I read this quote today, by fabulous writer Jill Chivers at her blog My Year Without Clothes Shopping:
“You will never ever be truly happy or settled in your skin if some part of you believes it is wrong or unacceptable to get older, and to look older. A part of you will always be stuck on a hamster wheel (of someone else’s design), trying desperately to stop the clock, or wind back the clock, to make you look and feel younger than you are.”
That phrase “hamster wheel” really socked me. The pressures to stay “young” and “fresh” and even “young for your age” (bleghh) are ever mounting. There are a least a billion YouTubes about how to “fight aging” and “use makeup to take ten years off.” These are all for women, by the way, although I am sure some men also struggle with their aging appearance. It can feel like a hamster wheel or as futile as trying to catch one’s own tail: is this Next Thing the one that will restore my youthful looks? And of course it isn’t, but I’ll try again.
If you ever watch the home shopping channels (don’t start now if you haven’t!) the pitches for anti-aging potions and devices are relentless. The “Before” picture looks the way most of us do at midlife, and “After” has the great lighting, glossy lips and serene smile.
I am all for efforts to feel good about ourselves as we age. I love what Retin-A does for my skin, and I work out every day. I wear lipstick and mascara most days, and concealer under my eyes. But I am not fooled into thinking these practices actually make me younger.
We are getting smarter, wiser, wittier, and more appealing in so many ways. We aren’t getting younger though, for whatever worth we assign to that quality. Our culture assigns a lot of worth to youth; it’s up to us to put it in perspective. Youthful appearance is one thing we’ve all had, and now we have a different, not worse, appearance. As Stephen Hawking said, time in this world moves in one direction, but we are not dead yet.
Some fab pieces for women of any age:
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