The other day in the studio I overheard a girl lamenting about turning 30. Girlfriend, please. I just turned the big 4-0. 40 years old. Of course I always planned on becoming 40, but there’s something about that number that just seems really, well, old.
This got me thinking that all of the issues that we have with body image also translate to the issues that we have with getting older. I feel like I look pretty young for my age. But there’s just something about that number. 40. I think that qualifies as middle-age. Middle. Age.
Although I’m reasonably content with how my body looks (although I would like to have a little more meat on my bones, more of a booty, and shapelier legs), I find myself analyzing every wrinkle, crease, bit of loose skin, and potential trouble spot. Based on genetics, I definitely have an at-risk chin. Without intervention, it’s quite likely that I’ll become jowly. My skin will look like it’s melting off of my face. And my hands are definitely looking older. I wonder what exercise can fix that.
What does it mean to grow old gracefully? Does it mean that you just accept all of the changes that are happening to your body? Do you use wrinkle creams or not? How about face exercises? Botox? Dying your hair to cover grays? And why is it that I’m so hard on myself, but when I look at my husband, I think his graying hair suits him, and that his wrinkles give him character. Is fear of aging just a female thing?
Admittedly, I started using prescription retinol products when I turned 30. I wouldn’t even consider risking a sunburn. Prevention is always easier than a cure. So, I remain rather wrinkle free. But I worry. I worry about my neck. How loose is that skin going to get? How much does a lower facelift cost? And mostly, shouldn’t I have enough self-esteem that it doesn’t matter?
How much does the media influence us? After all, at one time they said (or showed) that women should all be rail thin. But now they’re telling us we need big butts. And apparently, gray hair is in.
What makes me feel better about aging is that I can say with certainty that I am stronger at 40 than I was at 30. I can do more advanced Pilates exercises now than then. And I’ve reached a wonderful point in life where quite frankly, I don’t give a shit about what people think if I don’t wear make up, or if I don’t have fancy clothes, or if I’m choosing “practical shoes,” or if I’ve piled my hair up on top of my head dirty because it’s too annoying to wash it everyday.
Is that growing old gracefully? I’d really like to age like Audrey Hepburn. Of course, I don’t have her amazing genetics or perfect cheekbones.
I don’t know what’s going to happen as I get older. Personally, I’m rooting for wrinkles to become the next big thing. And loose neck skin? I’m hoping for that to become hot, too.
Trying to stay hardcore,