Aging Proudly: Please Stop Telling Me I Have to Look Younger

70, Girl, 70.

Aging Proudly

That’s how old I’ll be (or, my body will be) in October of this year.

What?!?!?

So, yeah – I still have months left in my 60’s – but the big 7-0 is right around the corner.

And to that I say:

Yay! Wahoo!

Or I’m getting there.

That number, 70, represents more years than my mother got to live, after all (she died of lung cancer at 67), and my hope is to be the Betty White of aging –spreading joy, making the most of it all, treasuring each day to love, work, teach and learn.

Even if I do have (gasp!) wrinkles. And grey roots. And a few issues with aches and pains, yada yada.

I’m so sick of defying age. Or aging gracefully. Oh, please.

What I want to be is: Aging gratefully. Aging boldly. Or – better yet – Aging proudly.

Care to join me?

…and getting awesomer

Otherwise – what kind of example are we setting for our daughters and grandchildren? That youth has everything, that it’s a terrible thing to get older?

And, seriously, to call in the cliché, what’s the alternative?

I’ve known women who, as teenagers, were thrilled to look older than their age – until they got to 21. 21!!!! Then the desire to look younger started to creep in, and “wow you don’t look it” had a different meaning.

That is frightening.

Of course, it isn’t all our fault, as role models. There’s the media: TV, films, commercials, magazines – where youth, not wisdom, is glorified.

Parents on sitcoms are often the stupid ones. The kids are smarter. So why grow up?

Women in Hollywood get ignored once their faces show experience instead of the blank slate of possibility. That’s why so many smart actresses are producing their own stuff now, thank you very much.

And don’t get me started on advertising. In order to get us to buy stuff to look younger, first they have to convince us we are ugly as we are. Grrr.

So – there’s that.

But then there is, well, us.

What can we do?

  • Stop lying about our ages. Say the number – loud and proud.
  • Notice if we feel we need to hear “but you don’t look it!” when we state said number. So -if we do “look our age” – what’s the crime in that? I used to wait for the gasp of disbelief when I revealed my age. Now, if that doesn’t happen – it has to be fine. Working on it!
  • Stop with the Zoom filters. Sure, I like my good lighting and a little make-up, but I feel like I’m cheating with more.
  • Focus on, and treasure, experience- all we’ve learned, whom we’ve loved, what we’ve taught, all the experiences we’ve racked up. Proud! We are fascinating.
  • Stay as healthy as we can. That’s the best reason to still use moisturizer, eat well, take walks, etc. Well, the main reason.
  • Stay fascinated with everything – if you’re feeling like an old dog, learn a new trick. Takes a decade off your internal age!
  • Maybe look in the mirror less? We see so many more flaws than the people who love us do when they look at us.

No one looks as closely to our face as we do.

I have a dream: that we women will be considered valuable through each and every decade of our lives. In a perfect world, we’d be considered beautiful, too. Even with wrinkles. Even with grey hair. Even with a less firm body.

That dream starts with the way we choose to feel about ourselves – and our ages.

This is one of the reasons I adore Helen Mirren. And Sally Field. They age beautifully, boldly, proudly.

I’m still working on this, full disclosure. Sure, I can say the number loud and proud – but yeah, I still spring for the box of Olio hair dye every five weeks or so.

Age proudly. That goal, like us, is a work in progress.

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