Erase 5 Years Off Your Face
How I Stopped Trying to Look Younger and Learned to Love Myself
When I was 12, I stuffed my training bra with socks to make myself look older. When I was 19, I caked on heavy makeup and jacked up my hair while tip-toeing in heels in order to look old enough to get into bars. When I was 29, I was terrified of turning 30 and so when I saw my first grey hair, I started dousing my head with hair dye, dotting my face with concealer, and dieting to maintain my figure lest marriage and motherhood ruin me.
Now I am looking 40 square in the eye and after nearly a decade of maintaining an exhausting and never-ending routine to recapture my younger self, I am ready to give my youth the middle finger. Why? Because I quit trying to look younger. I am ready to embrace my age and my Self exactly as I am, exactly right now. How very Zen of me, huh?
Women are cursed from birth to attain some crazy ideal measurement of youth in order to be counted as valuable by the slim margins of a socially constructed beauty. I always felt in a rush to be older and then when I hit that wall of just old enough (for what?) I slammed on the brakes and tried to refund my years in order to trick others into thinking I was young again.
In the last decade I have been on every fad diet from doughnuts to gluten-free, South Beach to Mediterranean, fasting to binging. I've dry brushed my skin, dyed my hair, waxed, plucked, tweezed, shaved, buffed, shaded, lined, and rouged. I've danced, stretched, lifted, run, swam, walked, shaken, and stirred my fat content into a dizzying up and down between sizes 8 and 12, give and take a marriage and two births.
My style has included a horrifying deluge of fashion trends not intended for a doughy nearly-fortysomething lady, but I felt desperate and in need of finding my sexy groove again. No amount of yoga pants or maxi dresses would cure my real problem, which was that I was just plain uncomfortable with aging.
In fact, I had never fully learned how to age gracefully. Remember those bra-stuffing years that raced their way to the slamming-on-the-brakes years? It seems that all of that hurrying up to slow the heck down was a long and torturous lesson in learning to love what I have despite imperfection and wasted time.
These days I wear elastic bands in my pants. Can you even imagine? My virgin hair color is showing grey. My unconcealed face is showing signs of laugh lines and crow's feet. I have a muffin top. My toenails have chipped lavender color. I'm not capital 'O' old yet, and surprisingly, letting go of trying to appear young has actually made me feel more relaxed and able to focus on living in the moment.
There is something truly sexy and enigmatic about being a woman and aging gracefully with the feeling of empowered ownership of my own femininity. They say that men get more distinguished with age and I think the same can true of women, of me. It just took letting go of trying to be 20 again when I should be embracing 40.
My idea of beauty has evolved to include the mantra that "less is more." I wear less makeup, fewer adornments; my clothing is a bit more restrained than it once was but not exactly boring. There is an element of freedom in not being weighed down by the business of trying to be young. When I was trying to maintain my youthful look I was never quite getting it right and my attire, my posture, my attitude, my everything seemed to be skewed toward a sentiment of desperation.
I want to hit the age of 40 with an energetic bravado that only a woman with confidence can muster. I'm talking about the kind of brazen liveliness is indelibly sexy and intelligent, deliberate and meaningful. I want to truly own my shades of grey and fine lines. When my husband looks in my eyes I want him to be impressed by my ability to grow more distinguished with age. Just like he does.
And so I quit trying to look young. My years of 'young' are behind me. The middle years are greeting me and I want to be able to say that I entered 40 with the kind of dignity and grace that I imagine classy women like Audrey Hepburn did. Sure, I'll still attempt to rein in my waistline, and of course I love a sumptuous shade of deep red lipstick when the occasion strikes, but gone is the over processed nonsense of looking like 40 year-old twentysomething.
Video: 47-Year-Old Has Plastic Surgery To STOP Ageing | HOOKED ON THE LOOK
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