My recent birthday gave me ample opportunity to reflect, as I always do, on my life thus far and what the forthcoming year means to me. As a woman I’ve become very aware of how our society puts an extreme amount of emphasis on aging as a marketing tool for beauty products (most of which are completely unnecessary and useless- but they smell good and look pretty!)
I find it fascinating how aggressive the marketing is aimed at being anything other than your age. Specifically if you’re a woman over 40- that is the target demo. Those are the ones to be convinced that everything about that age is wrong and must be changed immediately or something very bad may happen…. Everything is centered around: reclaiming youth, stopping the aging process, reversing signs of aging, stopping the clock, etc etc etc….
First of all, I believe whatever is going to happen to our skin/hair/nails/teeth is pre-genetically determined and there really isn’t anything we can do about it other than surgery (which I am completely in support of if it makes you feel good).
Secondly- I have no desire to go back in time. I lived through my 20s and 30’s and it was not all that fun all the time. Tight skin or not -there is a lot of emotional shit, angst, debt, insecurity and instability in those ages that I do not miss at all. Those are the years to get to know yourself, experiment, overspend, over-drink, overeat, fuck up, re-do, try out, try again, quit, fail, keep trying and start figuring out what you want your life to really look like.
40 and over is the time to enjoy all that effort – not want to go back there!
“Signs of Aging” seems to be a big catch phrase with advertisers. To sell their creams, lotions, shampoo, sprays, ointments, or whatever. They have pronounced signs of aging to be: fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, thinning hair, dry cracked skin, bags under eyes, crows feet, grey hair, etc etc etc etc etc……
None of that sounds appealing to me, however I believe that it IS GOING TO HAPPEN to all of us- sooner or later and there’s nothing we can do about it. Nothing. Except accept it, and be happy and love yourself and enjoy life.
I think about the phrase signs of aging and to me it means something completely different. To me aging should equal evolving. Hopefully the longer we’re on this earth the more chances we’ve had to evolve into better human beings- inside, not just outside. So I came up with my own signs of aging list. These really can only be achieved by living life for several decades, focusing on what goes on inside as much as what’s going on with your body outside
Here is MY list of signs of aging:
- Confidence – knowing what you want and knowing how to get it: job, parking spot, relationship, car, house, good table at restaurant, etc.
- Going out to eat alone without announcing it like you’ve just found a cure for cancer.
- Same goes for vacationing alone (it is an awesome experience!).
- Knowing how to make money, and hopefully having a pretty good amount of it by this point.
- Not getting caught up or sucked into anyone else’s drama. So boring after awhile. Been there done that, several times.
- Not allowing people to treat you poorly. Speaking up for yourself.
- Treating other people well with no agenda or expectations.
- Knowing exactly what clothes, shoes, lingerie work for you and look great.
- Same with hair color and make-up.
- Not 2nd guessing every single thing you say, do or act upon. Because you know what you believe and you trust yourself.
- Knowing better than to fall for gimmicks, bad personal relationships, or risky financial investments
- Appreciating and knowing the value of: fresh fruit in season, expensive shoes, good bubble-bath, days off, early nights in bed, stretching, great movies, manners, good grammar, style, classic music (any genre), good wine, and a great financial adviser.
- Knowing good books can sometimes be better company than most people.
- Getting out sooner.
- Forgiving faster.
- Moving on faster.
- Opening up faster.
- Being vulnerable but keeping your eyes open.
- Changing what you don’t like rather than complain about it.
- Knowing and asking directly for what you need with no hesitation – a napkin, a raise, a fresh drink, a divorce.
- Knowing how to turn down invitations with finesse and not feel guilty.
- Eating a Goddamn cupcake with a ton of frosting on it if you want it.
- Re-evaluating what is important in life: good weather, amazing friends, healthy relationships with family, your HEALTH, feeling good, dancing, moving, connecting, laughing/crying, breathing, waking up…..really and truly this cannot be done until you realize you’re closer to death than birth!!
