My mother in the mirror

Have you had that moment yet where you glance as you walk by a mirror and see your mother? Well, let me say that it’s a little unnerving. Not because of my mother’s looks – I always thought she was an attractive woman – but because I’m not old yet. Right? Oh wait, maybe I am. 

My first reaction was to run to the beauty counter for any cream, oil, serum, or mask I could find and try to reverse or slow that mirrored reflection down. I know I’m not the young woman I once was – no head-turning ability any longer regardless of how minimal it was at best – but my mother? Really?

Coming to terms with our ever-progressing age is definitely a challenge. As Boomers, we’re so accustomed to being young, hip, in charge, and leading the way with so much life stretched out in front of us, that facing the opposite reality of actually becoming old is a non-starter.

And let’s face it, ageism is alive and well, which makes dealing with the inevitable even more difficult. Our culture still values the beauty of youth over the experience of age. So, it’s easy to feel sidelined, most especially for women, when the glow of youth evaporates and the cloak of invisibility begins to enfold us.

In other words, looks matter. We all want to age well, but it can be difficult to figure out what that means to us personally. Or how we carry it off individually.

I know there are many who will disagree with me, but for me at least, I know I feel best when I put effort into looking my best. Of course, the effort required is more involved with every passing year.

Anyway, I’ve been giving this some thought, as I have witnessed my own sense of style shifting, and the jowls along my jawline drooping ever deeper. Since I’ve always loved clothes and fashion, it’s with amusement that I see myself reaching for more “comfortable” items in my closet, over those that might take a bit more effort. And as much as I don’t like to admit it, the old “age-appropriate” question comes up sometimes as I shop or dress for an event.

In the not-so-back of my mind, I’ve been starting to accept that “Yep, I am that! An older woman that maybe should embrace the invisibility and move on.” Perhaps, being in the world of not-working-any-longer, I’ve begun to harbor a tiny doubt in myself here and there. Perhaps.

And then . . . thinking again. Rather than get too close to the edge of that age-appropriate or anti-aging slippery slope, I’m stopping it right here.

After all, at this age, I know what’s age-appropriate for me. And that is anything I damn well like. Period. End of story. Finito.

It might not be someone else’s age appropriate, and that’s fine. It might not even be very flattering on me, but if it makes me feel good, makes me feel like me, then I’m good.

I love seeing older women dress well, expressing themselves fully. Even if their taste is very different from mine, the fact that they’re putting themselves together and stepping out for all the world to see is kinda thrilling to me. If I can get to them quickly, I rarely lose an opportunity to tell them how stunning they are. Feels good – for them and me.

Whatever we choose to wear – clothes or hairstyle, how we choose to live – casual, elegant, in-between or outer-edges, should be a reflection of our personal style. Our personal desires, needs, energy, and spirit.

Bottom line: I want to feel most “like me” in whatever I wear or do. I don’t want to feel like I’m trying too hard or not trying hard enough.

So, yeah, aging is a little scary, sometimes frustrating as the energy I have doesn’t always match the spirit I have for what I want to do. But overall, I’m really, really happy being this age. There are far too many benefits that come with age to ever want to go back.  Because as experience teaches us, the good old days are now.

Regardless of what the mirror says.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

I’ll leave you with this Macklemore/Kesha song that caps this off beautifully, with thanks to my niece, Lauren, for bringing it to my attention and making sure I stay in tune, so to speak.

Till next time,

Judy

12 Comments

  1. Bobbi
    February 9, 2018 / 8:42 am

    I know what you mean ! I used to hate being carded – now I am given senior discounts without having to produce my medicare card !

    • Judy McLane
      February 9, 2018 / 11:20 am

      This is too funny. Hubby and I now notice that whenever we go to a movie, they automatically give us the senior rate without asking. Sigh.

      • Terry Devine
        February 10, 2018 / 4:13 pm

        Me too! I chalk it up to white hair.
        As if that all it is! 🙂
        Love the savings, though.

  2. Colette Derr
    February 9, 2018 / 9:49 am

    Very interesting commentary on aging Judy. It is what we are all thinking at this point of out life journey. You articulated the sentiment so well ( as always).

