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.
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.
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.”
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. 😊
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.