That moment you realized, for the first time, you look OLD…
If you say no, I’m pretending not to hear. I feel better about myself when I believe every woman is fighting crow’s feet and dark under-eye shadows.
Aging is like a monster truck that drives over your face, leaving tire tracks behind.
When I wake up in the morning, I actually see the creases my pillow has left on my skin. It’s scary. What’s next, that triangle of ruddy crepe-paper skin under the neck?
According to experts, the moment you begin to see your age hits in the late 30s.
If you’re lucky.
You see starbursts around your eyes when you smile. Sun spots freckle your hands and arms. That worry line in your forehead won’t go away.
Or maybe I’m just describing myself.
I was working in an office of twenty-somethings when I hit 30. I was the oldest one in the room. And I felt it.
I remember the moment I looked in the mirror and realized that my laugh lines were actually crow’s feet. Soon afterwards, I plucked a white hair from my eyebrows. I immediately made an appointment with the hair salon, vowing to wipe any trace of age from my follicular memory.
The company you keep can make you feel differently about your age. When you’re around other tired, sallow-skinned crones, you feel normal. When you’re around lithe, youthful songbirds, you feel every line.
You have to do something about it. Because otherwise you’ll end up looking like your mother.
I’ll never forget wondering why my mother’s lips were so pale. I was 10 at the time. I thought it was because of the lipstick she wore. Her lips were two shades, pale and flaky on top and slightly rosier beneath. I shunned lipstick religiously to avoid the same fate.
I won’t be seen without lipstick now. My lips are pale, flaky on top and slightly rosier beneath. It’s not a result of wearing lipstick; it’s a natural part of aging.
So what do you do when you realize you’re looking old? Aside from trowel on the makeup and hope no one notices?
Here are my 5 top tips.
Tip #1: Treat your health like a long-term marriage.
An unhealthy 20-something looks chic. An unhealthy 40-something looks old.
Commit to your health. Body, mind and spirit. Even if you never looked after yourself before, now is the time to start. Mature bodies are incredibly unforgiving.
I can get a hangover from sugar these days. Sugar! If that’s what an éclair does to me, imagine what a night out on the town would do.
Swap the Ramen noodles for stir fry and the tequila shots for wheatgrass. Your body deserves it.
Tip #2: Choose your friends wisely.
You can’t beat friends who think you’re fabulous. I have a friend who tells me I look 25 if I’m a day. I’m keeping her around. Even if she needs glasses.
Once you get to this stage in life, you need all the positive support you can get. You don’t have to hang out with friends who make you feel bad about yourself. Stick to the company of those you love.
Tip #3: Keep your juices flowing.
The best thing you can do for your skin, your heart, and your soul is to sweat it out. Even Thomas Edison preferred perspiration over inspiration.
Sweat on the bike, sweat in the sun, sweat in the bedroom or sweat in the sauna. Just get those juices flowing. Life is juicy! If you’re not sweaty, you’re not living.
Tip #4: You’re only as old as the men chatting you up.
I remember the first time I flirted with a guy a decade younger than me. It was shocking and exhilarating at the same time. Shocking that I had the guts to do it, and exhilarating that he flirted right back.
As long as you’re both legal consenting adults, age puts no limits on romance.
Tip #5: Schedule extra time in the mornings.
I used to be able to roll out of bed, shove some clothes on and go. I can’t anymore.
I need time. Time for the coffee to kick in, time for the joints to loosen up, and time for all those extra beauty rituals.
It’s a shame: I used to look so fantastic without makeup. I woke up looking like myself. Now, looking like myself requires 15 minutes of careful makeup application.
So give yourself a bit of breathing space to do what you need to do to face the day. It’s your face, and it deserves all the tender loving treatment you can give it.
Because, deep down, you don’t want to look younger to look sexier. You want to look younger because that’s what you used to look like.
You miss the face that used to smile back at you in the mirror. You want her back. You know she’s still there somewhere.
She is. And she’s waiting for you to reclaim her.