The Lowdown on Aging

Taken from the Dove Pro-Age Campaign
Taken from the Dove Pro-Age Campaign

By Cherry Woodburn at The Mother Load

These days, and for many years now, I can say with ease:

• I’m smart.
• I’m confident in my abilities.
• I’m a good problem solver.
• I say no.
• I make friends easily.
• I’m willing to take risks.
• I’m worth showering myself with self-care.
• I’ve learned to tame my inner shrew

Although I believe in myself, I’m not perfect. And I want to be completely honest with you: I’m struggling with getting older. I haven’t yet tamed the voice of the inner shrew-on-aging. I hear her in the cold, stark reality of morning light when I put on eyeliner and use my index finger to pull my skin away from the side of my eye for ease of application, and release my finger only to have the skin decide to stay out there for a bit of a rest. Then slowly, almost begrudgingly, my beloved piece of skin, that’s been with me all my life, decides to make its way back to the place where it started. The shrew-on-aging lets me know that, like a dried up white rubber band, my skin’s just not holding things together the way it used to.

For the first time in my life I’ve reached an age which I have trouble saying out loud. My brain (vs. the resident shrew-on-aging who’s bribed and owned by the media) KNOWS that I am succumbing to a society-induced dis-ease. And I need some support to stop succumbing.

So this old lady is hoping to enlist your support by providing the following information I wish I’d known sooner.

1. Old is a relative term.

a. When you’re 30, you suddenly understand that 25 is young.
b. When you’re 40 you chuckle at the 30-year-olds that are complaining about looking older.
c. When you’re 50 you realize you’ll never feel “your age” because you spent your life with misconceptions about what 50, or any age older than you are, feels like.
d. When you’re 60 you realize that you definitely have wrinkles and that when you’re 70 or 80 or 90 you’ll look back and think how great you looked and felt with them.

2. Cosmetic surgery has taken away the level playing field. We aren’t all aging together or “at the same rate”. That can make the body-signs of aging more challenging to accept.

a. That being said, don’t start with the procedures because there will always be another procedure you could have, and another one and another one. There will also always be someone you can compare yourself too (like the plastic surgeon that goes to the same yoga studio I do) that looks younger because she’s had more procedures. Comparison is never a wise idea.
b. The cosmetic & cosmetic surgery industries are making HUGE profits off of your fear of getting older.
c. The industries play on that fear with ads, ads and more ads telling you you’re not good enough the way you are. “Look younger!” they shout to women of any age.
d. You’re still 20, or 30 or 40 or 50 or 60 or 70 or 80 years old no matter how much botox etc. is keeping your face and neck wrinkle-free.
e. Gloves will have to come back into fashion all year round to hide the proof-is-in-the-hands. Do you really want to be wearing white gloves in the summer?

3. Old is just a word, like short or tall are. Old does not inherently have a negative meaning.

a. It’s time to venerate the older generations for the stories and experience they have.
b. You will one day become that older generation.
c. If you don’t become old, it’s because you died.

Aging really is a gift. I realize it more and more. I’m alive to see my grandchildren; to pass on the love and lack of rules that grandparents are supposed to do.

Granted I still have to contend with the image that some of the younger generations have that people, particularly women, of the age of 60 don’t have a lot to offer. They’re wrong. So I’m asking you to join me in a huge F*&% You to a culture that says there’s something wrong with living. Because living equals aging.

* * *

This post was originally published at The Mother Load. Cross-posted with permission.

Cherry invites you to sign up for a free 5-week program I designed to help other women get on the path to increased self-esteem. For more information, click here.

Related Content:

View Your Body As If You Were 80

The Old and Tired

Seeing Beauty in All: Over-40 Nudes

Face It! – What Women Really Feel as Their Looks Change, The Book

Huff Post Highlights Beautiful Older Women

Cougars: Unfortunately Coming to a Town Near You

Older Leading Ladies and the Evolution of Hollywood

Going Gray: Not a Black and White Matter

18 thoughts on “The Lowdown on Aging

  1. I’m making use of all the great pages I can access on facebook and the web to absorb some wisdom about ageing as I age……I’m in my 40’s and I don’t want to regret a minute more worrying about avoiding the signs of ageing, or not being able to accept who I am. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and humour with us!

  2. Everyone is super into the Dove Campaign, and I admit they give the image of wanting to embrace self esteem, different body shapes and all ages. But in all honesty, they are owned by the same parent company as the misogynistic and sexist Axe, any by taking both sides they are able to get 100% of the market, without really feeling any of the backlash. I like to think that those within the company are trying to make a genuine attempt for social change, but it screams ‘marketing ploy’ at the level of business, and strikes me as back handed and sneaky.

  3. Thanks to all for your kind comments. I do appreciate them. Another nice thing about aging is that it’s 3:00 in afternoon and I’m perfectly fine with the idea that I’m about to take a nap.

  4. It’s a delight to hear your fresh and honest voice about aging. You make the sad aspects funny while not demeaning the truth. How wise you are and how forthright about the realities of the physical aspects of aging and the lengths some go to “fake” it.

    You remind us this it’s the spirit behind the eyes, no matter what our age, that reflects our vitality, not the crowsfeet around them. Thanks. ~Dawn

  5. What a terrific post Cherry! I am constantly writing about the self-embrace on Flashfree. Living does equate to aging and it’s time that we stop being invisible.Thank you!

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