When wrinkles rankle…

“Would you anti-age your ears?”.

There are just some phrases that set you off for some reason. That was one of them. “Over 50? Invest in an eyebrow pencil…”,“ Best buys in cosmetic surgery…” And while I cannot help wondering if there is a two for one offer on some of the procedures in that last article, the list, apparently goes on.

Now let’s get this straight. Not only are we supposed to worry about the general effects of ageing… you know, the important stuff like the mechanics seizing up, the joints creaking and the effects of general, long-term wear and tear…. We also have to worry about how we are going to cover all this ageing up. I’m not talking about staying healthy here. That would just be a sensible goal. No, I’m talking about aesthetics, and the articles that litter the home page of my email account and practically everywhere else.

The worst of it is that even with all the buzz words about ‘sixty being the new forty’ and suchlike, forty seems to be classed as past its sell-by date in the eyes of the media. Unless, of course, you are Helen Mirren. We are encouraged to emulate the fashions of youth or adopt a studied elegance of a kind totally impractical for most of us in ordinary life. We are encouraged to use all means at our disposal to preserve our youthfulness by the same media who pillory those celebrities who obey those dictates and choose cosmetic surgery.

Now, I am no spring chicken but I certainly don’t consider myself to be either over the hill or even wheezing towards its summit with my last gasp. Not yet. Granted, there is no guarantee of how far any of us have left on that particular slope, but I’ll be damned if I will consider myself old, past-it or decrepit before I’m ready. Nor will I chase the will o’ the wisp illusion of a youth I have left behind. I’ll do the best I can with what I have… for me, not because I am afraid of looking my age.

The mini-skirts have been laid to rest, the bright red hair is back to its natural colour, the slinky discarded in favour of the comfortable or occasionally the elegant. It has nothing to do with either bowing down to or fighting against a ticking clock and everything to do with whether or not I should allow my self image to be dictated by anyone but me. One of the best bits of growing older can be the confidence to be yourself and not feel obliged to conform to any stereotypical image.

It bothers me that there is this insidious insinuation that if we allow ourselves to age, we will no longer have beauty and, by implication will become unattractive. Who are we supposed to be attracting? Someone seeking a pretty young thing is unlikely to be looking in our direction in the first place. Someone who wants superficial beauty? If that’s their only criteria, I for one wouldn’t be interested anyway.

There is a beauty in the eyes of maturity, a beauty with a mind and depth that youth seldom knows. And it is a beauty that is alive and kicking, regardless of whether it is approved of by the media. It bothers me that all signs of age, particularly in women, are supposed to be covered up, sliced, diced, dyed or painted into oblivion. We age moment by moment… we get old… our bodies change. I’m not suggesting it is fun, or that we are going to like losing the battle with gravity … but like it or not it is happening, gradually to all of us, regardless of race, class or gender.

My face and body have been lived in. The curves, the lines, the grey hairs… even the eyebrows I am now supposed to draw in with a pencil apparently… And while I might well sigh wistfully for the time when there were a few less of each (apart from the eyebrows, you understand) this is me… a visual record of a life; a story in flesh. If I am not happy with it, then I can hardly expect anyone else to be. And if I am, why should I frantically pretend to youth or seek the validation of anyone else?

‘Anti-age my ears’, indeed…

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She has written a number of books, both alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com
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58 Responses to When wrinkles rankle…

  1. floridaborne says:

    As I was reading you post, I was nodding my head, “yes…yes…” Well said!

    I’ve earned every one of these wrinkles and grey hairs — though the brown still hangs on anyway. A few years back, I toyed with the idea of dyeing my hair lavender but the last time I dyed my hair (40 years ago) I developed hives from it.

    I’ve seen the effects of plastic surgery on actors and actresses now in their 80’s who look like someone slashed up their faces. Wrinkles are preferable.

