December 26, 2011

Carry your age gracefully

It is a strange quirk of human nature that we always try to look younger than our actual ages. At 25 we do our best to look 18. At 35 we are pleased if someone tells us we do not look a day over 25. In our mid-40's, we are thrilled when someone expresses surprise on learning that we have college-going children. Ironically, it is only in our teens that we try to act and dress older than we actually are!
Why is it that an average person, especially a woman, tries to look younger? Why cannot we come to terms with this simple fact of life, that we have to and are going older with every passing day, minute and second. No matter what! Every living thing on this earth has to grow old and die.
women checking for wrinkles
Is it because growing old brings us nearer to death that we want to prolong our youth or because age signs like wrinkles are unattractive, that we want to continue to be young? I do not think that anybody really consciously thinks deeply about why she wants to look young even when she is constantly doing her best to fight the signs of nearing old age.
Search for eternal youth
Scientists all over the world are deep in research to find more sophisticated drugs, creams and the like to arrest the ageing process. It's not just the celebrities, even common people these days are vehemently fighting the aging process. They undergo face lifts, go ahead and smooth their wrinkles with dermal fillers like Botox or Juvederm, undergo various types of surgeries to firm up sagging breasts or make a double chin disappear, they have hair transplanted on the bald spots on the head, they undergo butt-lifts, brow-lifts, tummy tucks, surgically correct their drooping earlobes and what not! This craze is now no longer an exclusive female domain; men too have jumped into this cosmetic surgery / Botox bandwagon and go to any lengths to look youthful, smart, and chic even in their advancing years.
                    Everyone is in search of the proverbial fountain of youth. (Image Credits)
Their obsession with age is such that they are willing to shell a huge packet and leave themselves at the mercy of various surgeons and undergo all sorts of pain and trauma if that can make them look a couple of years younger. And mind you, they always fake their real ages. Even to enter their age in their passports upsets them!! (Also read Top 5 Celebrities that prove cosmetic surgery is a bad idea.)
Hours are spent in gyms, at aerobic classes and in saunas and massage parlours to sweat, squeeze ands scare the life out of those ugly bulges! These are people who can really afford to go all the way. But even the not-so-rich are no less when it comes to the search for eternal youth. Their dressing tables overflow with moisturizers, anti-ageing creams, packs, scrubs and what-have-you. Just like those cyberchondraics who surf the web for health related issues, these people browse through anti-aging articles, forums and product reviews of anti-aging creams and products that claim to eradicate wrinkles. They are eternally in quest of a miracle anti-aging product. After reading exaggerated positive reviews of the so-called wonder products, they simply can't wait to try them. With the ease of online shopping, they don't hesitate to buy such commodities from any part of the globe, paying exorbitant amounts if necessary.
woman obsessed with antiaging products
Image Credits
Gray hair is also a concern for them. Spot a single gray hair and they go and buy the best brand of hair colour or hair dye to camouflage it. Vitamin pills & diet supplements are gulped down religiously every morning as they promise youthful-looking skin, hair and teeth. All new types of diets suggested in health and beauty magazines are read and followed without any grouse. All health, fitness and beauty journals are bought and studied.
man worried about his first gray hair
The first gray hair is a matter of concern for everyone.
Image Credits

Even the most ancient of grandma's recipes for skin care are trotted out and tried. Quite a few of the vegetables bought originally for the next day's meals wind up as face-masks and hair-care agents. Lemon, tomato, cucumber, honey, yogurt or pulses- you name it - all have some use or the other in skin care. The laziest of people are seen rubbing their eyes at dawn to wake up and go for a stint of jogging or indoor exercise. All the aches and pains experienced by untried or lazy muscles are ignored. Yes, all this in the quest for youth.
woman trying DIY beauty aids
Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not saying that all this is wrong. I too am one among the millions who would like nothing better than to look younger. I too follow a regular skin-care routine. I try to get my quota of exercises and definitely do my best to eat the the right foods.
No, I am not saying all this is waste of time or anything. But what I am trying to say is that we have to face the basic fact of life that aging is a natural process like digestion or blood circulation. Let us deal with this firmly and not get unduly upset over this essential process.
Looks decline with age
Dismal as it may sound, everyone knows that looks decline after we cross our mid-20's itself. Our skin is the first to give us depressing warnings. Then comes hair, eyesight and muscle flexibility. With advancing age, we see out normal bodily functions declining and experience the onset of various medical problems like arthritis, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, cataract, reduced eyesight and hearing. Women experience a lot of emotional upheavals as well as other physical agonies as they nearing menopause.
Unless we come to terms with all this and learn to cope with this new phase in our lives we will be like a horse with blinkers on. One not-so-fine day these blinkers will be rudely stripped off us and we will be in for a shock. Take a lesson from these celebrities who despite being in the showbiz do not quite approve of cosmetic surgery and have aged gracefully.
Everyone grows old
Aging is inevitable. Each and everyone on this planet is growing old and experiencing the same things that we are.
Image Credits

