Is your Facebook feed full of advertisements promising miracle products that will stop aging in its tracks? Mine is. I wonder if these ads are targeting all women, or just middle-aged women like me. Either way, a little while back I went down the rabbit hole clicking away at the various ads until I clicked on a link to Boom Cosmetics. This add didn’t promise to halt the aging process. It had a very different message.
Cindy Joseph, a highly successful make-up artist turned high-fashion model at fifty-years of age, was discovered when she stopped dying her hair and let her gray grow out. She developed a hugely popular line of beauty products for mature women, Boom Cosmetics, telling the New York Times, “Instead of anti-aging, I say it’s pro-aging. The idea is, women can look beautiful without looking younger.”
As I explored her website I came across a self-recorded video. In it, she speaks in soothing tones as a breeze from her window ruffles her long gray hair. The curtain flutters across the camera. Wearing glasses and no makeup, her beauty is captivating, but it is her radiant compassion and peaceful demeanor that are truly riveting. She speaks earnestly and directly to the viewer about the unique stages of beauty we experience as women at every age from birth onward. Towards the end of the video, however, as she implores us to celebrate our own unique beauty, her voice cracks.
Joseph entreats mature women to set a positive example for our younger counterparts. Show them that in aging they have “a wonderful place to go” and that getting older is not something to be feared. Life is to be celebrated at every stage. Caught in the emotion, she tears up. We do too (I did). We are moved because we know just how terribly cruel and critical we can be of ourselves. That we were once those young women who desperately needed to hear this message. That we still need to hear it now. Perhaps the message is all the more poignant because she seems to be talking to herself just as much as she is talking to us. Love yourself. Love life. It doesn’t last forever.
I never thought I would say this, but I am deeply thankful for that advertisement in my Facebook feed.
Still, embracing aging can be a struggle and the path to acceptance may look different for each individual. To me it means dedicating more time to doing the things I enjoy and much less time looking in the mirror. Shifting my perspective and priorities. Instead of worrying about my neckline and wrinkles in photos, I try to focus on the joy in my smile. The expression in my eyes. It’s a work in progress.
At any age, we each need to find our own path to self-love and acceptance. Here are some simple suggestions to get the ball rolling:
- Look in the mirror each morning and tell yourself that you love yourself (You will feel silly at first. Who cares? Just try it.).
- Do things that bring you joy.
- Teach your daughters, nieces, and granddaughters to love themselves by modeling that self-love.
- Stop criticizing your appearance.
- Focus on the things you love about yourself.
- Prioritize your health and self-care.
- Look at older women around you and focus on what is beautiful in them.
- Accept the traits you were born with.
- Compliment girls and women on what they do and not on how they look.
- Spend time with friends who value you and make you feel loved.
- Don’t waste time talking about getting older, there are plenty of other things to talk about!
- Cancel your subscription to People and US magazine – You are what you eat, so think of your mind the same way; feed it the good stuff.
- Laugh. A lot. Every day.
- Let go and stop grasping at past glory. It probably wasn’t all that glorious, and life is short.
- Do things that push you out of your comfort zone. Old dogs can learn lots of new tricks.
- Be kind. Start with yourself.
Ultimately, fighting age seems much like struggling in quicksand; we just sink faster. Hollywood legend, Rosalind Russel, said, “Taking joy in living is a woman’s best cosmetic.” At least that’s a product every woman can afford. “Aging is living” Joseph tells us in her video. From the moment we are born, we begin aging. “Who said aging was bad?” According to The New York Times, Cindy Joseph continued modeling until weeks before she died from soft tissue sarcoma at the age of 67. She lived her life beautifully right up to the end which came all too soon. Listen to Joseph. Worry less about the process of aging and embrace living. As the late, brilliant Mary Oliver wrote: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Bio: Jenny Bruce is an award-winning singer-songwriter, a full-time Communications Director, a wife, a mother of two, a Graduate Student at Teachers College. Columbia University (getting her MA in Communications and Education) and takes care of her father in the late stages of Parkinson’s.
For more information about the author: www.goodgirl.com