    In ancient cultures, elders were revered. I think that’s part of what is wrong with society — we revere the wrong things and throw away wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I was dyed red for a few years… in various brilliant shades…because I could. I’m mousey brown to grey these days and staying that way.
      You are right in your final thought and I thin we lose so much by focussing on an admiration and pursuit of youth instead of valuing age and experience. We are works in progress…not complete till the picture is finished )

      Liked by 3 people

  2. Ritu says:

    My mum was never a makeup wearer, but she looked fab, with a dash of lipstick wherever we went. She used to dye her hair until the night sweats and the ravages of Menopause affected her and then she went naturally salt and pepper.
    Til this day she is the most beautiful person I know. Just that bit of Oil of Olay, a spritz of perfume, and that dash of lipstick… no need for more, and no anti ageing treatments needed!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Mary Smith says:

    Well said, Sue. I totally agree – and like your last line in the comment above – we are works in progress. Mind you if someone could do something about my creaky knees…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love my wrinkles…most of the time! I’ve earned every single one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kathy says:

    Well said 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Eliza Waters says:

    The double standard annoys me particularly. Why are older men ‘distinguished-looking’ while women are ‘hags?’ Our culture does not honor aging nor the wisdom that comes with it. I never noticed just how bad it was until I got to this end of the spectrum, alas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I know…and I think we are losing an awful lot by that lack of value. We are such a rich resource for the younger generations…
      I do agree with you though on the unfairness of how men and women are categorised. It is a little better these days, but not much.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. One of the saddest things in the world are those actors and actresses who have gone one surgery over the line, cosmetically speaking. Some of them no longer look entirely human. That insane drive to look young, no matter what … I wouldn’t mind being younger, but it’s the younger body I really want. The springier step, the flexible joints. A back that will bend. The rest of it? I’m okay with being me. This is where advertising has a LOT to answer for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I agree, Marilyn. And I’d go for being a bit less of me and bendier too. I still can bend, but its the creaking and the occasional groans 😉
      But if I can accept me ageing and be okay with it, it would be nice to think society could too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I actually blame advertising and movies for this. We have this endlessly young performers with impossible bodies and we think that’s the way we should be too. And of course, even if we were at the top of our form, we were never like that. Never would be. it’s why I hate Barbie dolls … the impossible dream.

        Like

  8. I agree with you ladies on all points. Lately, I’ve found myself worrying about all of this with starting my career in writing. Will I be accepted? Maybe in Heaven, if not here…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Widdershins says:

    I wonder how one would actually go about de-aging one’s ears? A mini time machine perhaps? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. katb8587 says:

    If only there was no such thing as ageism!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    A great post by Sue.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. IWell said Sue!
    have let my hair go to its natural colour at last after dyeing it since I was 13! I am surprised that it is still mousey with a little bit of grey right at the front. (I actually like that bit of grey)! My eyebrows that were always thin are now really sparse, the hair has decided to befect to my chin instead!
    I don’t wear make-up as often now as it kind of settles into the wrinkles! However, I would NEVER consider surgery (even the boob job I always longed for is no longer important)! The fact that I have seen so many people my age and younger that have hideous illness and diseases where they have no quality of life whatsoever, I am just grateful that on the whole, I have reasonably good health. Who cares about a bloody brow brush!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue Vincent says:

      I do the make-up thing when I feel like it… It takes a whole two minutes, though, start to finish 😉 You are right… there are more important aspects to being alive than fiddling with how our bodies write our stories.

      Liked by 2 people

  13. I’m with you on this, Sue. I think there is such a thing as aging gracefully. It’s full of voice and confidence, acceptance of our power and worldly beauty. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Erik says:

    To rephrase an old axiom, it’s ironic that, when we are young and have our looks, we squander it by being self-conscious; and when we are old, we finally have the wisdom not to care.

    I like myself and my life far more now than I did at any decade prior. It’s such a good place to have left behind trying to impress anyone.

    On a lighter note, I saw a real ad some years back for a pill that was supposed to delay menopause. You know how it looked: blurry images of a woman running through a field wearing a sun dress and all that, soothing female announcer encouraging women that “You choose when it’s right for you.”

    And then, toward the end, a hurried voice adds: “Side effects may include baldness, tooth loss and vaginal dryness.”

