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Aging gracefully gets harder everyday
Good morning dear people. Thanks so much for subscribing to my little corner of Substack, I am really grateful for the support. Right now all the newsletters are free to all subscribers but if you find that you are getting something from my harebrained musings I would be ever grateful if you would consider subscribing. I am considering a few extra incentives for subscribers and I will be opening that door as the homeschool year ends in a few weeks. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment box, and again thank you.
The other day I caught a glance of my facial profile in a mirror as I passed by. You know those glances that pass so quickly you aren’t sure what you saw? I saw my mom’s face. In a way that’s nice, I miss my mom and loved her face but in a way it’s terrifying because of the way it ages you, to see a parent’s face in the mirror.
My mom was only 20 when she had me so she was always a young mother but she aged and my most vivid memories of her face are of an older lady. It’s hard for me to picture as a young mom now without a photograph to help. Of course it’s hard to remember why I walked into the garage sometimes so maybe that’s normal.
I was speaking with a friend the other day about this very thing. A beautiful model, my age, just posted a bikini shot on her Instagram and she is being hailed as an example of what a fifty plus woman could look like.
God did gift her with extraordinary beauty to begin with and she has maintained her figure with a discipline I certainly lack and I am sure she has all kinds of help to make sure she sticks to whatever regime she imposed upon herself. Trainers, nutritionists, stylists, but I wonder what the point of it all is.
Good health, sure, we should all be healthier and being fit has a lot to do with that as you get older. I work on my balance and stamina a lot because I don’t want to be one of those trippy old ladies who is always falling down and breaking a hip. I am clumsy to begin with so it means a lot to me to be able to balance well.
My friend was posing the question what else is this beautiful woman about? What else except being beautiful. I’m sure she’s loved, and she’s probably pretty smart and all that but her beauty seems to be all she is when you check her social media. She never posts about a meal she cooked or a book she’s read or a charity she supports. Nothing else but beautiful photos of herself in lovely places.
Ok, that’s a way to go, but most of the women I know want to be part of something bigger than their appearance.
I remember my Nana at the age I am now. She wore dresses, mostly shift dresses, she had salt and pepper hair which she never considered dying and which was set every week at the “beauty parlor” by the same man. She always smelled faintly of Arpege and whatever powder was in the fascinating box with the fluffy puff in her bathroom. She was a comfortable Nana-like person whom I adored. I can picture her very clearly at the same age as the beautiful bikini shot woman.
In such a short time, about a generation, we went from loving our Nanas as they aged elegantly and gracefully to revering the woman who looks like she stopped aging at around thirty-five.
I often feel like a failure because I pretty much look my age. I honestly don’t mind being the age that I am but looking it is fraught with emotions and I think it’s because we are inundated with the images that seek to create this idea that letting yourself be yourself at your age is letting yourself go. I haven’t let myself go, I work at my appearance to the extent that I want to age gracefully and elegantly. I dress to my age and figure (the ever changingness of it makes this challenging but I try), I use good skin care products. I move and eat better. I try really I do but nothing short of a lot of surgery is going to wind the clock back twenty years. Surgery is expensive and I would rather spend the money traveling. To me that seems a better investment. Memories of people and places, good times and new adventures. I’d like to be known more for who I am than what I looked like. The things that are important to me, the things I know or am learning. The person created by experience by laughing and crying, loving and hoping, reading and thinking, writing and speaking. Those things are more “me” than my crows feet or a skinny bottom (I don’t have a skinny bottom, never will again either).
I’m not really sure where I am going with this except that I wish all the fiftyish women of the world could unite and say “enough” and stop subscribing to and following the products and influencers who are trying to sell us an artificial version of ourselves. There is finally starting to be a lot of discussion about how social media is damaging to young people, girls in particular, but I think it’s damaging to us in the later middle age (I will not live to be older than 100 I am sure so past middle age I am) in many of the same ways. We did not grow up with this kind of social pressure to look a certain way but we are aging with it and that can be damaging.
I am a created being. I was created by a God who loves me even when I look my age or older. I am His daughter and I have gifts and flaws and I am trying not to see thinning eyelashes and creaky joints as flaws but maybe just as a sign of a life lived fully.
Is this a conversation worth having or am I the only one who struggles?