The Contradictions of Aging

Read Lesley Jane Seymour's May 2012 editor's letter here

Lesley Jane Seymour • Editor-in-Chief
lesley jane seymour more editor in chief image
Photograph: Greg Delves

Some of you say you have a bone to pick with More. In your letters, you often ask how we can run empowering pieces about coming to terms with aging a few quick page-turns away from beauty stories about how to disguise wrinkles. You suggest there’s a disconnect between celebrating the joys and freedoms of maturity while at the same time running ads for products and services intended to help women look younger.

Well, guess what? You’re right! It is a contradiction. But here’s the truth: After spending four years at Morestudying the country’s conflicted attitude toward aging—especially women’s aging, which is its own ugly hair ball—I hypothesize that most of us have gotten only midway to acceptance of growing older. We’re happy with the emotional benefits of our life stage but less happy with looking our chronological age. (If you’ve achieved total acceptance nirvana, please share your secret with the rest of us!)

But look how far we’ve come. In 1998, when More launched, just putting a woman over 40 on the cover was subversive; the old More model search, in which one 40-plus reader won a modeling contract, was seen as insane. But it helped pave the way for a breakthrough: In 2010 three of the top fashion magazines—Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar—featured 40-plus actresses on their September covers.

Has age prejudice disappeared? Nope. A friend of mine lost her job and had to color her gorgeous gray hair in order to find a new one. Single friends complain that the majority of men frequenting online dating sites are interested in meeting only younger women. (Hypocrisy check: Women often say they don’t want to date “70-year-old geezers.”) And if you’ve ever wondered why that old goat of an actor still gets to make love onscreen to women 15 years his junior, I can clear that up. According to an agent friend (who insisted on anonymity), that age spread is written into the goat’s contract! For Hollywood women, of course, ageism is so harsh that many actresses who’d love to revel in their maturity dare not, lest they set fire to their paychecks.

So what does all this mean? That adult life is full of contradictions; there’s almost no black and white, just shades of gray. It means I thrill to find a treatment that will erase sunspots (see my laser adventure on page 58 in the May 2012 issue, on newsstands now), but I don’t want to entirely eliminate the eye crinkles that record how often I’ve smiled at whatever was happening in my life. Let me know how you see it in the comment section below.

Learn Lesley's slow-down secrets here.

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First published in the May 2012 issue

Share Your Thoughts!

Comments

MaryRose Joyner09.19.2012

Look at our history! At one time not to long ago, if you were over 35 or 40. That was it! YOU WERE OLD! Look at all the movies around WWII. Even if you were a young mother you were made to look OLD and MATRONLY or non sexual! So it has gotten better for women slowly, but with generations to come it will get better.
Marketing is giving us what we want basically, although its gone to far. If you have the money & energy and inclination we can almost look as young as our daughters, throwing in good family genes. The cosmetic industry is taking care of the surface. It's up to us women to take care and love our inside beauty. Love every part of your body! Love your heart! Pick your favorite parts and love them. Pick your least loved part and appreciate it.
I don't mind the anti-aging ads. What I do mind is when they use young, young women or girls on the anti-aging ads. It pisses me off! Use appropriate age related women who would really use these products. I don't trust what the ads say for that very reason and refuse to buy them.
I'm fortunate that my looks held up until about 52years. I'm turning 55 next month. Now it's catching up, but I still look pretty good. I've always been an active person or you could call it a day laborer. No flab on the arms, legs are muscular, face is okay, no cellulite, but my belly is the human form for a kangaroo pouch. No amount crunches, swim laps, hula hooping etc. will help. My belly has also given birth to 2 daughters and expanded for 2 other deceased daughters to 7 & 8 months. One c-section, 1 birth I gained about 75 pounds. Oh and lets not forget the appendectomy. Plastic surgery makes me scared, but maybe one day.... For now, I appreciate & love my lose belly. It reminds me that I've lived life.

