By Guest Blogger Helene Oseen
Most of the time I like being fifty-something, but this aging stuff is complex. Inside I still feel like I’m in my thirties, but then I realize that’s the age of my children. One day recently I caught a glimpse of my hands and became aware of the fact that they look like my mother’s. I’m trying to make peace with the lines around my eyes and brackets around my mouth, justifying them with the fact that I laugh a lot, but saggy skin on my hands – yikes – I’m old.
Although it’s easier said than done, there is no point in having angst about aging. Two undeniable truths are: everyone ages and aging sucks.
A book I particularly love, about how we as women think about ourselves, is New Passages, by Gail Sheehy. She says, “Our concern with how we look as we age may be superficial, but it’s natural. We shouldn’t be ashamed of obsessing about it from time to time. After all, this is one aspect of the passage to the Age of Mastery that all of us face.” She goes on to say, “It’s about finding a new version of attractiveness. It’s making the most of whatever external beauty we have, but also activating sources of internal value. Once we begin to accept and enjoy the roundedness and normal weight gain, the wrinkles and sags that come naturally with maturity, we become grounded.”
So, instead of having a vanity crisis I’ve decided to embrace the journey into my next life cycle. Like every woman, I can’t stop nor reverse the aging process no matter what I do. I don’t have a best-before date and no matter what the cosmetic companies claim, a jar of expensive creme doesn’t contain the fountain of youth. I have made the decision that botox and cosmetic surgery are not for me because I believe that the best face to put forward to the world is the one I was born with.
They say that life after 40 is all downhill, but I’ve finally figured out what I want to be when I grow up and there is still so much more that I want to do. So, if along with these gifts come the other joyful aspects of aging like chin hairs, sagging skin, a slipping memory, age spots and an ever expanding waistline materialize, so be it. Bring it on.
Living your life brings wisdom. Wisdom brought on with age. Aging is not about decline, it’s about growth and possibility. The possibility of staying productive and creative, learning new things, seeing new places, having fun, and passing along what you have learned along the way to the generation that follows you.
Therefore, in this Blog post, I decided to appeal to the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s woman about aging and staying fashionable, since that is my real area of expertise. Our style evolves with each decade. In our teens and 20’s we are busy playing dress-up and the fashion world (and the stores) caters to us. We are comfortable experimenting with a lot of different looks and looking for our identity through clothing. Then in our 30’s many of us join the mommy club and combine that full- time job with our full-time careers. We establish our identity through the roles we play in our relationships, with our kids and in our careers. For most of that decade we are running on empty. We still want to look good but life has gotten a lot more complex and the amount of time and money we are able to spend on ourselves is significantly smaller. It’s also less of a priority. By the time we are in our 40’s we have outgrown much of who we were and with the help of menopause most of our clothing as well. In the 50’s, we are no longer young, but far from old. We are in midlife. It’s the decade that we start to feel lost, not really sure of who we really are or what it’s all about. Our roles and identities are changing and our closets often reflect that. In our 60’s and beyond, we have more time, more money and more courage to look at ourselves and find our signature style that communicates who we are. My goal today is to help you come to grips with aging, and embrace your own style evolution.
This is how:
- Re-evaluate your look on a regular basis. If you want a really honest answer, ask your kids. 🙂
- Choose clothing that fits and flatters who you are today to express your personality in a look that suits your lifestyle.
- Find the perfect balance between classic dressing with contemporary design.
- Don’t get into the style rut of same old, same old. Open your mind to new possibilities and perspectives.
Women with ageless style always stay true to who they are, no matter what their age and stage of life.
Now don’t get me wrong… despite being a happy and contented woman, there is still a lot about aging that scares me. I have joined the menopause club and know that this normal physical process affects my health and longevity. I do know that when I look and feel my personal best I feel personally powerful. When I feel personally powerful I believe in myself and choose to embrace life no matter what challenging times and incredible opportunities await me.
I intend to wear my life well in the style and spirit of aging beautifully inside and out.
Maja Angelou reminds us, “We have to value ourselves not for what we look like or the things we possess, but for the women we are.”
Whew, I hope I can.
What scares you about aging?
Helene Oseen is a fashion therapist and best-selling author of Fashion 911®. Through her writing, speaking and events, Helene inspires women to learn to love who they are, to own their power and to let their best self shine.
Considered a genuine fashion and style expert, Helen has helped women make friends with fashion and develop their personal power and charisma for over 20 years. Author of the best-selling book Fashion 911, she also wrote weekly Fashion 911 newspaper columns for newspapers across the country and was regularly quoted in newspaper and magazine articles including Canadian Living and FLARE. She was honored with the Global Television/YWCA Woman of Vision award.
Her blog www.MidlifeMakeover.ca will help you laugh and cope as you get older (and hopefully wiser) with spirit, style and sass.