I recently heard an NPR interviewer tell his interviewee that in his experience we never feel completely grown up, no matter our age. This struck a chord in me as I near my 43rd birthday and trip-out on the fact that I am “middle aged” when so much of me still feels 33, or 19, or 7.
For so many years I yearned for the future when I would be older and (theoretically) have my proverbial s**t together. I imagined myself growing old gracefully, embracing life in middle age with some wise flavored contentment. In reality, this aging thing has been far more difficult than I had imagined.
It was around age 35 that I realized my power as a youthful, attractive, head-turning woman was waning. I perversely started to miss the once unwanted attention from men that I had attracted in my 20s. I started don the invisibility cloak that I had heard described by older women. And most surprising to me was my strong resistance towards the natural wrinkling of my face, the stooping of my shoulders, the yellowing of my teeth and sagging on my muscles.
Once upon a time I would have never imagined that I would have been seduced by the siren calls of the magic eye creams, belly firming lotions, injections and lasers that are continually pummeled on to aging American women. And yet there, at age 35, I was buying Groupons for anti-aging facials and the latest hot workout classes, fueled by the fear of losing the battle with time and age. The pressures for women to stay pretty are pervasive as we can see from the global “anti-aging” market which was worth $215 billion in 2016 and is rapidly growing.
Like it or not, wrinkles are a star player in the genetic performance on my matrilineal side. My grandmother’s face was one intricate crease upon another, and I assume mine is also heading that direction. A year or so ago my mom impressed me by saying “oh, I haven’t cared about my wrinkles for years.” I thought to myself that this is the attitude I should take on now, and not wait until my late 60s. However, when Mom then had cataract surgery and was actually able to focus in on the web of lines across her face, she started caring again. It seems that very few women, no matter what age, are immune to the pressures of maintaining a unrealistic juvenile beauty.
Now, steady progressing into my 40s, I remember this comment from Mom and wonder: what would we be like if all of us had the limited vision that allowed us to overlook our “flaws” and “blemishes?” Or what if this vision, instead of being “limited” per se, was actually so powerful that we saw beyond the wrinkled skin and sagging breasts and graying hair into our true spirits? What if we just accepted the inevitable passage of time? What if measured the other women around us not on their physical appearance but on the beauty of their intentions and passion?
The funny thing is, the never-ending quest for physical perfection can actually make us look ugly! We’ve all seen those perfectly coiffed and polished older women who have chased all the potions and lotions and surgeries to look perfect but end up appearing hollow and desperate. And we probably all know an older woman or two who has embraced the natural aging process and glows gorgeous from her self confidence and sincere comfort in her own skin.
The good news is that living a physically, spiritually and mentally healthy and balanced life now will help us shine brightly in all our years to come. Simply nourishing our body with fruits and vegetables, moving our bodies in fresh air, choosing herbal tea over coffee.. these easy health and wellness habits can be as powerful as micro-needling and botox. Ladies, let us spark a revolution for healthy living as an act of self love and radical beauty from the inside out!
For easy tips and tricks on how to age naturally and beautifully, I’ve written an e-book titled The Top Ten Mistakes To Avoid So You Can Look Fabulous Over 50. Please email me here for your free copy.
P.S. I’m now making appointments for complimentary 45-minute health coaching Discovery Sessions on the phone. Contact me to set yours up today.