When my daughter was about four years old, she looked at me very seriously, tapped my cheek and said in the saddest voice, “Oh, mommy. Your face is falling.” I don’t know if I had frowned or if she noticed the fine wrinkles that had started to show up around my eyes and cheeks. Whatever the case, at that time I thought what she said was funny! Aw! So cute. After all, I wasn’t “old”! And pshaw! I certainly wasn’t vain.
But she’s twelve now, and her prophetic words have started to come true. My. Face. Is. Falling. I have to admit, for years I felt kind of…hopeful. Smug, even. That maybe I’d age astoundingly better than other women of my age. Oh, it was all a delightful fantasy! One day about eight months ago…I woke up and shuffled down the hallway to get my morning coffee and thought…what’s up with my eyes? They feel so weird. My eyelids were smushing my eyelashes. Were my eyes just swollen from a bad case of allergies?
No, my friends. At some point in the night, just like that (**snap!**) my upper eyelids had done a little landslide down the mountain and now rested against my lower eyelids. Worse yet, they STAYED there. It’s changed the way I look, even causing a little crease at the corner of my eyes. This change, added to my neck, that’s decided to start doing the limbo (LOWER!) and my hair that is now (Boing! Boing! Boing! turning gray and wiry, has forced me to face reality and acknowledge that yes—apparently I’m at least a little vain, because these changes, if I have to be completely honest, bother me.
Mind you, when I talk about vanity, I don’t mean I spend a lot of time in front of the mirror admiring myself and obsessing over my appearance, I just mean the idea of saying goodbye to my younger self is a little unsettling. It means…changes. A graduation of sorts, to “the next part” of life. It’s normal to feel this way, isn’t it?
I’ve always been determined to age gracefully. So…how to do that. I’m not sure, I’m still working through that part. Here are some of my current strategies:
1. I wear sunscreen. Sun damage is the cause of a lot of my aging issues. I’ve got sunspots and wrinkles from spending days at the lake and several years living in Panama, before anyone cared about sunscreen. I used to have the best tan. Now I’m paying for it. No need to compound the damage with more.
2. Makeup. I’ve realized: LESS IS BETTER! And that frosty, shimmery eye shadow is NOT my friend.
3. I indulge in skin care/cosmetic products that work for me. For example, I love products with argan oil in them.
4. I’m more careful of my diet. I’ve gone really heavy on the veggies, and have started working more organic, clean foods into my diet. It’s not about counting calories or losing weight, but about feeling better.
5. I drink a lot of water. I’ve also replaced diet sodas with LaCroix sparkling water.
6. I’ve become more active. I just FEEL better when I’m outside and moving and doing something.
7. Most importantly, I look at the beautiful women I admire so much. My mom, my grandmother, my aunt and mother-in-law, and so many other lovely women who are part of my life every day. They are gorgeous and smart, and have shown that age is something to be proud of—not concealed or ashamed of. Each year of our lives is a blessing. It’s important to measure them by the meaningful relationships we enjoy with the people we love, and our accomplishments, big and small. Not by the lines on our faces.
How about you? Do you have any strategies to share for aging gracefully? Is it something that troubles you—or not at all?