    I still laugh aloud when I think of the trade-off of that “choice.” 😀

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      …all of which may come with the menopause anyway 🙂
      I too am happier in my skin than ever before…though I might wish there was a touch less of it in places these days. I’m not even sure when being ‘old’ is supposed to begin any more…I remember thinking that thirty was ancient. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Erik says:

        Oh, I distinctly remember sitting on a bed in Disney World with friends from my high school class, late one night on our senior trip as graduation approached, and saying, “Can you even imagine that someday we’ll be … 30?!” And we all shook our heads as if we were imagining a world in which our ears were used for walking. Now, further from 30 in the other direction than we were then, I still can’t imagine being 30 …

        Like

        • Sue Vincent says:

          I know. I begin to understand why my great-grandmother said she always felt nineteen inside…regardless of her ninety-nine years.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Erik says:

            We have so many parallel stories! I distinctly recall my grandmother telling me she knew how to jitterbug. I asked her to show me some moves, and she said, “Oh, I know them, but I can’t do them anymore. Inside, I’m still 19. I sometimes get a shock when I look in the mirror in the morning and see that my numbers have reversed.” (She was 91 at the time, 93 now.)

            Like

  15. pollyesther says:

    The more I age, the more I boycott that form of brainwashing and the less I give a ‘rats behind’ about what people think of how I look. I have started feeling sorry for the victims that have cupboards full of those chemical cocktails that in the end only pollute our bodies and create more issues that need more products to fix things up again.
    Fortunately I had a wakeup call early in my more insecure time of my life by becoming allergic to several of those products. I found out myself which ones they were, after having been on cortizone creams for years and getting fed up with the doctors not looking for the cause. Now I buy only the basic essentials and the ones with the least amount of chemicals.
    Tell you what, my face just loves a dash of Coconut oil blended with Frankinsense and Ylangylang essential oils. It has never been this soft and smooth while using Oil of Ulay! It truely smells divine.
    Apart from that I love wearing a well meant smile, that radiates my love and beauty from inside out to the world 😉
    The proof that my strategy works comes back to me each and every day when the world smiles back at me!

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      A smile is the best ingredient for beauty at any age 🙂
      I can well imagine your oil smelling heavenely…two of my faviurite fragrances there at any time. I may have to try that. I don’t use a load of lotions and potions either, I tend to forget, let alone anything else. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Lovely post, Sue. I can see by the number of comments that you have certainly struck a cord here. I don’t use any expensive beauty products [also because I am allergic to everything and its friend and its friend’s dog!] but I don’t believe it helps to try and cover up aging. It is good to make the most of yourself but not to try and reverse time – those that do often end up unhappy with how they look anyway and it is often noticeable that they have had surgery, etc.

    Like

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  18. macjam47 says:

    Sue, this is a wonderful post. I use much less makeup now than I used to, but I never really used much in the first place. I try to follow a healthy diet and exercise as often as I can. My joints are rusty, but the move. the better they feel. I didn’t start dying my hair until my mid-forties when my youngest was in kindergarten. The young moms didn’t have gray and Ryan was worried I would die because I did. I’ve thought about going gray a lot, but my husband always said he liked the color and my hairdresser said I was too young for gray (she’s five years younger than I am). I’m letting all the color grow out and am looking forward to my gray-haired and wrinkled self.

    Like

  19. Rae Longest says:

    Great post! You called it, girlfriend!

    Like

  20. The only thing I have to add to your piece, Sue, is that it struck me some years ago how attractiveness often comes from within. I have been very fortunate in having had a number of girlfriends over the years that have been, well, easy on the eye. Yet the one who really tore my heart to shreds wasn’t what you might call classically beautiful. She had a sense of fun and adventure, as well as a great heart (it was my fault we split up), and these – along with other remarkable traits – shone out of her, making her truly beautiful in my eyes.
    We have become FB friends in recent years. There is no ill-feeling between us, and I have no desire to go back but, thirty years later, I can still see that beauty in her smile when I see the photos she posts.

    Like

    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks for sharing that here, Graeme. It is something we always tell our young..’real beauty comes from within’…but, like most things our parents tell us, it is something we never believe. Until we find it for ourselves. Then we can realy see it in others but are often unable to accept that others might just see the same in us too.

      Liked by 1 person

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