MaryBob Straub05.28.2012

I’m not an expert on aging, except that it’s happening to me just like it is everyone else. We don’t like to admit it in our culture. It’s not cool at all. From the American point of view it is nothing but frustrating, enraging, saddening, and at times only slightly humorous. Why is that? Why are we so angry at our bodies for doing what bodies do? ALL bodies. Tree bodies. Bug bodies. Flower bodies. All of them sprout, grow, sustain themselves for a while, then begin to withdraw. Isn’t that the process we call life?
It is, only our culture looks at that process with squinty eyes and says, “Oh god. She looks so much older than she did last year!” At which point we sprint to the mirror to take mental note on how we ourselves are doing in comparison. “Whew!” My neck is still intact. A little trip to the dentist for some whitener, and I’ll be good as new.”
My neck might be ok. It’s the skin covering that crook on the inside of my elbow that has got my attention. I distinctly remember rolling over in bed one morning only to catch that same crook out of the corner of my eye. WHAT IS THAT?! Wrinkly skin on my arm! Are you kidding me??!! Only REALLY old women have wrinkly skin on the INSIDE of their arms! Holy %^#@! This is NOT funny.
Yet the small things seem to have the biggest impact as I age. The laughing with friends. The unexpected hug. The conversations about nothing really. Those moments hold life in them. If I could lace them together onto a great string, they would all make up my life. And it feels like they would each twinkle a different hue. The gaps in the beading would represent the difficult times. No need to put anything there to help me remember. Those were simply times where the twinkling stopped for moment, only to pick up again later. What a great string of joy this life can be, if we let it. If we choose to look at what we want, and not at what we don’t want.
I’ve been asking myself why I feel compelled to write this stuff down. Not sure, but I’ve come up with two reasons that make sense to me:
1.I’m scared to death of the process of aging as we view it. I want to be healthy until my last minute. I want to have enough resources so that I don’t have to call upon my family to help me. I want to be that old woman that everybody gets such a kick out of because she’s so positive. They just want to hang with her. And the choices are: Grow old gracefully, like a gentlewoman should. Or fight it tooth and nail. Buy all the creams, running shoes, and red corvettes you can get your hands on and get the hell out of Dodge! I try hard to have a peaceful energy about me, and the word “fight” just doesn’t fit, but, dang, maybe it does in this case. Or maybe it’s not fight against something, but instead turn TOWARD that which I want…health, wealth, joy and peace until I draw my last breath.
2.The other reason is I feel that we have it all wrong in our culture. Aging is not valued. It’s disparaged. Youthful beauty and ambition are the idols. Wisdom is “quaint.” I’d like to start something that pointed us in a different direction…for everyone. I remember hearing this somewhere,"Be a part of the change you seek.” Well, that’s what I’m attempting to do here.

Sam Gordon05.24.2012

True beauty is never just one thing and it is sad that society tends to focus on image rather than substance. I agree there is a desire to look our best and feel our best and I think we should celebrate that, nothing wrong with looking good and feeling good. I have been around women who are only obsessed with how they look and sorry to say, they are usually boring. Give me the woman who isn't afraid to go out with her hair messy, no make-up and blue jeans. She has the confidence to be who she is, take it or leave it and I think that is beauty you just can't buy.

michelle54 05.23.2012

i went thru a mournful period when my youngest moved out. Happy for her, but sad for me! I felt like my life was almost over (I was 52) so one of the things i decided to do was let my hair go gray. It took almost a year and it was beautiful, soft and wavy. Then i saw a picture of myself at a wedding. Hmph. I decided then and there there was still life in me and I have been going to the salon ever since! The face and neck may have signs of aging, but by golly, from a distance, I look young thanks to my dark haircolor with highlights! haha!

Barbara Ann 05.19.2012

Many people say the same thing :It's how you feel, not how you look". Ha! Yes,to a large degree aging is about how you feel, physically, mentally, emotionally (all which have developed wonderfully by the way). But who isn't concerned about how they look? As written, especially in the workplace, there is a definate need to give the impression of youth, whether male or female. Will this ever change? Maybe, but not in my lifetime. I love being 62 going on 63! People say I do not look my age, that my skin is so soft and maybe that's why it doesn't bother me so much. But still, those little lines that all of a sudden pop up leaving their mark on your youth can sometimes get you down. I don't think it's because you don't want to look old, I think under all that outward atitude, it's the realization that your time is limited, that you may not have acomplished all that you thought you would, and in this day of strained economics, the fear that you may not be able to enjoy what you thought you would at retirement. Magazines such as More, that discuss aging in any terms and relay stories of others and their accomplishments, offerring discussion forums, are great inthat they give us all a feeling of comradarie, bringing us all closer. What better way to face the world than thousands strong!