    Your point about ‘head-turning ability’ got me thinking. For me, at least at this point, it is not so much about being attractive as it is about feeling invisible. We have gained so much wisdom and knowledge along the bumpy road of life and we want to connect with others to share our thoughts. I am aware of how differently others interact with me as I age. Sometimes I want to say ‘Hey! I’m here with something to offer.

    Oh well, that being said, I connect now with my Mom more than ever as I experience what she did when she was 20-something years younger. I have tremendous respect for the aging process and the lovely benefits it holds. Here’s to the wise and wonderful women with heart and soul🍾🥂!

    • Judy McLane
      February 9, 2018 / 11:19 am

      You’re so right, Colette. The “invisibility” of aging is more frustrating than anything else. Oh well, something tells me we won’t let it hold us back. We ARE going to share our knowledge and wisdom . . . dammit! haha

  3. Sheryl K Amburgey
    February 9, 2018 / 3:36 pm

    You have captured my thoughts about aging and invisibility. People DO treat you differently; as though they need to “take care of you”! The number of years I have lived is a big number BUT I stay active and for the most part, I do not feel ALL those years!!! Oh well, as you always say Jude, “It is what it is!” But I try to MAKE people SEE ME!

    Judy, you are so very articulate in your writing, and of course, I’m bursting with pride in my “baby sister”. I love you Jude!

  4. Joyce Lalone
    February 9, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    Judy, I bet you knew this one would hit home with me. I don’t think there is any right or wrong way to approach this time of life. I believe we watch other women, such as our moms, and those moments help us define how we will tackle this new age. I like being comfortable, I like looking my best and I really don’t care about what others think of how I look. That’s the best part of being this age. Lately, when someone asked if they could help me, I got slightly insulted and flexed any muscles that I could find, then I realized that this person was just using their manners and I smiled as I picked up my bags and showed my strength. One thing I do find odd during this new decade (hmm…atually I’m in the middle of this one) is often I look at other people who may or may not be my age and wonder if am I older or youger than him/her. Do you do that too?
    My beautiful mother always said, “age is just a number, it doesn’t define you'” and she proved that for 96 years so here’s to women who live long and well!! Let’s do it.

  5. February 10, 2018 / 6:54 am

    Yup — a certain shade of lipstick or a hair style throws me for a loop every once in awhile looking in the mirror!

  6. February 10, 2018 / 7:19 am

    Ha! I look in the mirror and actually see my mother. As her caregiver, she is either right behind me or looking for me. I hope I look as good as she does at her age. I agree with your mother…age is just a number!

  7. Terry Devine
    February 10, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    In Doris Lessing’s “Golden Notebook” there is a scene where the protagonist, a mature woman, walks past some male construction workers. No whistles or other acknowledgement of her. She had always been attractive and was unused to being ignored so she tries an experiment. Walking down the block and around the corner where she’s not seen, she pulls back her hair and (if I remember correctly) the way she holds herself and walks back past the workers. This time she does get attention. Then around the next corner she changes back, passes the workers again, and again is invisible.
    I read that book in my 20’s and don’t remember anything else but that incident. Your post brought it all home.
    Thanks as always for being spot on!

  8. February 10, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    I totally understand the concept of feeling “like me.” When I left my longtime job and began working at home all of the sudden I no longer dressed the way I always had. I’d walk by the mirror and hardly recognize myself. I wasn’t dressed up, I hadn’t put on all the jewelry, or done the hair and makeup thing. It felt so strange and I didn’t like it. I finally decided that even though I was at home there was no reason to just become a total frump (not that I’m a fashion plate, but you get the idea). So I went back to dressing – even if not quite as business-like – and putting on some jewelry. I finally began to feel like the old me again. The thing I find odd is that other friends my age will ask “Why are you so dressed up?” when I see them. They don’t understand that I’m not “dressing up” – I’m just dressing in what feels right for me. Sometimes that judgment comes from our peers as well.

    • Judy McLane
      February 15, 2018 / 5:43 pm

      You are so right, Shelley. It’s more important to do what feels right for us — regardless of others’ judgments.

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