy to leave the house wearing now would break younger Amy’s heart. She used to spend so much time trying to figure out what was the cool thing to wear, despite the physical discomfort afflicted by those ambitions such as the devil’s own high heels, or the refusal to wear any form of coat in the depths of winter. It was about fitting in and being liked, and a complete waste of time, comfort and self expression. Now my only motivations for what clothing I wear is whether it is comfortable, fun, or if on that day I have any energy to care.
I love using fashion as another form of creativity and expression, but I also love wearing absolute garbage if I’m not in the mood and need to leave the house. I’ll wear sensible trainers with a dress for the rest of time because I no longer see ANY need to be walking around in heels like a new born giraffe, unable to lift left to right with any sense of stability. I’ll wear 7 layers if I need to in order to be warm because I know I am just as interesting whether you can see some skin or if I look like an overflowing laundry basket. And I’ll wear my bed socks and pyjamas to the grocery store if I’m tired, because the joy of being old is that you just don’t care. These things that felt so important are as distant a memory as the ability to do long division.
My skin may have been blemish free when I was a genuine, real life18 years old, but my now marked body is the tapestry of my life. My scars tell the stories of my past, the troubles I have conquered and brand me with my own unique roadmap. I am proud of the mistakes I have made that now mar my body. Proud of the hurt and pain that I have withstood and overcome. Proud of the flawed, imperfect life I have lived that has made me the version of myself I am now. And no way am I going to try and hide them.
The physical side effects of staying alive are too commonly obsessed over and demonized. We’re like a fine wine baby! Sure the bottle might be a little dusty on the outside and the label is faded, but the contents that we are all there for is only getting better and richer and more satisfying.
To get old is a gift. It means we have the honour of living another day, something many people don’t have the great pleasure to do. If the cost of the joy of being alive is a gravity affected body, an obsession with buying homewares and the desire to listen to talk back radio, I will roll into this decaying, uncool future with pride and gratitude.
The departure from my fake TV high school life doesn’t have to be something to fear and I cant wait to be the bumbling teacher character with no idea how a TikTok works or why mullets are back in fashion. No acting required.
Amy Ruffle is an actor, producer, improviser and self-confessed board game enthusiast.
Refreshingly honest with a wonderful way with words, Amy shares her musings with It's All Her.