Just wanted to share this with you- whether you’re my age or not- I hope you value yourself EXACTLY where you are in your life!!!
Photo by jonrawlinson
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18 thoughts on “Signs of Aging”
Love this list! At 37, there’s no way I would trade in any of my years of life experience and go back to being younger. Life is fabulous right now, and I see absolutely NO downsides to getting older and wiser!!!
Great article, thank you for this!
Thanks for a great article – I can so relate to many of these learnings. I shared it with several friends and I know they will enjoy it also.
A really inspiring post! I’m a college student, so I realise I am a little younger than the kind of women you are perhaps writing for but having youth doesn’t mean I never think about growing old.
In fact, there are times when I dread it, but it’s things like this that make me realise that there is nothing wrong with ageing, in fact, there’s something wrong about NOT ageing, and everything RIGHT with growing more confident and experienced with life.
Thank you for a fantastic post.
Great article. I’m 6 weeks away from 56. I don’t want to go back but I wish my body would have stayed like it was when I was 40 or even 45. Thanks for sharing your insights I really enjoyed it.
I love this, great job!
I love it! Your list makes aging sound like something to be proud of rather than something to be feared. Great work.
Great post. I’d definitely agree with your list – it’s your life, do it as you please. I’m only 23 but I can related your list to some extent and it;’s exactly how I think it should be – if you know what I mean. :)
Loved this post and focus on inside and out! :)
I am 25, but I know that I would HATE to be a teenager again… I didn’t think it was to bad at the time, it was only after I started to feel normal again, more confident etc I realised what a toll it had taken on me.
I would say your definition of aging could be likened to maturing… and like a good wine – gets better with age! Thanks I enjoyed reading your post.
Hi there. I really liked your entry on aging. As I read it I couldn’t help but think about the truth in the words you had written.
My favorite line was the one about speaking up for yourself.
I wrote an entry about 7 Things to Look Forward to as You Age:
Perhaps you might be interested in checking it out. :-)
Great list. It’s 9am here and that face genuinely scared me lol. Not allowing people to treat you poorly is a really important one. Be your own boss.
This is a really great post, but I disagree that there is nothing you can do to prevent aging short of surgery. Smoking, unhealthy dieting, lack of exercise, and stress are all things that can lead to aging faster than one would be disposed to on a purely genetic basis. And these are all things one can control. And while there is nothing you can do to prevent physical aging, we will all age, that is basically like saying there is nothing you can do to prevent death. it does not mean we should not try to live as best as we can and treat our bodies well.
Oh, God, yes. Aging is wonderous for the confidence and the experience, etc. Our eventual decline certainly is inevitable; however, I’m not trying to do anything to hurry it along. Forty is not the age to say fuck it, I’m going to end up a wrinkled old hag anyway. Sure, you are. You’re going to die too but don’t you want to do everything reasonably possible to look as good as you can for as long as you can? I do. You don’t need surgery until much later and if you didn’t take care of yourself to begin with. A good exercise routine and good skin regimen, plus some injectibles can have you looking Demi Moore good well into your sixties. Myself, I don’t do anything more radical that exercising, eating right, washing off my make-up at night and wearing suncreen all year around. You’d swear I was 30. I also don’t give into the old lady thinking. I’m not yet menopausal so I consider myself a young lady. Helps loads.
Loved this post and focus on inside and out! :)
Love this article! Very inspiring. I think staying young on the inside is key. I hope to ENJOY life for as long as I can and do some dancin in the rain, even when I’m old. ;)
Great article!! We can’t stop aging but we can enjoy the process. I’m 31 now and no way would I ever want to go back to 18!! I still stuff up here and there, but who doesn’t. Life is one big learning process, as long as you learn from your mistakes its all good. At 31 I know I have changed a lot, i’m a lot more confident now, I think that is something people develop with age. Great article once again!!
Thank you for posting this. Every age has its glory.