05.14.2012

On aging
To engage or not to engage on age concerns? That is the question. But, in today’s world, I do not care how educated, smart and empowered one is as a woman, and even if one has come to terms with aging; Yes Sire Bob we are concern with our aging growing pains and…pleasures. It does not hurt, in my opinion, to better our cocoons, if you will. This generation and pretty much the rest of the inhabitants of the world are interested in growing old gracefully and beautifully, whatever their definition of “beautiful” might be. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in the perception of the bearer. My Daughter at the tender age of 14 is already interested in age and how to better take care of her skin in general and although she knows beauty is skin deep she also feels a responsibility to be good to herself so it will show on the outside. To look good and feel good is no longer a conceited ability; it is a due to oneself. A duty. So, it is my most respectful and kind opinion that although your magazine is dedicated and caters to empowered women and women that are not caught up in the How I look Darling? It is still powerful to recognize that along with our new influential respected found place in society, we are also the beautiful human beings God created preoccupied with our outer selves…to some degree. But, it all goes along hand in hand, does it not? One eats well, exercises and looks good… One feels good…One will have better and higher thoughts of self… One will be good to oneself… One will glow in internal and external beauty… First-class vicious circle!
Consequently, why not? Here is the five million dollar answer: Is okay, indulge in taking care of your skin wrap or whichever rituals make you feel young and glowy. It is all in the name of mental health and self image!
No, I have not reached total acceptance Nirvana Miss Seymour! But, I am part of the contradiction: Proud of my age and wisdom- Seeking to look better through not too invasive procedures!
Miss Seymour, your opening letter in More-May 2012, inspired me!
Lorna Forrest

Debbie 05.06.2012

i don't think there's anything wrong with trying to look your best while aging gracefully. i stopped coloring my hair over a year ago and i stopped being carded immediately too. my face is in good shape and i keep up on a maintenance regime to make it stay so. learning to dress appropriately for a 50 something only makes me look more youthful instead of dowdy. i don't see a contradiction to complain about!

Karen Wilson05.03.2012

Lesley,
Thanks for More. I remember the first issue I picked up - I was so happy that there a magazine aimed at over 40s. My issue is not with ads for products and services helping women to look their best. (I love those and pore over them). We all want to look our best and are striving to do so. I'm 50 and I started reading More in my 40s. The years slip by fast. My face is changing but inside my brain is still 35 - back when I didn't have a wrinkle and thought I'd look that way forever. I admit, I panic a bit when I think of aging more and more. I'm sad to think that when I'm 70 (and still with the 35 year old brain) there won't be beauty tips available for me - yet I might live another productive, joyful, beautiful 30 years or more after that.
Women are beautiful at all ages and we are also smart. Our intellect is not fooled by the 20 year olds modeling wrinkle cream or the 40 something models on your cover, who magically look 25. (You say you have wrinkles around your eyes, but I can't see them in your picture). But our hearts are somehow taken in. So we look at those pictures and think, oh, I'm 45 or 50 so that's what I look like. Then we walk by the mirror and get a shock - a secret, sick shock to the heart that whispers - you're NOT the way you are supposed to look at 50 - you're old, your ugly, you've got cellulite on your legs and no one else in the world has that except you. You say "We're happy with the emotional benefits of our life stage, but less happy with look our chronological age". Why is that? Largely because of the media and the untruthful way it portrays aging. On the rare occasion a magazine does show a real picture of a woman over 45 -like maybe what she looks like after a day of working at home with no makeup on - I feel an instant comfort. Wow, I'm ok - I actually look ok - when I compare myself to other 50 year olds without makeup and lighting. Maybe, I'm still ...pretty?? I know your job is to sell magazines. And I think More is working for those in their 40s. But as your readership ages you may be losing us. We're either too smart to believe you or too tired of feeling like we don't measure up in this race to old age that we all are on yet the media pretends doesn't exit.
More is practicing a balancing act. And I do applaud you for the pictures of the older "real" women I see in the magazine. It's the models in the ads that are killing me. I have to say, as I age, More has less appeal - not because of the stories, but because the tendency in the ads and in some of the pictures is to the glossy, beautiful. I can get that in other magazines. With More, I want MORE. More I can visually identify with, more truth about women as they age. The articles are good, but some of the pictures are causing me distress and distain. Maybe you should keep More for the 40-50 year olds and start another magazine for the over-50s and call it REAL. If you do that, give me a call :) It's hard to please everyone. More is a step in the right direction.Thanks for the opportunity to speak -

