Monday, May 8, 2017

Hamster Wheel Beauty


I read this quote the other day, by writer Jill Chivers at her blog My Year Without Clothes Shopping:

“You will never ever be truly happy or settled in your skin if some part of you believes it is wrong or unacceptable to get older, and to look older. A part of you will always be stuck on a hamster wheel (of someone else’s design), trying desperately to stop the clock, or wind back the clock, to make you look and feel younger than you are.” 

That phrase “hamster wheel” really socked me. The pressures to stay “young” and “fresh” and even “young for your age” (bleghh) are ever mounting.  I will be 73 this year!  YIKES!  I know, that is pretty old.  And, even I want to be thought to look younger than my age.  And who wouldn't, right?

Don't get me wrong, I pay good bucks for a whole anti-aging skin-care system, and use it religiously.  I am at the gym at least three times a week.  I pay dearly to have my handsome hairdresser keep the gray from anyone's sight except his.

But the whole anti-aging movement that is being thrust upon us today kind of worries me.  Why?

One thing is, getting older is a natural part of life.
It’s normal, expected, and an important part of this great journey we call life.  To not get older is to cease to exist.  That is not my first choice.  How about you?

So how can we get older without getting "old" and feeling that life has left us behind?

There are a few truths I think we need to consider.

1.  Getting older doesn’t have to mean getting worse.  It is a mindset.  Older can mean getting better in so many ways.  We are so much wiser than the 20 year olds who may feel sorry for us old folks.

2.  We need to realize that the popular definition or even our own definition of "beautiful", of "attractive", may no longer apply.  But, neither does it mean that we are less beautiful, attractive or alive.  Let's face it, we aren't ever going to look 18 or even 30 again.  But does that make us less than?  It may be that if we feel less than, our own concept of beauty may need to be adjusted.

Even though my body can't do some, okay, a lot, of the things I used to be able to do, I feel more beautiful and alive than I felt at 30.  There is an appreciation for life and living it that I didn't have then.


3. It is a fact that getting older can mean becoming more creative, more confident, more fulfilled, more able to discern what is of value and what is not. So why, if you are a 50 year old woman, or older, in full glorious living bloom, would you want to look like you are 30?  It ain't gonna happen anyway, sweet heart.

This doesn't mean that we can neglect our appearance.  Not at all!  We may even need to step up the skin-care regime as we age to make sure our skin is moisturized properly and that we protect it from the sun.  There are new tricks of the trade that enhance our appearance that might should be considered.  I am not saying or inferring that we should sit back and just let aging happen.  No way!

I am saying that the concept that the world portrays should not ever be our standard.

4.  Look around, the world is full of women who are even more beautiful and more interesting as they got older.  How many gorgeous women do you know who are contributing more and looking more radiant in their later years than ever before?  It’s utterly insane to think that the only beautiful women are those who are under the age of 30.  This is what the advertising world would have us believe.


5.  You will never ever be truly happy or settled in your skin if some part of you believes it is wrong or unacceptable to get older, and to look older. A part of you will always be stuck on a hamster wheel, trying desperately to stop the clock, or wind back the clock, to make you look and feel younger than you are. That is an awful state of “never being happy with where you are right now” to live in. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.

6.  Getting older is a privilege.  It is a benefit not everyone gets to have.  It should be treasured, looked forward to, embraced, and enjoyed.


7.  You can become more beautiful, on every level, as you age.  You can certainly become more interesting, and more confident for sure.  We have time to read more, to explore those interests that were put on the back burner for years.  And, just think, we don't have to parent anyone any more.  We now get to enjoy those fabulous kids we grew up and those perfect grandkids, without all the responsibility.  And should our role be that of parenting grandchildren, just think of the wisdom and patience we have now that we didn't in our 20's.

8.  Don't let looking young or even youthful be your goal.  Especially if you wish to love your life where you are right now.  Please don't bemoan the fact that you are now older and perhaps look it and feel it.  You worked for it, now enjoy it!


9.  Let your goal be to love looking more and more YOURSELF, and love being the YOU you happen to be at this stage in life.  Be the most vibrant, happy and fulfilled "older" woman you can at this wonderful time of life.

So get off the hamster wheel of someone else's design and find out how God wants to use you and bless you to be a blessing to others right now.  Even if you are almost 73 years old.

Pictures shown are some of my favorite, beautiful "older" women in my church who live very vibrant lives.  Some are in their 90's, others in their 70's and one or two in their late 50's.
There is no age limit on being beautiful!
 Linking to:
Amaze Me Monday 
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7 comments:

  1. Great post, Elizabeth. You are so right... getting old is a privilege. Enjoy your week.

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  2. What a beautiful and encouraging post, Elizabeth! You were speaking to me, weren't you? LOL! I have never really grown up on the inside and sometimes I need a reality check...thank you!

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  3. I really needed this today. Thank you. My chronic health problems keep me from enjoying life at age 71. I try to keep going but sometimes it's really difficult. I seem to be down more than up. The only good thing about that is I have more time to read and study God's word. I'm enjoying that.

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  4. Oh I just couldn't agree more with this post! Well said. It is hardest for me not in the way I LOOK, but in the way I am able to get around physically. I was ALWAYS soo active, so to be slow or forced into a MUCH MUCH slower pace is still hard to accept. But I am grateful for each and every day, and pray for the opportunity to pass some of the wisdom I have learned along the way down to the next generation. YOU lady look fabulous however! 73 truly becomes you. I would have never guessed it!

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  5. Super great post Libby and such truth! I will be 65 in July and I really can't believe that but neither can I believe you will be 73. Yes, you do look amazing and always have. I'm just glad for every day the Lord gives me.

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  6. This was a wondeful post! My mom looks amazing (her skin never baked in the sun, so a really lovely complexion still). I'm so impressed by her looks and want people to know her age, but she is so funny about that. She says once people find out you're over 80 they discount you and your opinions. I've been making my own observations on that thought and think she's partly right. I think parents need to make a point of not overlooking the generation before theirs, we need to be showing our children there is value at every age. Loved this post!

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