Aging In The Modern Era: Deny, Defy, or Flourish

 Aging in the modern era: deny, defy, or flourish. We modern women who are entering the Autumn of our lives have different challenges than our mothers and grandmothers did. When I look at pictures of my Grandmother Gibbons in her 60’s, I see a woman who looked about the same from age 45 until 80. She wore the same pinned hairdo and dress (never pants!) styles for almost 40 years. And she was in sync with her peers, and satisfied.

Grandma was about 70 here, at my, ahem, first wedding. She always looked the same. A wonderful grandma.

My other grandmother, Grandma Lucy, traveled halfway across the world by herself at age 60. She always teased her hair tastefully and spritzed on a favorite perfume. Her clothes were modern to her era, and when she died at age 63 we all had the same reaction: this cannot be; Lucy is eternal.

Miss you, Grandma Lucy, thanks for all the love and lessons.

Is it easier or harder in 2020 to cope with aging? As we see our age cohorts ranging from Jane Fonda to the silver-haired and cozy Grandma Gibbons next-door, it’s clear that times have changed. And we do have choices about how we age; some choices will bring us more happiness than others.

“Here’s the real question: what do we have to do to place more value on age? We have to value ourselves not for what we look like but for the women we are.”

-Maya Angelou

There is a rebellious streak in many of us that says “just deny aging”. Keep doing the things you’ve always done, wear your best red lipstick every day, and power on in your four inch heels. I’m looking at you, Baddie Winkle, rock on. I am a big fan of denial in selected circumstances. And bravo to all of you who are still rocking your high heels. But I am not going to deny the effects that normal aging has on me, both inside and outside. For example, my feet hurt. 😊 

Baddiewinkle follows the beat of her own drummer.

To defy aging is a stronger and perhaps more aggressive approach. After all, aging is not a disease, it is the most natural condition.  I confess that I have and will use modern science and cosmetics selectively, to try to defy aging; in this aspect I follow the herd. I also use common-sense physical activity and a healthy diet to stay well and fit.

“I defy you, age 65!” By which I mean: I don’t have to follow the same rules as my ancestors, nor do I feel the pressure to look and feel 29 again. The middle way I am seeking sounds more like flourishing. Not denying my age, that is a biological fact. And not defying it to the point of anger and frustration. But learning to move ahead and enjoy every sandwich while I can.

How are you approaching aging? The answers will be as different as all of us are, and I hope we share a flourishing of our lives going forward.

Keep flourishing and stay safe, and wash and wash and wash, xo

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Header image of beauty in bloom via source.

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  2. My mother has dressed the same way with the same hairstyle for the last 30 years. I’m going to be 59 this year and I want to be the best version of 59 I can be but that doesn’t mean trying to look the same as I did 10 years ago. Although it would be great if my skin still had the elasticity it had then!

    • You have a great, unexpected, and authentic style, dear Shelley. It will continue! And yeah, i miss the bouncy skin too. xo

  3. I have to keep in mind that I don’t have the energy I once had. Other than that, I still work full-time (remotely), have a side hustle as an online reseller, and am returning to college this fall as an art history major. I just turned 61.

    • You sound busy and happy, Tami! And art history, what a delightful major. Stay well, xo.

  4. Your observation of women aging in the past is exactly right. My grandmother and others looked the same from age 45 until they died. Your suggestion that we can age differently is important and interesting.

    Unlike the past, I don’t see a consensus any more; rather, different approaches seem to be explored. I believe this is due to the rise of celebrity culture where prominent women (e.g., Jane Fonda) display youthful beauty at very old ages (often through artificial means). The good news is we all get to choose for ourselves how to age. I know my path and applaud other women who find theirs.

    • Good morning dear Ally, so good to see you. And thanks for your thoughtful comments. We have more choices now, and perhaps more pressure to appear “youthful forever.” I love this: “I know my path and applaud other women who find theirs.” Stay well and safe, xo.

  5. I believe I do value myself for who I am, I am not really struggling with aging, I am 54, but sheesh these lip wrinkles are annoying! And i do not like the look that lip wrinkle fillers give – aka ‘trout pout’. Now each to his own but for me that would say I don’t feel confident in my own skin, which I do. So for now eating healthy, exercising, have not smoked for 20 plus years, but nothing makes these damn creases budge. i have tried lots of serums and creams too – and still am, but am starting to believe these are a money making scam. For so many years we have heard how ‘bad it is to have wrinkles’ yet none of the potions work. I am starting to feel enough is enough with that. Otherwise I have a wonderful OH (very handsome and a little bit younger than I) and he only makes me feel fabulous so what do I have to worry about. As they say the alternative to aging is not that appealing.

    • Hi Lise and thanks for coming by. Yeah, if there were a legit “fix” for wrinkles, none of us would have any! And your final words of wisdom really do cover it all. Have a great day, xo.
      P.S. My husband is handsome and younger than me too. : >

    • Good morning, Maureen and thanks for coming over! Have a calm, lovely day, xo.

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