One thing is sure to cheer us up is that we are not the only ones undergoing this process. Each and everyone is growing old and is experiencing the same things that we are. No one (at least not yet!) has the formula for retaining eternal youth. You may look a couple of years younger that you actually are but a person of 50 cannot look 20.
The worst thing is when women (and men!) look in the mirror and psyche themselves into believing that they look years younger than their 40's or 50's. The old cliche that you are as young as you feel is fine but it is distressing to see older people make a fool of themselves by acting silly and immature - impersonating some teenage idol. 
Now, like I said, taking care or yourself is fine, in fact, very good. But along with this we have to adopt the right attitude to our increasing years. Pretending to be a teenager when we are well past our 40's is taking things a bit too far. Many a teenage son or daughter has been embarrassed to see mothers act and dress their children's age. Contrary to what we have believed all along, a surprising study has found that compared to men,  women seemed to accept aging more willingly and in a much better way. Now that should make all the MCP's sit up - all the while they keep harping that women are looks obsessed and what not!
Now coming back to the topic! Look critically at yourself in the mirror and assess yourself. With the right approach nobody can be a better judge or you than yourself. Remove those tinted glasses from your eyes and look at yourself with wide open eyes. At some time in your life you must have come across an older person trying to act or dress younger than she or he and you may have found this funny. Now you are in their place.
As others perceive you
Try to see yourself as others perceive you. Take, for instance, a 45 year-old slightly overweight lady wearing a short dress and sporting a mod hairstyle and giggling like a school girl. Imagine yet another woman of the same age wearing a silk sari, her hair tied into a nice topknot or a simple plait or cut short in a smart hairstyle. Which one if them endears herself to you? I am sure the latter one. (Read Wear Age Appropriate Clothes and avoid making a fool of yourself!)
Dressing and acting one's age is no crime. At an older age people attain a certain charm, maturity and sophistication which is not shown by people of the younger generation. In fact the best can be got out of these years if we pause to think for a while.
All our major responsibilities in life are coming to an end. In all probability your children are in college or have started working or may even have got married and settled down. Gone are the nappy-changing days or the yelling-at-your-kids days. Days when you did not have a single moment's rest or free time and your only dream was to see the days when the kids would grow up and would not be dependent on you! Those days you longed for are here now!
unhappy woman
Don't waste this time feeling sorry for yourself that the kids are not around anymore. Try to shake away the feeling of loneliness and instead welcome the long uninterrupted hours which are solely yours and yours alone. You have spent the best part of your life looking after each and every need of your family and you deserve this rest. Pamper yourself to glory!
I am sure there are various things you always wanted to do before but never had the time for. Pursue whatever hobby you like, be it reading or gardening or whatever. Look up your old friends and plan a meeting. They too like you, would suddenly be finding themselves at a loose end. If you are a social person, join one of those ladies' clubs. This will give you ample opportunity for meeting new interesting people. These clubs hold cookery demonstrations, flower arrangement classes, bonsai and the like and you can learn as well as share any of your skills with others.
Join Social work Organisation
If philanthropic by nature, you can join some social work organisation or an NGO. The sense of satisfaction and fulfillment one can get has to be experienced to be believed. There's nothing like doing something without selfish gains in mind for the not-so-unfortunate in our country.
If all these years you have had no time to look after yourself, it's never too late to start. Bring out those beauty books. Pamper yourself with manicures, pedicures, massages, deep hair-conditioning treatments and facials from time to time. Moisturize your facial as well as your body skin often. An at-home oil-massage during a bath twice or thrice a week is terrific and will revive your skin. Also try new hairstyle. Nothing peps you up better than a new hair-do which suits you. (Also read Get out of that rut and reinvent yourself & Find your age-appropriate skin care regimen.)
woman applying moisturizer
Moisturize your facial as well as your body skin often for a suppleness. (Image Credits:Ambro /
Avoid crash diet
If you have put on weight during early years and want to start on a diet or exercise or both - first consult a doctor. Do not make the mistake of going on a crash diet as this will deprive the body of essential nutrients and you will find it difficult to recover unlike in your early years. Have a balanced diet. Try not to let your weight fluctuate very much as this too is drastic for your skin which is not as elastic as before. Read Perils Of Exercise.
If not used to exercising, do not start off with heavy aerobics or calisthenics as you are sure to end up with aches and pains and this could well trigger off other complications. Instead do light yoga or other stretching exercises.
Have a regular medical check-up. This way you can start early on diet and medication in case you have some health problems like diabetes and blood pressure.
This is the time when you are likely to have menopause and the discomforts which accompany it. Try and take all this in your stride. Most women feel that they have lost their femininity as they can no longer have children. This is downright silly as they are surely not planning to have a baby now! Instead there should a relief that they do not have to bother about contraception and in fact get intimate with their husbands without any hassles.
Your husband may have felt neglected when your children were young. It's time now to pamper him too. Spend more time together. Walking is one exercise which will not yield any side effects unless you have some specific problem like joint pains. Besides the feeling of togetherness when you walk and talk together is good to bridge any communication gap.
senior couple walking
If you can afford it, you can travel. Try visiting the place where you honeymooned! Those memories are sure to liven you up and make you feel young again.
Get a pet
If you do not like the feeling of not having anybody dependent on you, you can always have a pet cat, dog or even an aquarium. Just like a new-born baby, a pet too can bring new joy into your life. According to WebMD, a pet is not only a great as a companion but improves your overall health (both physical and mental) too. Owning a pet can can ward off depression, lower blood pressure, boost immunity, lower cholesterol levels and even improve your social life. More here.
being with a pet is a stress-buster
And coming to personal appearances, it is now time to cover up all those bulges (if any) which were once attractive curves. All these years when you had a shapely figure you may have been wearing your sari low on your waist. It is time to now to cover your midriff if you have put on weight in the middle. If you are not too fat, salwar kameezes look good for informal wear but wear ones that fit you well rather than those that accentuate your bulges. Avoid sleeveless blouses if your upper arms are not firm and supple.
Be elegantly dressed
Normally as you grow older your flawless skin will start showing blemishes and spots. Do not hesitate to use make-up. Invest in good quality tinted moisturizers, concealers and foundations of a correct shade. Learn the art of makeup and deck yourself in a way that best suits you and your age. There are several YouTube makeup videos that will guide you perfectly. But remember one thing - do  not use bizarre colors of eye shadows, lipstick or nail paints; these may look good on teenagers but will un-dignify your appearance. And most importantly, do not forget to wear a sunscreen while going out in the Sun.
senior woman makeup
          Do not hesitate to use makeup
Avoid wearing chokers around your neck. Go in for longer neck jewellery as necklaces close to your neck draw attention to the fine lines on the neck. A long gold rope chain or a single strand of pearls worn over an elegant sari will look graceful. Wear pretty studs - be it in gold, pearls or diamonds - in your ears. For dressy occasions you can wear larger sized studs but avoid wearing heavy dangling earrings. Also read How to properly accessorize (without over accessorizing!)
Image Credits
By following these few suggestions you too can be elegantly turned out on any occasion and be the envy of every woman, young or old. Next time you look in the mirror be proud of your laugh lines. Carry your age gratefully. It is better to admit you are 50 and look 40 rather than say you are 40 and look 50.
(Guest Post by Amita)

