Monday, November 26, 2012

A woman of a certain age...

A woman of a certain age may feel in her heart like she’s 18 years old, or 20, or maybe 25, 30, or 35.

But what she sees in the mirror when she looks at herself is a face that shows every one of the 50 or 60 or 70 years that she actually is. Who is this “old person” looking back at me?

I especially like the essay “Old Lady in the Mirror”

Having good genes helps, having good bone structure helps, having lived a good lifestyle helps (especially not smoking)—all of these things help to preserve a sense of “youngness,” in one's appearance, but having laughed a great deal in the 40-plus years since one was 20, and what age does to the jawline and the lines that extend from the edge of the nose to the outside corners of the mouths, and what happens under the chin, gives it away.

I can try to act like I am not “60-something.” I can still act "young at heart" (as long as my joints will let me) but I can’t pretend that I am still 24, or 30, or 40.

I made the mistake of taking a profile picture of myself so I could show my sister my haircut, which I have now gotten “used to” even though it is still too short. I don’t often see myself from the “side,” and it was something of a surprise to see that there is enough of a turkey neck there to make it dangerous to go out in the woods during turkey season...

which is why I retook the photograph with my hand under my chin to help hide it.

I was visiting with a friend about how that now that we are indeed “women of a certain age," and although we have not given up on attempts to look as good as we can, we have become invisible to younger men -- we are now their "mothers" and are no longer in the “breeding pool," we are not seen as “sexual objects,” and so their eyes tend to slide right over us. We are no longer being "checked out."

We have decided that is really "OK," because both of us love our husbands very much and we are not on the prowl for another man. We are not Cougars. But in some ways, to become invisible is rather invalidating.

Although most women in the U.S. who visit plastic surgeons do so to augment their breasts or for liposuction, a substantial proportion have operations to fix the signs of aging on their face – whether it’s their eyelids, a “facelift,” or injections to reduce the lines on their face, especially middle-aged women who are still in the workforce and competing with younger women. I can understand now a bit better why they do it.

I have gotten some rather expensive Clinique make-up that does an amazing job hiding the permanent flush in my cheeks and chin, which I use on certain occasions, but I won’t be getting plastic surgery.

As uncomfortable as I have been on occasions in my own skin over the years, I am just going to work at accepting me as I am now and am going to become as more years pass, and get on with enjoying life as best I can.

My brother sent me a lovely blue scarf (along with coloring pencils and dental floss sticks for my birthday). If I can figure out how to drape it around my neck, I may just do so. My wardrobe in the future may also sport turtleneck sweaters.

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