As a woman in her thirties, I am not often satisfied with the changes happening to my appearance. I recently listened to an episode of the Freakonomics Podcast where the expert they interviewed, (and I can’t remember his name, perhaps this also has something to do with the aging process), explained that with time, each and every person becomes the leading expert on everything related to themselves. It is this intimate knowledge that makes one self-conscious and in the same regard, self-centered. So it is with this in mind that I understand that the changes that are occurring to my appearance are really only noticeable or important to me.
I admit that I am vain and that I stress over superficial and embarrassing to admit physical changes. But I also know that I am in good company and that regardless of what the standard of beauty is in any given place and time, there is a person somewhere comparing themselves to it. I believe that we should all be happy and feel good about ourselves no matter what we look like, and it is this that I try to instill in the teenage girls I interact with on a daily basis at work, but I would be lying if I said that I loved aging. I accept the changes that are taking place and are very conscious to not base my self-esteem or self-worth on my appearance, but aging is not fun, especially now that I can actually see it.
Obsessing over aging and the changes that accompany this inevitable process is very common. I once had beauty regime conversations about fun topics like make-up colors. Now all I want to know is what cream my friends use to combat dry skin and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. What is everyone using to get rid of under eye bags? I research natural ways to combat greying hair, and keep making a mental note to start some kind of exercise routine because although I am thin, I am loosing muscle tone and beginning to feel flabby.
I have realized that aging gracefully is only slightly based on genetics. To truly age gracefully one has to build the discipline to incorporate with intention, all kinds of regimes. Exercise, eating a well balance diet, maintaining hydrated, cleaning and moisturizing the skin, but probably most important of all, teaching ourselves to let go. Not letting one’s self go, but letting go of the results we think we deserve or should get from employing all of these regimes. Letting go of that image we have in our minds of what we should look like and accept the image that stares back at us from the mirror. Aging is just going to get worse and more dramatic. Better start making friends with it now…
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