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  1. Leela8:52 AM

    The life cycle has to go on. Therefore, we have to pass through all stages of life not just stay where we are. Going ahead is life. Stagnation is death. Enjoy growing and grow graciously to experience the beauty of life. Life is a wonderful thing which you should enjoy fully at every stage and not just enjoying when you young only.

  2. Anonymous2:55 PM

    with crash dieting you can lose a hell of a lot more than a couple of pounds! Crash dieting just ends up with loosing a lot of the body's fluids. That's where most of the weight loss is.Crash diets always backfire. " Weight often goes back on as fat, leaving you with more fat and less protein than you started off with, which leaves you feeling even more out of shape than before, and can start off a vicious circle of yo-yo dieting."

  3. Anonymous2:58 PM

    "Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive"- Elbert Hubbard,

  4. Dharani3:04 PM

    Keep only cheerful friends.The better part of one's life consists of friendships.

  5. Hritik3:06 PM

    Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. Happiness consists in the full employment of our faculties
    in some pursuit

  6. Ulhas3:07 PM

    Enjoy the simple things
    Gardening is great for that.

  7. Bharat3:08 PM

    Laugh often, long and loud
    Laugh until you gasp for breath.

  8. Kasturi3:10 PM

    Decay comes from giving up on life or failing to engage.
    Aging is up to nature, but decay is up to you.

  9. Prajay3:11 PM

    To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly,cheerful, reverent --that is to triumph over old age.

  10. Prajwal3:13 PM

    Growing old is a case of mind over matter.
    If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.

  11. old age makeup
    Bronzer under/ around the eyes.
    Blush on the nose and chin.
    Use concealer 2 shades darker than your skin tone to create "lines" around your face. For example corners of your eyes, in your smile lines, forehead...

  12. Christina3:26 PM

    Don't dress too young - this makes you look like 'mutton dressed as lamb'. No your skin tones and dress with the colours that suit you - not too dowdy but not too garish. If you're luck enough not to look your age and look younger then make sure you look after your hair - that's the first thing people notice - have a young style.

  13. Kousalya3:27 PM

    Keep active physically and mentally, have friends, eat well, don't smoke, use sunscreen.

    It's not only about looks but attitude and mental outlook.

  14. Some tips are:
    Eat right
    just have fun


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