Ageless Beauty and Joyful Aging: Eighty is the New forty
Ageless Beauty and Aging Joyfully
Today’s post is about Ageless Beauty. Aging gracefully; or even better, aging joyfully.
Ageless beauty is a topic that has been on my mind for a while. It all started when my husband and I went to watch the concert of the Rolling Stones. Talk about amazing aging! What a mind-blowing performance Mick Jagger gave! But even before we made it to the concert, we started posting our pictures dressed up, getting ready and excited, and people started commenting on my Social Media feed.
“Wow you look so great!” people would say. “You look, so beautiful.” And I caught myself thinking, “What are they talking about? I look horrible. I have this little sagging on my face, and this asymmetry, and this loss of volume here, in this little wrinkle there…” And you know how that goes; we talk to ourselves in ways, we wouldn’t speak to our worst enemy.
The Brutal Standards of Linking Beauty to Youth.
Don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful for how I look, and I do feel I am aging in a pleasant way—aspiring to ageless beauty.
But you know how it is. A few years ago, I was beautiful and photogenic at any moment, and in any angle. And now? For me to look good for a video or a photo, it has to be with the right lighting, the right angle, the right amount of makeup on. And after the right amount of sleep, and the right amount of hydration.
And doesn’t it feel that the word is brutal? Especially in the United States! The standards of beauty in other countries are not that closely linked to youthfulness. But in the United States, we judge people for getting old like it was a sin.
Therefore, today I want to talk to you about the three concepts that now have become a mantra in my life, for me to embrace aging in a positive way. To embrace aging joyfully—not even Aging gracefully. Because saying “aging gracefully” sounds to me as if aging were a disgrace that you have to apologize for.
So, ready? Here I go.
Ageless Beauty Mantra #1: I am Grateful for the Blessing of Growing Old.
Last Halloween came as a little shock to my household. I used to have incredibly busy Halloweens with four little kids; sometimes adding to that their friends, little neighbors or my nephews. We had a house full of children in costumes, running around high on candy, knocking on doors.
However, this year, my twins, my youngest kids are already teenagers. My youngest boy announced he was too old for trick or treating, and I only had my girl—mostly because she has special needs, and in her mind, she’s still six or seven. So, I treasured that trick or treating with my daughter, knowing it could be my last one.
As I was reflecting on how fast time has flown, an idea entered my mind: “If I hang in there, maybe someday I’ll get to trick or treat with my grandchildren.” That may sound like an obvious thought; but not for to me. First, because I’m a cancer survivor, and second because my mother never got to live her dream of meeting her grandchildren.
Yes, my mother never had to face herself in the mirror and say, “Oh, I’ve gotten so old.” Because she died young. She was only fifty-one when she passed.
Because of that, I make it a point to remind myself that growing old is a privilege. And that I’ll gladly embrace that privilege for the blessing of hugging my grandchildren someday. I know, there’s never a guarantee. My children may never give me grandchildren—but still, if I hang in there, I may find out. Maybe I will have Christmases and Halloween’s again with a house full of children.
And trust me as a big believer on the mind that is spirit connection. I know I have to make peace with aging. Because, if I don’t, my body may declare, “Oh, so you don’t want to grow old? Your wish is my command. I’m going to make the cancer come back, so you die young and never have to see yourself old.”
No, thank you. I will welcome and enjoy the blessing of aging. Fully, gratefully, I embrace growing old.
So that’s my mantra number one for ageless beauty: I am grateful for the blessing of growing old.
Ageless Beauty Mantra #2: I Choose to see Beyond the Appearances.
Doesn’t it feel sometimes that the world makes zero sense? Let me give you a little example. And if you happen to be a lady who loves designer things, please don’t take me seriously. I’m just joking here.
I have a cousin who I love dearly. I’ll call her. Susan. The other day, she was talking to me about a ten-thousand-dollar Louis Vuitton bag. I almost had a little heart attack.
I told her, “Susan, do you really think that a ten-thousand-dollar bag is going to carry my car keys and my phone any better than my twenty-dollar bag from Ross? It just didn’t make any sense to me!
And there are so many other things that don’t make sense in this world! One of them is the concept that beauty is synonym for sexual attractiveness.
Think about it for a moment. Why do we find young people beautiful? Our old, reptilian brain is wired to gravitate towards sexually fertile people. Plump lips, firm skin, perky, body parts… They are all a surrogate marker for youth, stamina, fertility.
If you look outside of sexual attractiveness and pay attention to the wide range of things we find beautiful, you will see. We find beautiful things that have detail in them.
What can be more beautiful than a leaf of a tree, with all those gorgeous veins in them? But when we have varicose veins, or veins in our faces, we panic.
What can be more beautiful than a semi-precious stone or a jewel with all these interesting cracks and lines on them? But we panic when we see the lines on our faces.
I have seen very few things in the world more beautiful than my grandmother Casilda’s face. She’s full of lines and cracks, but she’s also full of a poise, a presence, an accumulated history of experiences. When I am in her presence, I feel automatically peaceful, taken care of, nurtured. She has survived so many setbacks in her life, she has become the incarnation of the concept: “If you hang in there, times will get better. Even when you think the world’s coming to an end. If you hang in there, things will get better.” So that accumulation of experiences, she carries is the most beautiful thing I have witnessed in my life.
So, that is the concept, the mantra for ageless beauty I want you to embrace. Don’t believe the world when they tell you that the young Hollywood actress is beautiful. No, she is sexually attractive. She is youthful—and good for her! Excellent! I love to see beautiful faces— but that has nothing to do with all these other different versions of beauty in the world.
And speaking of that, the concept number three is about that.
Ageless Beauty Mantra #3: I Embrace Role Models of Aging, and I Vow to Become One.
Going back to the Rolling Stones concert. Mick Jagger blew my mind. He is seventy-eight years old, and he was jumping on the stage running and singing. He was playing with the strings of audience’s hearts, energizing us all.
And I think to remember he wasn’t the person who had the healthiest lifestyle when he was younger. It almost makes me wonder, Did embracing music, living a life of passion, have something to do with him being this youthful at this age?
If you’re lucky, you have a positive role model of aging in your life, like I have my grandmother. You can aspire to become that graceful lady who is the base of the family, who is the support, the peace, offers her experience to her loved ones.
But I also want to find other models. Just like Roger Bannister, who broke the four-minute-mile record and gave other people permission to say, “Maybe that previous limitation was all in my mind.”
In that way, I want to find those people who look awesome at any age. Examples of ageless beauty, like Jane Fonda and Christie Brinkley who look amazing. People who are still sharing their amazing talents with their world in their seventies, like Mick Jagger, Lindsey Buckingham and Paul McCarthy. I want to find people who are energized and joyful in their eighties, like Bob Proctor, and even their nineties, like Betty White (rest in peace, both of them, still my inspiration).
I want to find people like that who can be my role models. Who can break the stereotype that with age, we are supposed to lose our spark, or we’re supposed to lose her joy of living—or even that saying that, after fifty, nobody cares anymore.
No, I want to keep caring. I want to keep being joyful and passionate no matter what age.
And fingers crossed, someday I (and you) can become a role model of ageless beauty, of joyful aging for the new generations.