Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Aging Gracefully...

Barbara: a total conundrum for me. I mean, what does it even mean? I don’t like to think about my age or feel my age, or god forbid to REVEAL it. And yet I feel this nagging responsibility to society in general to embrace the aging process, hey, to celebrate it even, so I can maybe feel optimistic while the clock is relentlessly a-tickin’ and sucking with it energy and capacity so I won’t actually be able to accomplish all those ambitious dreams I hold so dear. No, no, I’m not bitter––just freakin’ terrified!!! 

But then after I wrote this “lament”, I found this article in the Globe and Mail. And it says: “According to [new research], from the teenage years until 40 happiness declines. It levels off until 46, and then starts to increase until peaking at 74.” 

So, I guess it’s all uphill from here … phew!

... And I’m 46. There I said it.

Deb: I agree that life starts after 40. Because in your 40s you still look great AND feel great! But here’s a tip for after 40––NEVER, ever allow your picture to be taken unless you are smiling! When one is younger and one has an unsmiling picture taken, one tends to look either mysterious, pensive, or serene. Unsmiling after 40 is a celluloid glimpse into old age––pensive now looks JOWLED, mysterious now looks CLUELESS, and serene looks like you are asleep or––even worse––DEAD. So after 40, take heart and be glad you are alive!
And keep smiling. Not only will it make you feel better, but you will look great in pictures. 

Barbara: So true!!! Now, if I catch my neutral look in a mirror, I look downright pissed-off. Trying to train myself to wear that faint hint of a smile my yoga instructor advocates. It’s supposed to make you feel better (and it does), but it also lessens the blow of those unexpected (and horrifying) glimpses from reflective surfaces.

Deb: Remember as a kid, you’d laugh and laugh when you saw your reflection in a kettle? Now some mornings I look like that. Not laughing.


  1. As someone who's struggle, myself, with the concept of aging, it's a comfort to hear those statistics about happiness. I think I'm going to have to go read that article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lisa as Bette Davis once said "getting old ain't for sissies. But all I know is, each birthday I say to myself "hell, I'm still here" enjoy the article. Hope it helps.

  3. You know, aging doesn't bother me. I think it would if I FELT my age. But I really try to look and feel (and act) younger than my 41 years. And I think I do okay. I think if you act old, it will age you in a not good way. Just my two cents.

  4. So I've got another 26 years or so before I start to feel better, eh? Fabulous, lol. Watching my parents age, I've seen two very different ways of how it could go for me. I'm hoping to take my mom's route and stay relatively healthy and relatively positive. When I was a kid, I relentlessly teased my parents about being old. Now I think it's rather amazing they've gotten this far, and I only hope they keep going.

    Oh crap, I've already got the angry/asleep neutral face. Can't wait to see how that looks with jowls, lol.

  5. Ha ha! Thanks, Adrienne, for the "young" perspective. And, Megan, I TOTALLY agree with you about how acting/feeling old makes you so. My panic seems to come from two things: 1) that when I start to really feel my age, it'll stop me from doing the stuff I love, and 2) that my actual age will colour how people perceive me and what they think I can or cannot do (ie, creatively), and that THEIR perspective will stop me from doing what I love. In the business I'm in (and I'm sure this applies to many other occupations), people are defined by their age. Is this valid????? Well, of course it is. But how to deal with it...That's the question. Any answers???

  6. Adrienne,
    As I look back on old pictures of myself, I wish that I had known how great I felt and looked at every age. We tend as women to be so critical of ourselves. My thing is own it because it goes so fast and physical beauty morphs so love the inside. Not guts and stuff know.

  7. So right, Deb -- I, too, look at the old pictures and wonder why I thought I wasn't gorgeous! So maybe in another 20 years I'll look back on "now" and think the same ... too bad I can't think it at this moment.
    Now it's another story -- I've thrown black sheets over all the mirrors in my house and avoid reflections in store windows. OK not really, but some days I feel like it. Will try smiling in photos, see if that helps any.
    Seriously, who'd mind getting older if our energy levels stayed high and we didn't get jowls and wrinkles and sags? Is that too much to ask? It's all terribly unfair. :)

  8. Agreed Adrienne! I love my pancreas too. Love the idea that it is there. Really don't want to look at it. But never say never.

  9. I've always gone with the beauty ad quote: "I do not intend to grow old gracefully, I intend to fight it every step of the way."

    Whether it's working or not, I'm not sure. Turning 40 next month. Oy vey.

  10. Fight it every step of the way, Cheri -- just make sure you keep your forehead smooth and your jaw unclenched ;)!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.