You look good for your age?

by | Ageism, Health & Wellbeing, Turning 60

You look good for your age?

I’m regularly told I look young for my age. People are amazed when I tell them I’m 60 and I could probably pass for 50. But is it a complement to be told you look good for your age and what is the right way to look for your age? Are they judging me by my skin, my clothes, my attitude? All of these contribute to how we appear to others.

I can be far more critical of how I look. I notice the lines on my face, and the grey hairs in my eyebrows, and I also get some hairs on my chin. I deal with the excess hair, and my moisturiser must be working quite well. But my skin is partly down to my genes and my mum still has good skin.

But what if we didn’t? What if people don’t say – You look good for your age. What if we did look like our age or older. Is that so negative? Are we really just the external image that others see? What about the person within? It’s more important that I’m someone who listens to others, who contributes to society. Who lives her life?

In years gone by I’d probably have been seen as a blue stocking. I love to learn and would rather spend my time doing than spending 30 minutes or more contouring my face. To me it’s a waste of time, I’ve got other things I’d rather do. But that’s just my view. I know a lot of women who like to wear makeup and it gives them confidence, and I’m happy for them to do it. I’m not immune, if I’m going to be photographed, I do wear some makeup, and I may choose to wear it more frequently if I felt I had a washed out look.

It can be hard work trying to look good – keeping our weight in check, investing in collagen facials and being seduced to buy expensive moisturisers.

I read recently, alas I can’t remember who said it, but the obsession with how we look is less about beauty and more about obedience to a standard and power. As women we feel we have to stay young, we are pressurised to meet this standard. This is so engrained people don’t even think about it. As women we comment on what other people look like and thus, we reinforce ageism, sexism and lookism. I feel like I’m back in the 1970s and part of the feminism movement.

I’ve recently read a New York Times article, written by Ashton Applewhite that resonated.

As we age, we are more likely to be assertive, confident and authentic. We care less about what people think and are better able to focus on what we want. For many women, late life is the best time of all.

See the lines on our face as signs of a life well lived. As we look at our faces, we should think about what we have done the memories can be in our faces, and body.

The actress Frances McDormand grins as she credits her son, Pedro, for the one on the left side of her face, etched by 20 years of saying Wow! or Oh my God. Calling her face, a map, she rejects the surgery that would erase her history.

Too much of our youth is spent worrying about ageing. We look back from mid-life and beyond and see just how beautiful we were, and still are. If we spend more time with people of all ages it may help us to act and be in a pro-ageing way.

Do you want people to say you look good for your age?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic – You look good for your age.

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Chief Inspiration Officer, The 50 Plus Coach.