July 5, 2012

I sure look great....for my age!

Being older and more experienced
means you never have to explain
your fashion choice. Fabulous!
I read an article today about the benefits of age. The author noted he wouldn't go back to 21 for all the money in the world and after 50, his level of happiness and contentment increased with every year that passed.

For me, as I start to notice little changes in body, mind, and attitude I cling to the hope that this is, indeed, the truth. So far, the research has supported this, but I still can't believe it could be possible. Perhaps your 40s is all about transitioning from youth to middle age? Although I still struggle with embracing my panus and my attention is always on the newest wrinkle on my face, I still feel like I should be in my twenties. The harsh reality, however, is being seen like a "mom" when these 20-somethings pass by.

I'm trying to age well through deep conditioning, moisturizing, learning what is more appropriate to wear "for my age" (that's what I hate most of all..that phrase "for my age" - I look good "for my age" - I am really fit "for my age") and of course eating well, sleeping well, and exercising.....but my neck is starting to sag and I'm finding myself standing in the mirror pulling my face back more often than not. I catch myself examining my hands more in awe of the change in skin texture; just waiting for that first age spot.

BUT...if I am to overlook the physical alterations, aging really is pretty exciting. I do believe if one is to make fun of aging, one needs to reinvent herself throughout the decades. Create a learning plan for yourself, learn a new skill, trade, or move into another profession. The worst thing I can do is fall into that belief system of age appropriateness. Saying "I'm too old to do that" will most certainly speed up the aging process.

For my 45th birthday, I have already planned to get another tattoo (to add to my collection) and learn to ride a motorcycle (something I've always wanted to learn). No, this isn't the beginnings of a mid-life crisis (at least I don't think so). I'm also going to start my graduate studies program in counselling and change my career at 50. Because of this, I"m looking forward and not backward (as much). I am enjoying a certain professional status in my 40s that my 20s and 30s never delivered. I no longer question my own opinions and decisions because I don't have enough knowledge or experience.

I have always thought it unfair that we begin our lives with a young body (without the experience, education, or developed brain to use it intelligently) and end with an old, wrinkled up body (but with the experience, wisdom, and education). BUT I'm starting to think it may serve us well if we are able to give in to it. Does aging provide us the opportunity to shrug off the vanity and step outside our egos enough to use this experience and knowledge to create a life beyond our expectations? Does the over identification of our youth and appearance get in the way of this self creation? I do feel that our egos and vanities (and the constant search for beauty, thinness, and youth) takes our attention away from self fulfillment and actualization.  Our perverse interest in the lives of others takes our minds off our own lives.

Although it is hard in a society where youth and beauty are most valued, perhaps our 40s is about making that transition from vanity to self creation? Perhaps if we just let go of our perceived hold on age, and just trusted the process, we would find ourselves happier and younger? Just writing this blog today is making me feel more hopeful and positive about aging....

....as long as I don't find myself wearing elastic waist-band pants and a comfy, fleece button down paired with sensible shoes (not that there is anything wrong with that).

4 comments:

  1. Luv this! I am turning 50 soon and I am loving life! Ty KC:)

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  2. Wow! Happy Birthday Anon!
    Hope you are doing well...haven't heard from you for a while. All the best for 50!

    ...you don't look at a day over 35.

    K

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  3. Stand up straight and be proud of what you have achieved, not what you look like. You would be surprised at how young you feel then! (and perhaps a little smug when the 20 somethings go by!)

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  4. Thank you for the interesting comment, 666.

    I was thinking about this all weekend. While it is a nice thought to "stand up straight and be proud" of achievements over looks, women (especially) are socialized through our North American culture of beauty to believe they are valued when they achieve this beauty ideal (thin, youthful,etc.).

    Although many people may not beleive they have been influenced by this socialization...the fact is we are all affected by it.

    I think it is a great notion of being proud of yourself for your achievements but I feel for those women who try to do this (with fail) and then wonder what's wrong with them. Unfortunately, it's the messages around them (through various media) that remind them of what "true success" really is.

    It's interesting, I know so many highly respected academics who know the literature inside out and still are strongly influenced by our twisted notion of beauty. No matter how much you know...or who you may be...no one is safe. I think you are truly fortunate, as a woman, if you do not feel the pressure to look or be what society tells us. They are out there...somewhere.

    After saying this, if one does the personal work and addresses their beleifs and attitudes about aging, health, beauty, and the like...they will be happier and better able to stand up straight.

    Thanks for taking the time to comment ...always love hearing from you!
    K

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