Sunday, December 9, 2012

Aging Gracefully

I've always admired graying women who don't bother to dye their hair. We all get older. I'd rather embrace it and focus on other parts of my life then try so hard (desperately, in some cases) to hold on to my youth.

Maybe that's easy for me to say now, because I am still young. I like the way I look (overall) and that's probably partly because I'm in my 20s.

But I see all the "anti-aging" products (mostly marketed toward women) and I see some of my older female relatives feel down about wrinkles or stretch marks or less distinct curves. And I understand the desire to be appealing, I do. If there was a way to stay in a youthful body I probably would, too. But there's not.

Now, I'm all for being healthy and for staying fit to the extent reasonable for your age group. I think that's awesome. But we're all going to lose some color and get some wrinkles and I'd rather just accept it and be happy with who I am.

That's kind of why, by the way, even now I very rarely wear make up, I don't color my hair, and I try not to let myself dwell on what outfit I'll wear today for more than a few moments. I want to be healthy and hygienic and feel good about my body image, but outside of that I try to de-emphasize my looks and focus on other qualities. I don't want to feel hideous leaving the house without make up--I think my face is fine. I don't want to feel depressed as I inevitably get older--I like myself and want to continue to like myself.

Anyway, I was thinking about all of this partially because I recently saw some before and after photos like this:

I think these women are pretty good-looking for their age, and certainly in great shape. It's kind of sad and embarrassing to see how much they need to be artificially touched up to impress people. I much prefer something like this:

Helen Mirren

She seems lovely to me. And because it's not (ostentatiously, anyway) photoshopped, she seems confident too. Maybe I project too much.

Of course women of all ages are pressured a lot to focus on looks and reach a certain (ridiculous) standard of attractiveness. (See?) I don't like it for any age group, but I guess it bothers me a bit more for older women. Trying to achieve the Crazy Hot "Ideal" 23-Year-Old thing seems more sad and desperate from women in their 40s and 50s then women in their 20s, although I don't think it's a good standard for any of us.

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