04.30.2012

Beware, contradictions ahead!
After deciding to make a political statement 14 months ago against the pressures on women to be not only beautiful but indefinitely youthful, I watched the last of my willpower swirl down the drain along with the residue of Natural Instincts #14 Tweed.
I’m comfortable with my looks and people are usually surprised that I’m 55, but for me, I realized it’s about more than just looks.
While I believe with all my heart that we should not be pressured to maintain the illusion of youth, I have to say that after a weekend with my grandson, whom I adore, and anticipating my impending retirement, for which I’m absolutely ready, the white patch glistening in the sunlight from my rearview mirror served more as a beacon reinforcing, “death is near, death is near” than the proud expression of an experienced woman. So I caved.
I WANT to stand with my fellow women (Really? Is an oxymoron the only way to express this?) of a certain age in denying society’s pressure. But I don’t want to see in black and white everyday how ever closer the end of this precious life is coming. I want to think if that as rarely as possible.
As my freshly dyed hair was drying, I opened More and read Lesley Jane Seymour’s editorial on the contradictions in the magazine: older women on the cover, but articles on how to look younger. It hit me right up side my wet head. Life is full of contradictions and we can’t escape living with them every day. And for a few more years, or maybe forever, I’ll let my mirror help me play the denial game and continue sending contradictory messages to myself and the world. Damn the media, damn the advertisers, I’m 55 and yes, I dye my hair. If it helps me believe that I have more time than I do, I’m ok with that.

Helen Pye04.29.2012

Hi Lesley,
I subscribed to MORE, 3 months ago, after seeing your magazine for the first time at my OB/GYN office. Glancing through I thought this is the magazine for me. MORE targets all ages but has a way of making women over 40 feel special, like "my life has just begun".
At the age of 72, I have achieved total acceptance nirvana. Feeling wholesome, state of ideal harmony, a enlightenment that brings inner peace. I have touched many lifes as a Administration Professional for 40 years, a second career, School Director/Instructor at a local model/talent agency. Being a Role Model by working hard, being loyal, and having a great attitude. My motto is Age is just a number. The contradictions of aging is an opinion of who you are talking to. I have seem models/actors get a magazine cover/commercial/part in a movie and age had nothing to do with it. It was from hard work, perseverance and talent. God gives talent to many kinds of (models/actors/singers/dancers) to make many different people happy. I open my mind, arms, and heart to new things and people. We are united in our differences, and each person I meet I ask what is your passion and I share my inspiring dream with them. Life is about the people you meet, and the things you create with them. Know who you are because if you don't someone else will tell you who you are. Everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn how to let go. Things go wrong so you can appreciate them when they are right. Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together. In life I do things, some I wish I had never done, some I wish I could replay a million times in my head. But they all make me who I am and in the end they shape every detail about me. If I were to reverse any of them I wouldn't be the person I am. I grew up walking the beach, boating and dancing on the pier. Always moisturizing my skin, exercise and a good diet are absolutely the fountains of youth at any age. I'm a big believer in supplementing with vitamins. I am in perfect shape/health and take no medications. I ran the Cooper River Bridge Run and came in the top 25 of my age group (65-75). Hair gives off an energetic younger than years vibe. I was born with Auburn color hair, when the gray started, I found a Hair Stylist that mixed colors to match my Auburn color and it is rewarding when so many people stop me to say, I love your color. Age has nothing to do with hair style, its the style that looks best on you. I have natural curly hair so with a good defrizzer product, I can fix it curly or with a good smoother I fix it straight. Your hair, teeth and nails can betray your age even when you have more youthful looking skin. I don't spend money on junk, clothes I don't need so I can afford the special things that are good for me. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Don't worry about what everyone else thinks. Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. We suffer because of how we are, get rid of what causes our suffering just "blow it out" is our true salvation. Everyone needs to love to the tips of their fingers, every single day. Appreciate every sunset, cherish every laugh. Happiness is pretty simple and change is inevitable. Fairytales do exist, you just have to believe. Serendipity often finds people when they stop looking. Let in the light, let yourself shine. Don't question everything, just have a little faith and you'll get through. The power of forgiveness will set you free-take hold of that power and you will find the inter peace you've been looking for. You have the power to take back your happiness. I faithfully run my race to be the best I can be and the prize I receive is when my 3 Granddaughters look at me and say, "Grandmamma everybody thinks you look 45 and you are aging so gracefully". Just "dance like nobody's watching" and enjoy your life. Love and laugh and live. Just live"!

