Thursday, June 25, 2009

Coming to terms with aging.

A while back I bumped into a former high school crush. He had gained quite a bit around the middle, and his hair was thinning. (he was still as charismatic as ever though) My first thought was, wow, we're getting old. I don't feel like I look very old yet, but I do have some gray hairs, and wrinkles around my eyes. I've also noticed that it takes cuts and scrapes (and mosquito bites) longer to heal than it used to.

As a child I remember being told I was beautiful by my aunt. I've since wondered if she told me that primarily because she believed it, or because she worried about my self esteem since I had scarring on my face from having a birthmark removed. Whatever her reasons, I've always believed it, and am actually a little vain (well sometimes I'm vain, other times not so much). So I worry a little about getting old.

As old as I might feel at times now, I know I'm still pretty young and healthy, but what about when the few gray hairs turn into a head full, and the wrinkles fill up my face so much that a grandchild says something to the effect of "your face is full of cracks", like I said to my grandmother. Will my appearance become less important to me? Will I feel like I need to start wearing the full array of makeup? Will I be depressed that I'm no longer culturally considered young and attractive (well, attractive is relative, but you know what I mean).

The natural look has worked well for me, and I'd hate for that to change.

How do you deal with the fact that you can't stop aging? It's coming for you. Do you welcome it, or run as fast as you can for anti-aging products?


George said...

There was a sad, (in my opinion), article in the latest Utah CEO magazine about a young but aging woman who felt as though she needed serious medical procedures and plastic surgery to reclaim her lost youth and sex appeal. She told the board certified plastic surgeon in Bountiful, J. Gregory Kjar, that "she wanted to look as good on the outside as she was on it the inside." She observed males no longer opening the door for her and felt she had been passed over at work by younger skirts. She had a GI bypass which resulted in serious weight loss and then had a breast augmentation procedure. She claims in the year since she had this done her salary has doubled and men once again rush to open doors for her.

Your Mama is no longer a "spring chicken", but she is beautiful. She has wrinkles and is gray. I think some of the above came from years of toil and service to all of us and to me. She is a babe still! Beauty as they say is very much more than skin deep. Your grandma was a beautiful woman as well. Every fold and wrinkle were just lines of love. This for her family and especially her grandchildren.

It is unfortunate to me that our society expects and demands a woman undergo such drastic steps to market herself and demonstrate her worth to her male peers and keep pace with the younger women entering the work place.

Grow old with grace and dignity, neverminding what the world equates as vital or important. You are and always will be beautiful. Never doubt that.

Alice said...

That is sad. For the woman and also that our society is so shallow.

I should rephrase, I don't think I'm getting old, I just recognize that I'm not as young as I feel.

Grace and dignity seems like a nice way to grow old, but once my few gray hairs take over, I'll have to see if I'm able to overcome my social conditioning and feel good about my appearance.

My former high school crush may have gained some weight and lost some hair, but he still had the same smile and twinkly eyes, so maybe I should ask him, he seemed pretty happy. :)

Charlotte said...

Well, being the exact same age as you I totally get where you are coming from. I wish our society would give women permission to stop being required to be sexy at some point. I mean, it used to be that once you were a mother you were respected for other things besides your hot bod and now we have the whole MILF phenomenon. And then the GILF. It's ridic.

That said, I still feel the pressure. Not enough to do anything about it though. I wash my face with plain water and use a lotion with sunscreen on it on my face. That's the extent of my skin regimin. But I do stop and look at all the anti-aging stuff when I pass by it. Maybe someday I'll break down and try something...

derekstaff said...

For all of the hypersexualized advertising images with which we are bombarded in our society, the ones I find most offensive are the billboards for plastic surgery of bosom or buttocks captioned "two good reasons for plastic surgery." Even though this one rates low on the overtly sexual scale (the breasts are covered with a sweater and the rump safely tucked away in pants---albeit tight in both cases), I'm disgusted by the blatant reinforcing of the cultural objectification of women and the feminine insecurities built on that objectification.

Being a man, and never a particularly dashing one at that, I can't relate as much to preserving beauty. But I do believe beauty ultimately comes more from how one carries oneself than any specific body or face type. And I'm very grateful that I'm married to a woman who relies very little on beauty products, because she's beautiful to me fresh out of bed as at any time during the day.

Alice said...

Most of the time, I'm pretty happy with myself the way I am, but it's like my cell phone- it works, but every once in awhile I look at my brother with his iPhone, and feel a little envious. (although I'm not envious of the price tag).

derekstaff said...

Looking at your brother makes you envious about aging?

Alice said...

Well, he is three years (and one day) younger than me.

adamf said...

Yup. My happiness (just like everyone else's) relies on being just a bit cooler than those around me... so perhaps the iPhone is overkill, and I really could be cooler than your Nokia with just my LG.

Then again, you have a house. That ends it, imo. And you have guitar hero. Done. You're cooler. :)

swenandbex said...

Your dad's comment was so sweet, it brought a tear to my eye.

The only anti-aging thing that I do is pluck any silver hair I find. Luckily, I have enough to spare for now, but the gray ones are multiplying fast! I'll have to come up with a plan B pretty soon! ;)

dynomitegirl said...

I stopped by from fmh!

I just watched the curious case of ben. button last night. My younger sister and brothe in law reported hating this movie. I think it is because they are young enough that they havn't realized the pain of aging yet.

For me what bothers me most about getting older is knowing that the time I have spent is lost to never get back again. Chooices that were made at 18 and 25 can not be redone. No do-overs in the game of life.

Alice said...

We have that movie from netflix, but haven't had time to watch it yet.

I look back at things I did when I was younger and wish I knew then what I know now (and I'm sure that will continue to happen as I get older).

Kimberly said...

I am 52 and recently became (gasp) a GRANDMOTHER!..I AM NOT A GRANDMA! My grandma is a grandm!
This is just as difficult to wrap my head around as the changes that appear more and more frequently. I was never a beauty queen but attracted plenty of male attention. Now there is none. None. My body pops and creaks and is stiff with early onset arthritis. I color my hair. I find myself trying to flirt like I was still 25 and I become disgusted with myself. I have taken to standing in front of the mirror and saying to myself "it's not cute any more". I cannot go around acting like a cute 25 yr old when I am not. That seems embarassing.
I do not emotionally/mentally feel old so that makes it harder to acknowledge my aging. It's a vanity thing, a reality check, a kick in the pants, and as my friend always said "gettin' old ain't for sissies".
All that said.....I do not know how to come to terms with the inevitable. I just don't. I am more scared by the not being able to deal with it than I am of actually aging.

Manjusha said...

Interesting that I am reading this comment exactly 4 years later (to the day).
I am interested in knowing how differnt people deal with growing older and searching for that brought me to your post.
I loved your post, and in many ways I am like you.
How do you feel about the subject now? Have your views remained the same?