This Is Us

How Women Can Embrace Aging in a Youth-Obsessed Culture

Confidence, discernment, and sexiness develop over time

Lisa Marie Rankin
Human Parts
Published in
7 min readJan 6, 2021

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Image: AK Rockefeller/Flickr

Many years ago, when I was in my mid-twenties, my boyfriend at the time was explaining his categorization of women. Apparently, it was shared amongst his friends. It went something like this: Women between the ages of 20 and 25 were considered “gazelles.” He described them as being like “a deer in headlights.” They were naive and a little bit useless. Women 25 to 30 were “bobcats.” They were playful, fun, and, most importantly, agreeable. This, apparently, was the most desirable age range. Women in their thirties were “cougars.” They were on the prowl to find a mate. They were also more set in their ways, so they were more demanding than the cute bobcats. Women over forty were “mountain lions.” And “no one wanted a mountain lion,” he told me in all seriousness. Just thinking about becoming a mountain lion sent shivers throughout my body. But, I was a bobcat at the time, so I shrugged it off.

Though I innately knew this categorization was false and terribly demeaning, it always stuck in the back of my mind. It was like I was trying to outrun a mean-spirited and judgmental father time who was waiting around the corner with his clipboard ready to categorize me. But now that I’ve entered into mountain lion territory, I feel a cat-like pride. Because, really, why wouldn’t I want to be a mountain lion? She is strong, confident, maternal, and discerning. She prioritizes her needs, has no interest in pleasing others, and can easily protect herself and her cubs from predators. And let’s face it — a mountain lion is a pretty damn sexy animal. After many years of considering how I compared to others, I now feel confident and rooted in my feminine power — or let’s call it my mountain lion power.

One sultry summer evening in my bobcat days, I was getting ready to go to a party with my boyfriend (the same one who informed me of this categorization). I remember choosing a stunning dress. It was a brightly colored Diane Von Furstenberg that I got at a considerable discount. I wore it with nude, patent leather kitten heels. I thought I looked great. My boyfriend, however, looked at me and said, “You’re wearing that? Does that even match your shoes?” I felt hurt…

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Lisa Marie Rankin
Human Parts

Heal your body and enliven your spirit through Divine Feminine practices and principles to thrive in all realms of life. lisamarierankin.com/waitlist-enlivened