I recently read an article dealing with ageing. Despite the many clichés, it really hit home with me.
I’ve reached an age where I find myself looking at my body critically. I’m falling into all the traps. I catch myself pulling my face back, searching my reflection for my younger self. I check out my backside in the mirror, wondering where my ass went (oh, there it is – above the back of my knees) and my boobs. Well….
My hair is greying at an alarming rate. The sleep creases on my face and chest when I wake up in the morning seem to linger for hours, refusing to let go. The lines around my mouth are particularly troubling.
I could go on and on. And sadly, my inner voice does.
Having spent over 20 years working in an industry that celebrates beauty certainly hasn’t helped. I won’t elaborate on that belaboured topic, but one can well imagine how that would affect a person living and working in that world for so long. Ageing as a woman is stressful enough, but ageing as a model has its unique set of challenges.
Despite all of this, I have been careful to promote a healthy view on ageing. I try to lead by example with my children. I remind them that, in my opinion, beauty is a virtue, not an asset. I don’t wear makeup, and my hair is worn in a ponytail more often than not.
I have always felt my true beauty was my personality – something I was fine with believing until my physical beauty began to fade. Have I been lying to myself all these years? Maybe I believed beauty wasn’t important to me because I was beautiful.
Looking at my reflection now, and not loving what I see, does that make me a hypocrite? Why do I feel compelled to judge myself like this? I guess in a way, I’m disappointed in myself. I need to snap out of it; I know better. Enough already!
Ageing is a privilege. I have known way too many people whose lives ended too soon, people who would have given anything to see their ageing faces looking back at them in a mirror. Lives cut short. If only they could experience the feeling of having survived another year.
It certainly puts things into perspective, and it makes my superficial complaints seem so childish and selfish.
Moving forward, my goal will be to embrace the passing years and all that comes with them. I should be proud: these changes are the battle scars that tell the story of who I am. And it’s a wonderful story. My lips have kissed away booboos, been kissed in friendship and in passion and brushed thousands of cheeks. My “ass” has flown 35,000 feet above the earth more times than I can count. It has sat in trains, theatres, on park benches, hospital beds, and oceans – plus the occasional photocopier, “back in the day.” My breasts have felt the tenderness of early pregnancy and the pain of breastfeeding. They have nourished and comforted three babies.
And my wrinkles? These lines on my face form the landscape of a life fully lived. They speak of years of laughter and happiness. This face has been held between the hands of lovers and caressed by the tender hands of my children. And sadness, loss and strife? Those lines are there too. Without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
It’s a good reminder that time doesn’t really take away. Rather, it gives. It helps you write the chapters of your life. Yes, it’s a wonderful story. And it is not finished yet. It’s time to look in the mirror with pride.
Who is with me?