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Perhaps it’s because we are inundated with Hollywood images but as a nation we are obsessed with youth. We are constantly bombarded with images of women (why is it mostly women?) who look a good 10, 15, even 20 years younger than their age. I can’t imagine the pressure most actresses face so I’m in no way judging those who have opted for cosmetic surgery.
In fact, I don’t judge “regular women” who make that choice either. We all want to look our best and anything that helps us feel better about ourselves is fine, as far as I’m concerned. I started going gray in my 20s so I’ve been coloring my hair for years. And while I admire my friends who have made peace with their gray hair, I’m not there yet. And I might never be. There’s a good chance that I’ll be that 70 year old lady with her monthly appointment to get her hair colored. Heck, I might even opt for purple highlights once in awhile.
So what does it mean to age gracefully? How do we learn to accept those inevitable changes as we grow older?
What? Were you expecting an answer from me? I don’t really know but I’ve been thinking about it.
I find myself looking at older women I admire to see how they are doing it. There are a couple of good examples in my own family. My mom and her sister are both in their 70s yet no one thinks of them as “old”. Neither one colors their gray hair and they both have been sun worshippers all their lives. I do hope I have inherited their good genes because I think they both look beautiful.
While these thoughts were rattling around in my head I happened to see this article:
Let’s take a look at those “6 Things”, shall we?
1) Women of all ages can be the sensual love interests — and not just the matronly grandmothers — in popular movies.
This is something I would LOVE to see more of. I absolutely adore the movie, Something’s Gotta Give for just this reason. (Well, and that gorgeous beach house.) Diane Keaton is one of those rare American actresses who serves as a great example of aging gracefully sans cosmetic surgery. She has written a book about beauty and aging and I will definitely be reading this one.
2) Less is best when it comes to makeup — but that doesn’t mean you should skimp on skincare.
I’ve always opted for a more natural makeup look and I’ve become more serious about skincare in recent years. Fortunately I’ve never been a smoker and because I sunburn so easily I have avoided tanning beds and excessive sun exposure all my life. There’s one in my favor!
3) Sex should continue to be important.
The article goes on to say that while only 60% of American women over 50 remain sexually active, over 90% of French women do. I don’t know if either of those statistics are accurate (only 60%?) but I certainly know which group I’d rather be in.
4) Having just a handful of clothing items that fit perfectly is a lot better than having a whole closet full of items that aren’t all that great.
This is something I need to work on. I don’t buy a lot of clothes…in fact, David often tells me I should buy more. I’m just not much of a shopper and in all honesty, I keep putting it off “until I lose weight”. But I’ve been saying that for years. Maybe it’s time to invest in a few perfect items.
5) Walking is the best exercise.
Get yourself a Fitbit and start moving.
6) What you eat — and how much you eat — are of vital importance.
Something David and I have noticed is that when I serve dinner in courses, as the French tend to do, we actually eat less. By slowing down the whole dining experience you allow time for your brain to get the signal that you’ve had enough. I also find that a glass of wine with my meal adds to the enjoyment and again, extends the length of our mealtime. We’ve been doing this on Friday nights but I need to work on making it a nightly practice.
One thing not mentioned in this particular article is the role men play in all this. I’ve heard that French men have an appreciation for older women that isn’t quite as common here in America. Or perhaps they are just more open about it. I’ve never been to France but I will say that in New Orleans I’ve experienced some of that. I’ve even overheard men there talking about how they genuinely prefer women who are no longer ingenues. Maybe it’s the French influence at play there, too. I do know that it’s a lot easier to feel good about getting older when in the company of people who think you still have something to offer.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about aging gracefully. Leave me a comment.