How do you think of aging when you look at your face in the mirror? Do you see a disaster site in need of emergency repairs? Or do you see a map of your life’s experiences drawn in the fine lines etched out by thousands of warm smiles, wise eyes framed by creases and wrinkles that come from surviving losses making hard decisions, and enjoying successes and feeling the sun on your face? That’s how I think of aging now.
I’ve learned by being too hard on myself that it’s better, if you want to love getting older, go have that glass of wine. Eat that slice of cake. Laugh out loud - especially at yourself - anytime you can. Cry your eyes out when you need to because holding onto pain kills you. I promise you, opportunities for joy are created when you dare to think of every year you’ve lived as a measure of strength. Do you think of aging as a loss or as a win?
How to Transform Your Mindset on Aging
I’ve reconditioned myself to think of getting older as a victory. Aging just means you’ve been fortunate enough to experience a long life. I didn’t always feel this way, though. Women are presented with the “ideal image” of a young, physically flawless female early in life. We are told everywhere we look — from fairy tales to fantasy fashion layouts — that the younger and sexier we are (to the male gaze), the happier we will be. As a supermodel in the 90s, I was a major cog in the youth-cult machine.
My 18-year-old daughter reset my perspective when she said, “Mom if the asset you value most is something you lose a little more every day and can never recapture no matter what you do, why spend your energy chasing that?” I smiled as I listened to the wise words out my kid’s mouth.
Redefining Mid-Life Success
I’ve come to believe “happily ever after” means cherishing strength and wisdom as much as (or more than) youth and beauty. Strength and wisdom are infinitely buildable assets. This mindset has been transformative for me, like it can be for women of all ages. When I catch sight of the fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes and mouth, I remember those are laugh lines, worry lines, and joy lines — markers of a life well-lived. I’m proud to be 56. The pride comes from continually building myself from the inside out.
Don’t ever think for a second I’m suggesting neglecting glam beauty or style in the pursuit of strength and wisdom. Strength and beauty go hand in hand - seek a healthy body rather than youthful perfection, beauty will follow.
The formula is simple.
The Secret to Aging Healthily: Sleep. Nutrition. Skin Care.
As we age, our changing hormones make sleep more challenging — especially during the transition to perimenopause and menopause. One secret weapon is a Mulberry silk pillowcase. Silk is cooler than cotton and doesn’t leave you with pillow lines that can last for hours on mature skin. Here’s a helpful hint for falling asleep at night: Recite positive affirmations. Sounds super corny, I know but I tell myself when I can’t seem to settle down that “I’m happy and everything is okay.” Counting my blessings and reminding myself of wise decisions I’ve made reassures me that there’s always a lot to hope for and look forward to in this second half of my life.
Your skin is your body’s largest organ and its first line of defense against infection, disease, and free radicals. As we age, our cell turnover rate slows from an average of 28 days in our 20s to an average of 50+ days in our 40s. Constant care with clean, plant-based beauty products is my cardinal rule for boosting skin strength on a cellular level.
INTUITIVE, NUTRITIOUS EATING
When it comes to nutrition, my advice is to keep it simple. Stop eating as soon as you feel full. Limit refined sugars and processed foods. Avoid anything that comes in a bag or a plastic sleeve. You don’t need to turn down goodies and dessert at every opportunity; just remember that moderation is key. Most importantly, however, take the time to savor and enjoy everything you eat. Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures.
Mature skin benefits from fatty exfoliating acids like DefenAge’s sugar-derived 2-Minute Mask. Before bed, you can find me taking stock of the day while I take care of my skin with a gentle cleanser, defensin-rich moisturizer, eye serum, and neck cream formulated to work together to maintain the tensile strength of the delicate skin around my eyes and throat.
The stronger you feel, the better the world looks. When you feel fresh, powerful, and ready to rock, the wisdom you’ve earned with age shines through. Let that put a smile on your face!