I miss my face. It’s funny, this aging thing. So incremental, so subtle. It’s not like when we were 10 years old, then 15 – wow, what a sea change! And from age 15 to 20 was morphing from a kid to a young woman.
But after about age 50, the changes are more indefinite, and we get used to whatever face looks back at us in the mirror every morning. We know we look “younger” in certain lights and from certain angles. Sometimes we gently pull back the skin on our necks and cheeks, to see how we’d look with a little “work”. But mostly we just take a look, and go about our business.
I’ve had a long, angular face for most of my adult life. I’m blessed with high cheekbones and a strong jaw. Decades of heavy-duty sunscreen and Retin-A have kept the texture of my skin pretty smooth.
But a glimpse in an outdoor mirror today took me by surprise. That woman looked, well, older than me. A bit more like my mother? But she was me. There’s vague saggy-ness, some deeper lines around her mouth and eyes, and some indefinable not-youthfulness about her.
There’s nothing remarkable about this; I’m sure it happens to many of us regularly: we get a glimpse of the aging process in the stark daylight. And there’s nothing inherently bad about it. It is reality. If we’re lucky, we get older. No one is immune. The Kardashian sisters will have these moments 25 years from now (although I suspect there will be more interventions!).
But I do sometimes miss my face. The firmer, smoother one. Is that bad? Is it shallow? Probably. What I think I am missing is all the possibilities that are attached to the young face, all the options that are ahead. And yes, the power of youthful beauty too. There’s no denying that youth = beauty in our culture, and beauty bestows power.
We women of a certain age have “our own faces.” Author Jane Tara wrote “It’s often only as beauty fades that it becomes apparent it was ever there.” Our faces show that we’ve lived a bit. We are not naive, not easily fooled. We have wisdom, grace under pressure, experience in love and loss, and deep friendships.
“I like the woman you became better than the girl you were. I like the story you’ve written on your face”–Joanna Bourne
I wouldn’t mind having all those things, and my younger face. That’s not a real option though. Even painful, expensive surgeries don’t “turn back the clock.” I will allow a moment of grief for my formerly young face, then move forward into all the possibilities still ahead.
Please share your own thoughts about our evolving faces.
Stay fabulous, xo
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More and more, I have noticed a resemblance to my mother in photos of me – it’s more of an expression than an actual physical resemblance, but it’s jarring anyway. I’m pretty ok with my aging face but I miss the body I had 10 years ago. Menopause was not kind to my mid-section.
Hello Shelley and it’s always good to see you. The expressions, I see them in my face too, although I could hardly be more different a person than my mother was! You always look smart and creative, xx.
Hi, Patti! What a lovely picture of you and Sandy! You both look fantastic.
I’ve been noticing lately that I’m starting to look more and more like my mom, and she’s looking more and more like my grandmother. I tried so hard for most of my life just to be ME, that it’s been a mental adjustment to accept that yes, I look like my family members.
Twenty years ago, when I didn’t love my body, I did a pair of artistic nude photos through a reputable local studio. I sort of hid the framed pics in another room where people wouldn’t see them – I recently pulled them out and hung them in my hall. Damn, my skin looks so good! I looked beautiful then, and I love looking at myself in them now. We are better-looking – face and body – than we think!
Hope you are well, my dear friend. Hugs.
Hugs to you, dear Sheila. Thanks for coming over. I love the idea of your nudes hanging in the hallway! And your appreciation for your physical self – it’s so healthy and you are quite a fabulous looking woman. Sandy’s hair is now as long as L’s hair and I adore it : > xx.
As previous comments have told, I also miss my younger body, and not only its smooth aspect!. Sometimes it annoys me not being able to bend down or jump as much as I used to do. But glad that I still can do a lot of things. And Dance!.
Anyway, it’s shocking to see your mom/dad in the mirror, particularly if the relationship is not good at all. I always tried not to look nor live nor behave like my mom, and now I’ve been defeated!.
As another previous comment said, I always try not to look grumpy, always try to keep my smile and attitude and be kind. This makes a difference.
Hello dear Sra, and thank you for coming over. Yes, the body shows its wear and tear too, but to be able to dance is marvelous. I can’t even imagine you looking grumpy, and your smile lights the day! Stay well, xx.
Oh, Patti! Just two days ago at my house, at bedtime. I’m sitting on the bed rubbing cream into my ageing feet (seriously! my feet look old!) & my husband is in the bathroom. I hear: “[Expletive deleted] [expletive deleted]!”
Me (slightly alarmed): “What’s wrong? Honey?”
C. “It’s my [expletive deleted] father!”
Me (more alarmed, as it’s almost midnight): “On the phone? Is everyone OK?”
C. “In the [expletive deleted] mirror! It’s my old man looking back at me!”
Me (nearly falling off the bed laughing, even while trying not to, wanting to be sympathetic & all): “Your father is absolutely drop-dead gorgeous! He still turns heads at 82!”
C. “[Expletive deleted]! It’s all downhill from here, sweetheart.”
So Patti, dahling, we are not alone in our bewilderment at the inroads of time.
Janet, thanks for making my day with that story! So it’s not just women who see our parents in our own faces, eh? Your story reminds me I am wise to have married a man my age, so we are going through this bewilderment together. : > xx
I think the issue is that when you look in the mirror you see your older parents ( in my case now dead) and as my relationship with my father was fraught – I find it disturbing that I look so much like him when he got older and very grumpy and entitled about a lot of things, he was born in 1927 in a very male dominated country. Sometimes I see a photograph of myself when caught in a glum mood and remind myself to always have a smile in the eyes as well as on the face at every possible opportunity.
Its the smile and tone of voice that people see and remember…
Hello Angela and thanks for your thoughtful comments. It would be hard to see grumpiness in our own faces. I love the idea of a smile in the eyes! Stay well and safe, xx.
Thank you Patti for being so authentic and honest. I so relate to your post and site. There is comfort in knowing one is not alone in missing the beauty of youth .To get out each day feeling attractive I just moisturize those wrinkles , apply light make up and put on a pair of designer sunglasses and beautiful earrings and smile. I also have found that those face yoga exercises have really helped me look better and they were free on you tube.
Hi Joan! We are not alone – we need to laugh together and cry together. And wear cool sunglasses! Stay fabulous and enjoy every day, xx.
You hit the nail on the head, as always. It’s like a small mourning for what was. I went through the same thing yesterday evening as I was applying eyeshadow to go out to dinner (something new again and exciting) only to struggle with my newly heavier eye lids. How did I lose my eyelids over this last year and a half!?!? Where did my younger face go? I got over it, put on some always-trustworthy lipstick and had a great time. Then you defined it this morning. Naming those feelings allows me to frame them and deal with them a bit better. Thanks, KL
Hi Kerri-Lee and good to see you. Lipstick is a magic-maker at my house! There’s a lot of loss that comes along with aging, but we are not lost. You’ve got a sparkly wit to go along with all the the other gifts. Stay well, xx.
It’s not just the face, but the younger, smoother body I also miss. It still functions pretty well, ( for which at my age of almost 75, I thank God) but there are saggy bits, and bits of crepy skin, as well as a few lumpy bits that weren’t there 10 years or more ago. Some of it could be improved a bit with more rigorous exercise, I suppose, but some can’t be improved on, so I’ll just have to live with it
Hello Janet, and thanks for coming by. Yes, the body has shown some wear and tear too (my elbows!). But you’re wise to be thankful to be alive and functioning well. It’s a blessing. xx
Interesting! We are old enough to remember how we used to look but we still have today and tomorrow. Enjoy!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hello MP and thanks for your visit! For sure, today and tomorrow are looking bright. xx