Prompted by a post I saw on gather I started thinking about women and aging.
My opinion is just that - an opinion - and I don't mean to offend anyone, but rather discuss the subject with you - so let's talk:)
I think sometimes there is a fine line between going "natural" and letting yourself go. I've often wondered what drives some women to still have flawless painted fingernails on their deathbed and others to let themselves go at thirty.
Inner beauty and a good moral compass aside, I simply don't buy into letting yourself go. I believe it is a sin to let go what God gave you and not take care of yourself, your body, your health and not strive to make the best of yourself.
It's easy to say that women are superficial if they have cosmetic surgery for instance. That's nonsense or maybe jealousy, they do it because they have a demanding job and society forces them to keep up appearances which means staying and looking young. I'm sure some do it, because they can and they enjoy it - more power to them. That doesn't mean they don't have inner beauty, they can still be good mothers and brilliant business women.
I know of a truly beautiful woman who at forty looked like the sister to her twenty year old daughter. Well, her husband told her she needed a boob job and have the really minute wrinkles in her face lifted. I would have killed to look as good as that woman already did. Yet her husband, a well known society doctor, wanted her to still look like she was no more than twenty five years old at most.
What a harsh judgement to have to live up to - I'm convinced he traded her in for a younger model at some point. It wasn't she who was vain, in fact she wanted neither the boob job nor the face lift. I know she went in, but I sure hope she left his sorry a** after that and took half of his and more.
A good friend of ours was slowly dying and knew it, yet still she wore perfume and lipstick even when she couldn't leave her bed. She had her nails painted and was ready to jump off death's bed at any time. It wasn't to be, she died with fire engine red fingernails:)
Bemoaning our looks or rather our youth is a waste of time. Some of us have better bone structures and healthier genes than others, but the point I am making here is that we should all do the best we can.
Keeping up appearances to me represents a choice we have made and maybe it's time to have another look at yourself. I don't think there is a thing wrong with looking your best at any given time. It shows we love and accept ourselves, something we all have to learn if we want to grow and move on, love and be loved.
Actresses for instance don't have that luxury of choice, because they do live by their looks and they have to re-invent themselves every so often.
We all get tired, old and wore out looking at some point, but I believe considering yourself important enough to warrant an overhaul is good for us. It improves our attitude and strengthens our fortitude.
Why wouldn't you want to get an updated hairstyle, a new pair of dangling earrings to move as you move, to put back a little swing in your step perhaps a new shade of lipstick? Those all important visits to the dentist, the doctor and if you can afford it to the massage salon? Don't you love how silky your skin feels or how delicious you smell when you apply a good lotion?
Sure it takes an effort to find the right shade of lipstick, pluck your eyebrows and get your hair cut or your cat whiskers removed when you hit fifty. But like the commercial says - we are worth it:)
Just like we feel wonderfully renewed and energized when we emerge from a long shower, taking good care of ourselves is energizing and it raises our spirits.
Sure you won't look twenty again, but why should that matter? That little effort you made in looking your best, is not really meant for others, it is something only we can do for ourselves. Others will still see the fifty year old, but wouldn't you rather be a well put together fifty than an "au natural" slob?
I always have to smile to myself, when I hear a man comment how his wife doesn't use make-up and how she is naturally beautiful. It usually means it's a woman who spends time and money on regular facials, gets her legs and what not waxed, spends at least $150 at the hair dresser every three weeks, has her eyebrows colored, uses good skin care, visits the gym and the dentist on a regular basis and can afford manicures, pedicures and expensive perfumes.
We all need a little help and while we can't all spend tons of money on ourselves we can pay attention, take the time to take care of ourselves and find a good hairdresser and quality face creams and products that we can afford. We can even make our own. If you've ever used a good rosewater on your face you know what I'm talking about.
I am not speaking about the extra twenty pounds we've let creep up, but an attitude adjustment to go and find a pair of glasses that look good on us, a place on line that sells cheap contact lenses or a natural skincare product that holds back the wrinkles a bit longer.
We are not doing our sisters a favor when we say - oh, it's the inner beauty that counts! Sure, inner beauty counts, but that doesn't mean it's OK to let yourself go. Be the best you can be - inside and out!
You can love your laugh lines and still wear SPF 50 and a good face cream, one is not opposing the other - it's called healthy maintenance.
Isn't Mother Nature kind in that our men have failing eyesight too and they don't notice all those wrinkles either, because they remember us as we were. They see with the eyes of love and therein lies the difference.
Lamenting about losing our youth doesn't bring it back, cosmetic surgery, a good dentist, hairstylist etc will to a fair degree. It's all relative and we all have to decide for ourselves, how much, if anything we are willing to do to keep up appearances.
I occasionally catch a glimpse of myself in a store window and don't even recognize myself. My solution is to hold myself to a certain standard, which doesn't include cosmetic surgery mainly because I can't afford it, but admittedly we all need more maintenance as we age to look and feel our best.
When I know I look my best - I smile more and people smile back, it's as simple as that. When we feel good about ourselves, life becomes easier, or maybe we just perceive it that way:)
So tell me what do you think?
P.S. Eating healthy and educating yourself about what is good for you and your body is just part of a healthy lifestyle. We all want and need balance in our lives, but it takes a conscious effort and commitment. That is all part of the equasion, but in this article I am focusing on outer appearance - plain and simple - even though I realize that there is a connection between a healthy lifestyle and how you look and feel. That is part of what Mariana T. is doing in her group called Shedding Light - dedicated to losing weight and shedding light on your inner self.