Ageing Gracefully

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It’s hard on women. The ageing process. It’s even harder if you have made a living from your looks or have defined yourself by the attention you get from men. It’s hard to look in the mirror every day and see yourself becoming older BUT, it’s something we all need to come to terms with and embrace. It is way better to let go and evolve than cling by any means to who you ‘used’ to be – it’s a losing battle!  

I am not promoting abandoning all hope and settling into a nice pair of velcro shoes.  BUT, there is a fine line between going with the flow and looking your best and clinging on to the life raft of your youth and ending up looking……well, a bit weird and desperate. The system still isn’t fair – men are allowed to grow old and look ‘distinguished’, but women have to live up to incredibly high standards and somehow maintain their youth. Youth and looks are celebrated in our culture – pretty much above everything. Women can also be cruel to each other, judging looks, clothes, weight loss/gain etc. Younger and younger women are now having plastic surgery – :-0  – hang on girls you haven’t even lived half a life or had the chance to have anything head south yet!

Over the years it is the women who are comfortable in their own skin that seem the most attractive, the women who have a story to tell, who have laughed and cried and all of that is reflected in their faces. They are the women that I have admired, been inspired by and have wanted to spend time with – to learn from and emulate. If the only role models young girls have now have already succumbed to fillers, botox and surgery what message does that send them? Don’t try and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle, don’t do it the right way – just have everything taken care of with chemicals and surgery and start early before the first wrinkle or sag sets in. (I am very grateful that God gave me 2 boys!).

Some famous women who do look good for their age and there are some really good examples; Jane McDonald, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench for example will without doubt have built a good diet and some form of physical activity into their lives. We only get one body – so we might as well take good care of it and IT will do the rest. Every time we eat we are either hurting or healing our body – the body is an amazing machine that will fight viruses and abnormalities as long you give it the right ammunition to do it. The basic pillars of rest, healthy food, physical activity and hydration will gift great benefits on the inside and the outside – but we live in a generation where ‘quick fixes’ are more appealing.

The picture above is of four celebrities  – all in their 70s or 80s. I love all of the Real Marigold BBC documentaries (following older celebrities who travel to different countries to see what it would be like to retire there). I am always struck by the diversity in the appearance of the celebrities and how their lifestyles and attitudes have affected them in their later years. Some have a mindset that refuses to get old – they have purpose and energy and others are less mobile and have a mindset that is fearful and limiting. Many eat healthily, take moderate exercise, have a faith and are positive and able to enjoy the rewards of retirement, the others have walking sticks, along list of ailments and have lost their spark to some degree.

Britt Ekland was a real shock, without doubt she was a beautiful woman in her younger days and even into middle age. However, she would be the first to admit that she became insecure about her looks in her fifties and had plastic surgery, which pretty much ruined her looks. She is slim and eats well, but there is no going back now as her face has been altered beyond recognition. She gave in to the pressure, and I felt really sorry for her. She looks older because of the surgery – not because of her lifestyle.

Babara Dickson, on the other hand, has had nothing done to enhance her looks and yup, she has lines and wrinkles, but to me she looked great and normal and is growing old with grace.  

Britt seemed sad at times almost like she would give anything to have her old life back, her looks and her body. Barbara seemed upbeat and productive and enjoying all the new experiences that life was showing her. You don’t have to be a celebrity to age well, you just need to eat healthfully, learn a bit about your body and what heals it, drink plenty of water, take some moderate physical exercise and get plenty of rest – your body does the rest. The hard facts are we can’t go back in life, we can’t stay young forever, we have to somehow accept the gentle creep of age and embrace it. Those who have, seem to be living, more fulfilled lives – just enjoying new experiences and continue to learn and evolve.

.I met with my mentor recently  – a senior executive about to turn sixty who has no time for a ‘getting old’ mentality. She dismissed my questions about how she felt about the ageing process and told me ‘there is no excuse for feeling old’ (she looks really good, vibrant, attractive and full of life) She also was clear that you have to look after yourself, eat well, sleep well and take some exercise – know who you are and keep on pushing to achieve what you want.

So, what’s my point? Well, you only get out what you put in for anything in life – start today. Choose whether you will age gracefully, knowing that you are enough as you are and who are you trying to impress anyway? If you need to keep someone by the way you look on the outside, then good luck with that! Take time to nurture yourself, don’t take the short cuts and you will age just fine. A woman who is comfortable with herself, holds herself well and looks good, is far more attractive than someone who is trying to keep up with the youngs ‘uns! Eating a plant-based diet is a great way to stay healthy and it does wonders for the skin.

And next time you see a mature woman who looks really good – tell her!

 

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