If I had a nickel for every woman who has asked me the best/easiest/quickest/painless way to look younger/better, I could finance a year-long sabbatical to the destination of my dreams. After all, when you spend your life in the beauty industry, surrounded by a culture celebrating youth, you do learn a tip or two. In fact, I do write (and recommend) the virtues of sunscreen, green juice and yoga, but those are only external factors.
Navigating age is an inside job.
I know, it’s hard not imagine a universe where youth is not synonymous with beautiful, and the entire goal of advertising is to make women feel less than. As I get older, I look around at the mainstream media, and can’t help but feel left out that I can’t see my own reflection mirrored back to me. This is especially true of social media, where at times, I feel as though I see nothing but twenty-somethings.
I don’t know about you, but I want to reflect confidence, health and contentment to the world, qualities which I was hard pressed to find in my 20’s, probably because those qualities develop as we mature.
I recently became a huge fan of Carrie Fisher when she stood up to her age-shaming critics, judging her for her appearance in the latest Star Wars film. She tweeted, “Please stop debating whether or not I aged well. Youth and beauty are not accomplishments, they’re the temporary and happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either.”
Aging is a privilege not granted to all, so it’s important to appreciate it and be thankful for the experience, wisdom and lessons we’ve accumulated along the way.
Here are my best, most valuable pieces of advice for embracing your age, and thriving in your 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and beyond
Find Role Models/Find Your Tribe Find women who are Owning it, and their journey will reflect back to you as an example of how powerful a woman can be. Last year while watching the Grammy Awards, the usual display of T&A was displayed by the pop-tarts of the day, each one vying for the camera’s attention. About midway through the show, 61 year-old Annie Lennox came out, and dressed in a modest pant suit, BROUGHT THE HOUSE DOWN. Her two song set with Hozier was positively powerful. You can watch it here (she comes on at the 2 minute mark).
While scrolling through Netflix one evening, an original series caught my eye, Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin. It had some great reviews, so I thought I would give it a watch. The first episode was so-so.. but I’m so glad I kept watching. It kept getting better and better, and it made me imagine what life would be like with my best friend in our 70’s. These ladies are having FUN, and they are gorgeous and witty and navigating life with a great sense of humor.
Did you know that Julia Child did not learn to cook until she was in her forties, and she didn’t publish her first book, The Art of French Cooking until she was 50. For her inspirational story, rent Julie & Julia. It proves that your greatest accomplishments can arrive in act three of your life.
My final example of a powerful woman who is embracing her age is Ernestine Sheperd, the oldest female body builder. Her story is such an inspiration to women who feel they are too old to have the body of their dreams. She didn’t start her fitness journey until she was in her 50’s, and today, at 79, she has the body of a 30 year old. You can learn more about her story here.
If these ladies can express their gifts at any age, so can you.
Use Your Words Carefully Think about how you talk about yourself. What adjectives do you use to describe yourself? Are they kind and loving, or self-deprecating? Whatever follows the words “I am” are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Those words are defining to the world who you are and what you are capable of. Language is one of the most powerful tools you can use to transform yourself (think Affirmations). Make a conscious effort to permanently delete negative self-talk from your vocabulary.
Repeat these words (at least) daily:
I am strong. I am healthy. I am beautiful.
Soon, your outer appearance will reflect these verbal attributes. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others This happens almost unconsciously. The marketing industry is built on making you feel inadequate in some way… after all, it’s their job. But nothing will make you age faster than chasing youth. I’m not saying to denounce the tools that can help us feel better about ourselves, if it makes you feel good about yourself, I’m all for it. But, if you are constantly searching for a magic bullet to make you look like an Allure cover girl, you are wasting precious time.
I quit reading beauty magazines years ago, they only made me feel insecure because I never felt like I measured up. Embrace your imperfections, they are what makes you YOU.
Don’t Apologize for Being Who You Want to Be One of the best things about getting older, is that you know yourself better. You are able to embrace your individuality without apologizing to those who don’t “get” you.
As you get older, you will realize that you don’t have to conform. If something makes you feel beautiful when you wear it (whether that be a red lipstick, or a gypsy skirt), then by all means WEAR IT!
Iris Apfel comes to mind. At 94, she is an American icon, and has created an empire for her eclectic style. Google her name, or watch the documentary made about her life, and you can’t help falling in love with her. She validates my desire to wear statement necklaces to breakfast. She is a breath of fresh air, and it’s her unique individuality that makes people attracted to her.
Remain in Gratitude and Pay-It-Forward Nothing will make you feel more empowered than empowering others. One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
One of the greatest gifts you can share with the world, is your intention; a kind word, a good deed, a hug. It all goes out into the world, and returns to you tenfold. That universal light reflecting back at you is the best beauty potion in the world, and it can’t be bought or sold.
If you want great skincare, visit my website, if you want to remain ageless, go inside.
Grateful for you!