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Aging Beautifully: Or Not


I have curly red hair, purchased unashamedly at the salon: the curls are natural, the red is not.  People tell me I look ten years younger than my age.  Just last week, a friend told me that with a little Botox on the brow, and collagen around the mouth, I could pass myself off as twenty years younger. Social Security won’t easily cover the $2,000 injection upkeep (prorated annually), so I opted out of the twenty year plan. Since I tend to smile most of the time, maybe you’ll focus on my cheery disposition and overlook the wrinkles.

Why am I even telling you this?   A request from my daughter.  She had just finished watching the Oscars and fired off an email to me, horrified at what she had witnessed.

The lengths to which aging stars had gone to deny the passage of their youth was cause for shock, dismay, and even compassion (a euphemism for pity). What kind of a message are they giving to those in their forties, who are experiencing their first strands of gray, and almost imperceptible lines across the forehead?

Youthful vitality is something most of us strive for, but when our obsession with eternal youth borders on self-mutilation, we need to take stock of the price that we pay to hold onto something that is slipping out of our grasp.

America is such a youth-oriented society.  It seems that long ago we lost the tradition of revering our elders.  Smoothness, firmness and “store bought” trump wisdom, grace and the life journey traced by a trail of wrinkles across the face.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m the first to run when some one suggests that I should “act my age” or behave in an “age appropriate” manner.  I decide what’s age appropriate, not some critic who wants to cast me in the role of a storybook granny. Still, there’s a thin line between appearing youthful and making a fool of myself.  I try hard not to cross that line, and fortunately I have daughters to warn me if I get too close.

When I was a young woman, we had a family joke.  Whenever my husband saw an attractive “older woman” he would say, “She looks good for a woman her age.” Well, in all humility, I’ll tell you that I look pretty good “for a woman my age” … and that’s good enough for me.

Amy Bryant Amy Bryant

  Author of You CAN Go Home Again

Check out my e-book on Amazon: http://amzn.to/U3NfzG


    • Melissa – Forgive me for taking so long to respond to your comment. I didn’t see it back when you posted it. But I do thank you immensely for you encouragement of my writing.

  1. Love this! I had to give up the color becaue of allergies and love the gray.
    And Gloria Steinem says “this is what 80 looks like”

  2. Your blog about aging gracefully was really good because I don’t know if you could tell, but my foray into filler has resulted in granulomas that have caused puffiness and irregularity in several areas on my face. It does border on self-mutilation. The MD said it could take up to 2 years to dissipate and that I may even need to consider surgery. (Which I am unlikely to do because my thoughts are that a plastic surgeon would possibly add insult to injury to make a buck.) Bottom line, I am a beautiful person, for my age….Jeannie

    • Oh my gosh, Jeannie. Thank you so much for your statement. It means all the more, because you were the one who had first advised me about Botox. You are so courageous to share your story.

  3. Brava Amy. This is an excellent outlook. Someday maybe I won’t be horrified in the morning when I first see myself in the mirror. Cataracts might help…

    • Deb, I may not use Botox, but I’ve been using makeup since I was young to get me through the early morning mirror shock. 🙂

  4. Your youthful attitude shows in your eyes and your beautiful smile, Amy. No amount of botox can beat that!

  5. Amy,
    I spend a lot of time thinking about this very issue as well. Thank you for so your cogent and concise thoughts. I especially resonated with the sentence, “…there’s a thin line between appearing youthful and making a fool of myself.” I think of that for myself every day!

  6. Ditto Barbara Finkelstein. Thanks, Amy. Maybe our generation will be the first to sport our age proudly and still look good doing it. love patricia

  7. Amy, thank you and thank your daughter for me. I was lamenting the same thing while watching the Oscars, noticing how a man like Bill Murray was OK with showing his wrinkled and gray self (at only age 63) or Martin Scorsese, but then along came some of my favorite, older women actors who I trust have splendid selves to share, and I would so like to have been able to see their mature beauty, not the distortions of tucking and ballooning. Oh, I could go on and on… like my complete annoyance with having waiters address me as “young lady” as if that should please me. Really!

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