What Your Age Will Teach You About Self-Acceptance
July 22, 2017
I was 38 when I first saw a tiny line at the top of my nose forming a delicate bridge between my left and right eye. I remember the exact moment I noticed it. I was in my car at a traffic light, I had glanced up casually into the rearview mirror and the line startled me.
“What is that?”, I wondered as I rubbed it stubbornly with my index finger. I didn’t recognize the woman staring back at me.
The light turned green, I moved on but I remember for the entire drive I kept looking at the line. I did it months afterwards too.
Three years later that single line got some new friends. This time, they appeared more gradually around my eyes. By now though my attitude had shifted. I decided to make peace with them, after all, they represented a process I had finally begun to accept.
The lines made my smile more infectious, I told myself, when they crinkled at the corners in tandem with my lips erupting into a laugh.
But even as I embraced my new facial friends, I also decided to do something else. I made a personal pact not to do anything that would cause them to go deeper, faster than they may have wanted to.
I became religious about skincare. I upped my water intake, I used sunscreen with the regularity of a chiming wall clock and developed a 15-minute nighttime facial routine that saw me in front of a mirror every night lifting, pinching and massaging.
Look, I was raised to believe that beauty is more than skin-deep. I have long attached to the idea that self-confidence, the ability to laugh at yourself, to take pleasure in deep, soulful connections and to find a way to live joyfully despite any pain that may come from the loss of someone you love or the stresses of running a business, is really what will show on the epidermis of your face.
That point was made more pronounced by Dr Christine Northrup – ageing expert and author – as she recounted a meeting she had with two women on the same day.
The first, says Dr Northrup, was in her late 30s, with a great body and flawless skin but she was uptight, spoke only of her accomplishments, bemoaned the fact that life was stressful and that a good man was hard to find. The second woman was 55, had come out of a mastectomy, was 30 pounds overweight but was in the full throttle of her life.
She was back at a job she loved. She was dating three men, one who she knew she’d marry and had an energy that the Doctor noted radiated joy and attractiveness to everyone in her presence.
I loved hearing that story. I share it all the time. It brings me a great deal of comfort thinking about the future and knowing it’s not all downhill after 40, 50 or even 60. In fact, I am surrounded by women who defy the media-driven, cultural notion that suggests that life is over after your fourth decade.
And for all the skin care routines that I do, I’m very much aware that life’s larger truth can’t be found at the bottom of a moisturising jar but in front the mirror with a brave heart and a whole heap of self-acceptance.