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Aging Gracefully

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I have found myself noticing lots of woman lately, mostly woman of a certain age. Woman who have a depth and vitality about themselves that their younger sisters cannot duplicate. Woman who radiate this light of self-love and self-acceptance so brightly, everyone around them is drawn in like a moth to a flame. And the most striking common characteristic I find is that these women have not succumbed to society’s insatiable appetite for anything and everything “young.” These women have not felt the need to inject or alter their faces to “appear” younger and yet these women would leave their frozen and plastic counterparts in the proverbial dust in any true beauty pageant.

What ever happened to aging gracefully? Everywhere I look, I see ads for Botox and implants, injections, and surgeries. The television is filled with young and beautiful woman but have you noticed they are becoming a bit plastic-looking? Have you noticed? Their features seem to all blend together and it is hard to tell one woman from the other. They all look alike, just like giant Barbie dolls. I was at a department store last weekend. The young woman waiting on me at the cosmetic counter was twenty-six years old. Twenty-six years old and she nonchalantly informed me she “had” to do Botox because the lines in her forehead were just too awful.

What are we teaching our young women? If we run to every new anti-aging gimmick that appears, what are we saying about ourselves? We can blame the media and we can blame the doctors and drug companies. And while I myself like to blame the drug companies for much of our woes as a society, we are the ones that must stop and look at ourselves with brutal honesty. What are we afraid of? As for me, it is very hard to let go of the “image” in my head. That image of me in my younger days. The image of the beautiful young woman, the “babe.”

But whether I like it or not, the “babe” years are gone. No matter how much I inject and pull, tug and shrink, I will never be a “babe” again. AND this is how it should be. Now I can be the complete woman I was always meant to be. I can be attractive and sensual in a new and more powerful way because I am no longer the “babe.” I have learned to accept my faults as well as my gifts. I am learning to show the same compassion and love I shower on my family and friends to myself. I am learning to truly love myself in my complete authenticity, warts and wrinkles included.

Every stage of our lives are filled with wonder and beauty. The clarity and confidence of women who have reached a certain age, is a breathtaking aphrodisiac also. A woman who is fully owning her years and her wrinkles as well as her wisdom and humor. A woman who is unapologetic for gray hair and laugh lines. A woman who carries herself with elegance and dignity. A woman who is confident of herself and proud of her choices. That’s the sensuous woman I want to be and most importantly, the woman I want to model for my girls. 

I will always care about my appearance and I will continue to wrestle with the little voice in my head that urges me to be better, dress nicer, lose more weight. It is one of my many inner voices that I have finally made friends with. The shadow side may be terribly critical but she only wants me to be my very best. She only wants me to be loved and cherished. The catch is, I must love and cherish myself before I can expect it from anyone else. Together, we will continue down this path to wholeness one day at a time. Hold the Botox, please!

And thank you to More magazine for printing wonderful articles such as the interview with the luminous Paulina Porizkova in the April issue. With more role models like Paulina and More, we women will continue to be empowered to make our own choices while embracing our wisdom years with grace and authenticity.

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