Award-winning author, international speaker, and former radio show personality.
The first time I saw the movie, Mamma Mia starring Meryl Streep, I was amazed at how good she looked. She was flawless and looking 30 something. But we all know that she is older (and that good camera lighting and makeup can be a godsend). Regardless of the Hollywood secrets to making her look fabulous, Meryl isn’t the only one who is staving off the aging process. This is a Hollywood phenomenon that has infiltrated us mere mortals in the “real world.” Certainly, with the advent of cosmetic procedures, anyone can look amazing (or in some cases, amazingly frightening). Getting a facelift is as easy as applying for a credit card (and in most cases, better interest rates and payments terms). However, as a woman who is in the nutrition field and has a personal mantra of, “No matter how bad life gets, there is ALWAYS time for a facial,” I have noticed something more about the way people are approaching aging and health.
Admittedly, there are women getting cosmetic procedures to reduce, nip, tuck, lift, and enhance. I believe I read somewhere on the internet that last year, cosmetic surgery was a 60-billion-dollar industry. So clearly, there are a whole lot of people addressing this issue with a surgeon. As a culture, we are without question committed to maintaining our youth. However, there are others of us who have taken a different approach and indulge in less invasive (and I believe, equally as effective) beauty treatments such as drinking water, eating right, stress-management, positive thought, meditation, and enjoying life.
Granted, there is a genetic component to some of this aging business. The thing is that now, people aren’t surrendering to their health, age, or genetic predisposition. In the last ten years, I have seen people take a more proactive approach to their health and well-being. Many of us no longer take what the doctors say as the final “word.” We get our own second opinion on the internet or with an alternative health care practitioner. People are finding different ways to deal with their health challenges. Many people are making more conscientious choices about their food, skin care products, and overall lifestyles. We are eating organic and cooking as per Dr. Oz. Even exercise has taken on a new face. Twenty years ago, we were limited to jazzercise and aerobics. Now you can learn to pole dance, belly dance, hip hop dance, cycle, etc.
I think one of the biggest components to the new attitude about aging is all the options available to keep ourselves in our prime. But I believe the real key is posed as a question that was asked of me recently. “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” This question highlights the idea that our thoughts about aging are one of the biggest determining factors in actual physiological process. We are learning more and more through science and quantum physics that our thoughts, brain wave patterns, and neuorsynaptic connections are significant contributing factors in our overall health and well-being.
It wasn’t that long ago when some women had the idea that their 50s were reserved for grieving the past and recounting a long list of “I should haves” all while resigning themselves to their “fate.” This ideology is clearly on its way out as women today are more active, health conscious, and vibrant. And more importantly, women are simply changing their attitudes.
I am sure there is some Hollywood influence in our new outlook about age as now we are looking to women like Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Aniston, and Demi Moore as icons of health and beauty. They are showing us that encroaching on or being 50 is just the beginning. As a culture, we are not only embracing this fact, we are seeing it everywhere we look. In general, we are adopting more of an Eastern philosophy about the idea of “old.” Age is becoming more synonymous with wisdom and beauty. Even the modeling industry is extending the careers of the classic beauties well beyond their 30s. We are experiencing more and more 40 and 50 somethings putting themselves out there as strong contenders in the dating arena, work force, college classrooms, etc. Instead of becoming an old bat, some women are finding themselves turning into frisky cougars. Old negative stigmas of women dating younger men are being replaced with entire television shows dedicated to highlighting and embracing these relationships. No longer is it only socially appropriate for men to “have all the fun.”
The thing that I see in common with all the fabulous 40 and 50 (and beyond) somethings is their attitude about aging. It seems that many women are realizing that putting their focus on the aging process becomes not only useless but damaging. Age is simply a number. But it doesn’t have to define you. It doesn’t have to be your calling card, a damning sentence, or a countdown to your final hours. Every one of us is only as young as we feel. And from I can observe, it is what is on inside of us that radiates on the outside. Inner peace, happiness, confidence, and surrender are what you see on the faces of the truly beautiful women. This is when people begin to look at you and look past any wrinkles only to see an inexplicable radiance that no surgery or 24k gold-flecked, placenta infused face cream can give you. Mark Twain had this all figured out a long time ago when he said, “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”