This is what I say to my mirror each and every time I look in it. Oh, I’m not blind–I see clearly that I have lost all but a few stray eyebrow hairs, the bumps and wrinkles around my eyes, the deep lines around my mouth (because I never could stop smiling), some random age spots (really, my use of concealer these days is like playing Connect the Dots!), and worst of all–nose hairs!!
That said, this is all pretty normal at my age. But really, who is as critical of our aging faces are we are? No one else cares! I’m well aware that in this country we seem to revere youth and scoff at anyone over 50 (hell, over 40 for that matter!), but that’s how it goes. Everyone is cute and adorable when young; those are some of the perks of being young. But beauty after that first blush of youth comes from the inside out rather than the outside in.
I learned at an early age to take good care of my skin. Even in my wild and crazy twenties when I’d party all night, I would still remember to wash my face with a gentle cleanser, use skin toner and moisturizer. Granted, some nights I did it while swaying and staring boozily into the mirror, but I did it.
I also make sure I that update my makeup each year. Believe me, no one over 35 really can carry off shiny cobalt eye shadow and bright orange lipstick. Oh, it’s wonderful on the young–they just come off as insouciant, cute, daring and so heartbreakingly fresh and pretty. But after a certain age, it’s time to re-think the makeup. Less truly is more. The Crankee Yankee (my husband) staunchly maintains that I don’t wear makeup (although how he can miss all my jars and bottles and potions and creams and brushes and eyebrow pencils crammed into our bathroom vanity! Really–what does he think I’m doing with it all?). I tell him that indeed I do wear makeup; I am just really good at making it look as if I’m not wearing any.
Recently I found a clutch of photos my wonderful dad (retired professional photographer) took of me when I was 14. I just gawked at them–good grief, I was BEAUTIFUL! What in the world was I so down on myself for back then? I swear, every time I stepped out of the house as a teenager, I could have wept for my awkwardness, my looks, my speech, and my big old donkey girl laugh. All I could see were my flaws. I believe that most of us feel this way when we are young and unsure of ourselves.
But now when I look in the mirror and see my good old face that’s hung in with me so faithfully for so many years, I look beyond its age and flaws. I see who I have become, and am proud that my hundreds of thousands of smiles have carved themselves indelibly into my face. I can still see the girl I once was, right behind the woman I am now. I celebrate those lines and spots and bumps; I earned every one of them. If we continually mourn our youth, we won’t celebrate our life.
Try this for yourself for at least 30 days: each time you look at yourself in the mirror, smile and say, “HIYA, GORGEOUS!” Try it–it gets easier every time you do it. It’s worked so well for me that I honestly feel gorgeous every day of my life.
Do it for yourself and all that you are, Gorgeous!