The Aspen Princess: ‘Leathering’ the storm of getting older |

The Aspen Princess: ‘Leathering’ the storm of getting older

Alison Berkley Margo
The Aspen Princess

“How do you suppose I get rid of a muffin top in five days?” I asked my friend Brady the other day.

I was sitting around the house in the leather pants I bought off the sale rack at The Loft Boutique in Willits last summer for 75% off. Don’t ask me where I thought I’d ever wear these things considering a night out these days means going to Sure Thing Burger and slamming a beer while my kid sits for all of three minutes to eat his burger before he starts running laps around the restaurant, knocking down chairs like bowling pins.

I was trying out the leather pants for the big birthday night out this Sunday, and it occurred to me that I should probably have “midlife crisis” tattooed across my forehead for that and a few other reasons, such as:

You know you’re having a midlife crisis when … you think it’s a good idea to wear leather pants.

I remember when I first moved to Aspen in my early 30s and I’d see these older ladies who wore their hair in pigtails and donned blatant party attire; anything from brightly colored sunglasses and leather boas to tight pants and tall shoes. I’m not talking about the cougars whose faces have been distorted by too much plastic surgery, but the locals — the hippies who moved here back in the ’70s and didn’t want a little aging to get in the way of their fun. I remember looking at them with a mix of admiration and dismay. Surely, their daughters would be horrified to see them gallivanting around town that way, but at the same time, I was applauding them. You go, old girl!

Well, it appears my time has come.

I am now that woman who wants to fight and kick and scream against the concept of “age appropriate” and go in the opposite direction. There’s a disconnect between the person I am in my head and what I must look like in reality. It is a challenge to put on an outfit that makes me feel alive and rebellious without looking like a prostitute whose expiration date has passed. I probably need someone to tell me that purple furry cropped jacket from Free People makes me look more Muppet than glamour girl. Sure, you can get those pants buttoned, but that’s only because you’re soft enough around the middle to manage it. And just because you can’t lose 5 pounds doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to wear those 6-inch platform white booties you ordered on Zappos, though it is the best option you’ve got going right now.

You call 911 because you need an emergency Botox injection.

I’ve never been one to get addicted to drugs. Like, I remember how disappointed I was when I lost interest in smoking in my late 30s and discovered I didn’t like it anymore. How would I stay thin without cigarettes? Smoking weed always made me paranoid and hard alcohol made me sick. But alas, at this late stage in life, I have finally found a drug I love. I am not ashamed to say that I have paralyzing my laugh lines with Botox since I was 38 and it has preserved my face better than if I had been mummified like King Tut. Like my good friend Chad once said, “It looks like a Zamboni ran over your forehead.”

The only problem with this little miracle drug is it doesn’t last long enough. Four months later and you’ve aged 10 years. Plus, it’s expensive, and the older you get, the more of it you need, and more often. You pay for the stuff by quantity, so trust me, it adds up. I don’t even want to think about how much of Levi’s college tuition has literally gone to my head. Let’s just say that when the time comes for more, you get as desperate as a drug addict in need for another fix. Crow’s feet, frown lines, forehead wrinkles, oh my! If I don’t get a needle in there soon, I might die — or at least look that much closer to dying than I did a month ago.

You become obsessed with Instagram filters.

I swear to god I have never been that vein simply because I’m too self-critical. I can’t believe how hard I was on myself 10 years and 10 pounds ago. Why couldn’t I have enjoyed my young body while I had it? This does nothing to explain my recent delusion of thinking I am Kardashian-level important and that everything I do is fascinating and needs to be documented for my tens of followers. This includes daily selfies that all look the same because I’ve taken the time to figure out which is my good side and most flattering pose. Plus, who doesn’t love filters? Lighten that baby up enough and the dark circles under your eyes are gone and your blonde hair is at least three shades lighter. I look so good! This is something I want everyone to see. Enough about me, what do you think about me?

You’d rather hang out with kids than adults.

We recently had a bunch of family in town and I found myself wanting to spend all my time with the kids, the second cousins who are the next generation. We braided each other’s hair and tried on each other’s clothes and looked at cute boys on TikTok. It got to the point where I’d forget who was the adult and who was the child, asking them for advice and doing splits in the snow and doubling over from fits of giggles. This, more than anything, has always been my anti-aging strategy. It must be working because someone mistook me for my 52-year-old cousin’s daughter.

Age really is a state of mind, but that doesn’t mean those leather pants fit.

The Princess is turning 50 on Sunday. Email your advice on aging gracefully to