So, check it out: I want you to take a look at my face in that photo up there and guess how old I am. The answer I get most often is 28-ish, which is fine. Maybe about 32, this is still OK. Both are wrong.
I’m 41 years old. I know. I was born in June 1971. Barely a scratch or a dent on the outside so far, however I’m not sure what photos of my liver would look like.
This not-looking-my-age-thing has turned me into sort of a circus freak/carnival game among my friends. They take me around to strangers and try to get them to guess my real age. (I’m always pissed this game doesn’t come with some sort of prize -- maybe a pink stuffed bear?) After people appear shocked, the questions start: What’s my secret, what’s my ethnic heritage, what products do I use? Basically, why don’t I look my age?
But the thing is, what the hell is my age SUPPOSED to look like, exactly?
This comment about my age felt like a compliment for a while. I’m still sure that it’s intended to be one. But it’s starting to really concern me. We live in a society filled with horrible disdain for anything that appears to be disposable. As an economy, we build products to fail so we have to continually buy new ones. We are also youth obsessed. These two things combine to create a fear and loathing of "trash" or "disposable" people, things or processes, like the natural process of aging. We are programmed by popular media to fear certain ages (haven’t had a baby by 35? You and your eggs might be considered moldy and undesirable according to many) and any signs of wear and tear. We purchase creams to firm our eyes, we run toward anything that plays on our fear of getting older.
So, when we find someone who has hit an "advanced age" that doesn’t appear to be rotting like week-old fruit on the counter, we run at the chance to bottle it, inject it or otherwise copy that shit as fast as we can.
So it actually makes me slightly nuts when people say that I don’t look my age, because I don’t know what that’s supposed to look like. I know women my age and they look just fine to me. I look to women like Lauren Hutton as beauty icons and I HOPE I look that good for the rest of MY LIFE.
So, here I am, about to expose my beauty secret for looking my age. And no, it’s not genetics, because I have relatives with some of my DNA and, well, let’s just say that hard living can’t create soft lines. My beauty secret is that I don’t worry about my skin or getting older.
When I was 15, my mother told me that the less I did to my face, the less I would ever have to do to my face. I’ve followed that principle my whole life. If my skin feels dry, I moisturize it. If I see lackluster glow, I put a serum on it. I only wash my face once a day and I slather on SPF every single time I leave the house, but otherwise I LEAVE MY SKIN ALONE AND I DON’T STRESS ABOUT IT. That’s my beauty secret. I stopped combating the lines forming on my forehead because I earned them. At some point, the sun spots under my skin will come to the surface and no cream will eradicate them. That’s cool. They’ll just be there and we’ll make friends, just like every other feature on my face.
At the end of the day, I do look my age. I look like a happy, sexy 41-year-old woman out to conquer the world. I am not afraid of looking older. I gave myself a whole new career at the end of my 30s and I have yet to become irrelevant. And I did all of that with this face, at this "advanced age."
So, take a closer look. This is exactly what 41 looks like. And it’s just going to get better from here.
Let’s dish about this whole aging thing: Do people think you look or don’t look your age? What do you think about it? Are you scared of aging? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.