Besides staying out of the sun or at least applying sunblock when in the sun, how are we supposed to age gracefully? How are we supposed to accept the new line on our face that seemed to sprout from no where or the so called sunspots (nothing sunny about them) that happened to land on our bodies uninvited? Face it, it's difficult to age gracefully when all around us we are reminded that youth is where it's at. "Youth is beauty" as one friend shared with me as though it was a private revelation. With bill boards, commercials, sporting events, and Hollywood's definition of beauty, it's difficult at times to accept the fact that as each day slips by, so does my youth.
I know the answers. I'll be glad to share my personal and not so personal advice as long as you realize that I am not immune to the same fears and worries as you. I also have to fight the fear that arises from witnessing my youth slowly abandoning me. On one hand, I feel the same as I did when in my 20's, 30's, and 40's....at least in some ways. Of course I no longer have the same energy, drive, and desires, but I also no longer possess the same jealousies, insecurities, and judgements as I did when younger. My bones ache a little. I'm a little more tired. I'm quite a bit heavier, but I still feel the same within when it comes to my love of life, thirst for knowledge, enthusiasm in trying new things, and my over all awe in the beauty that surrounds me. I've always loved and appreciated people, but now that appreciation is intense. I have changed in some areas.
This post is NOT about discovering the fountain of youth, although if you find it, I would like a sip! We all know the most common ways of holding onto the physical aspects of youth: using sunblock, eating the right foods, exercising, drinking loads of water, surrounding yourself with friends, do what you love, etc. This post is about aging gracefully which means accepting the aging process and it's accompanying companions without fighting them. You might as well as learn to accept it, because if you don't, you'll be miserable. Face it, it's a losing battle to fight that which you can't control.
For me it's a constant battle. Just when I'm feeling fairly mellow about my looks at fifty two with six children, I see someone who I swear is ten years younger than I am, but then find out she's exactly my age...only thinner, with gorgeous hair and flawless skin. I've also noticed lately how everyone around me is looking younger these days. People in their 30's look like kids. As a matter of fact, how come there are so many children having children these days?! Perhaps I'm witnessing a new trend where young girls are now spending more time with their little sisters and brothers than they used to when I was that age. Whatever is going on, I swear most of this generation's parents are too young to be parents! I don't believe I ever looked as young as they do, even at 24 when I gave birth to my first child.
Just this afternoon, I brought my youngest son to a free orthodontist consultation. (We already know he needs braces, but before we sink thousands of dollars into the project, we want to make sure we're hiring the right person to take our money.) Not only am I in awe of the futuristic looking office where everything is computerized and no paper used, my mouth just about falls open as the child-like orthodontist walks in the consultation room.....someone not that much older than my oldest child. Actually, she doesn't look like a child at all, but instead, Miss America, 2011. No kidding. She's drop dead beautiful with an exaggerated tall thin body clothed in an expensive two piece tweed skirt and matching jacket. Flowing out of the short waisted jacket is a girly pastel pink blouse that complements the professional stylish suit. Her graceful tanned legs in high heeled shoes made her look more like a model than a high paid orthodonist. More than her looks, it was her young face that shocked me. I instantly felt old and matronly in her presence. I left the office vowing to get thin again even if I have to starve myself! Did I ever look that lean even before six kids? I don't think so.