On my last trip to Los Angeles, I went to the 50th-birthday extravaganza that Vice Chairman of Sean Combs Enterprises Andre Harrell organized for Revolt TV CEO Keith Clinkscales. First, we had a fabulous dinner at a swanky new Beverly Hills restaurant. Later, we headed to the opening of a hot new club on Sunset Boulevard. It was sure to be a glamorous night, so I dressed accordingly: cute LBD, statement jewelry, extra-high heels. I was ready to par-tay!

I’ve known Andre and Keith for more than a decade, but there were many people hanging out with us who I’d never met. I hit it off with one really cool guy, and we ended up chatting over dinner and at the club. I have a serious boyfriend, so I wasn’t flirting, and he was fun to hang out with. As we were standing on the banquette sofa and dancing, the deejay played Digital Underground’s “The Humpty Dance.”

My new friend leaned over and exclaimed, “This was the joint back in the day!” I replied, “Right?! I remember dancing to this in college.”

Well, that stopped homeboy in his tracks. He just peered at me and said, “College? Aren’t we the same age?” “Well, I’m 44,” I told him with a smile. My friend’s mouth fell open, and before he could edit himself, he yelled, “What the hell? No way…” He just kept shaking his head in disbelief; then he turned away and proceeded to chat up some more “age-appropriate” women.

At first, I felt some kind of way about it. I happened to be at a table with a few older men, but the women hanging around were mostly in their 20s. I eat well, and I work out. I feel strong and healthy. But all of a sudden, I was feeling old and a little silly. Then I took a closer look at the crowd; everyone was trying so hard to impress each other. And I could not have cared less! I just wanted to celebrate my friend’s birthday and have a good time. Anyone who was interested in hanging out with me was more than welcome. But if my age was outside of your conversation comfort range, so be it. And I proceeded to have a blast!

The interesting thing is that the older I get, the less I care about what people think of me and the freer I feel. The freer I feel, the more I am able to enjoy myself in any setting. Most people get so caught up in the number of birthdays under their belt, that they forget to live life fully.

Our cover subject, the transcendently beautiful Angela Bassett, has no such hang-up.

At the shoot, we were blasting music and dancing and laughing, and at age 55, she is a stunning example of what good nutrition and exercise habits can yield; but more important, she exudes a youthful energy. Angela is confident, strong and didn’t give a damn what anyone thought of her that day. She didn’t act her age; she acted herself.

Hit me up on Twitter or email to let me know how you’re going to forget your age and live a life without limits.

Amy DuBois Barnett is the Editor-In-Chief of EBONY Magazine. Email her at [email protected], follow her on Twitter at @amydbarnett, and Instagram at @amyduboisbarnett.