Roberta Codemo04.26.2012

I am going to be 49 in a few short months, and I have achieved total acceptance nirvana. I don't have any secrets to share other than I have always faced life on my own terms. I have never embraced the media image of what a woman should be. I don't wear sunscreen, I don't use moisturizer, I don't wear makeup, I don't color my hair, I don't use any beauty/hair products, I don't wear nail polish. I am quite happy in my own skin and always have been. I embrace every wrinkle, every gray hair. They are part of who I am. Growing old does not bother me. I have earned every battle scar. I have never been obsessed with outer beauty. I have always been too busy living life -- from learing to scuba, fly a plane skydiving, exploring caves -- to worry abut what I looked like. I embraced turning 40 and was thrilled to find More. This magazine speaks to all women over 40. I don't plan on changing anything about me as I grow older, and, heaven forbid, I would never color my gray hair to find a job. Accept me for who I am or get out of my way. I'm too busy living life to worry about growing old or the next gray hair, the next wrrinkle, the next whatever.

Merlin 04.25.2012

Ms. Seymour, Thank you very much for MORE. It gives great balance for navigating these gray areas. I remember being so excited to get it when I first turned 40. (I just want to be
sure we're on the same page with the Hypocrisy Check. Mathematically, men wanting to date younger women is not the same as us wanting to date men less than ten years older.
It's true that women should keep an open mind for men older than that, but at least let's be fair to ourselves and at the same time show that we can do math. Some older women have married younger men and had fantastic marriages. That's not me, but one cougar even outlived her husband. So let's not stack everything against ourselves just yet.) Cheers!

Sonja Holzman04.24.2012

Leslie, I totally relate to what you are saying. I read with great interest your story about your procedure to reduce the appearance of sun damage. Since my second pregnancy (which was almost 13 years ago) I have battled with "melasma" on both sides of my face. Oddly, I didn't notice it for a long time. Now, I am ashamed to admit I am fixated on it. I have tried many, many creams to reduce the spots and none have proven helpful enough. On the other hand, I smile a lot, laugh as often as possible and am damn proud of my laugh lines. I have no interest in hiding those puppies.
Maureen Redmond - my breath literally caught in my throat when I read your entry. My mother, too, had primary peritoneal cancer. It is so rare, most people have never heard of it and here you are, another woman whose mother had it!! And it sounds as if they were the same age. Cannot believe it. My mother also was one of the healthiest people you could imagine, although fitness was not one of her better qualities. She was slim, fit enough, and ate like she should. She still ended up with this rare cancer.
I was lucky - my mom made it through and is still with me today. I am so very sorry for your loss, Maureen. Not enough is known about this particular form of cancer. My mother had most of the organs in her abdomen removed. She has had issues that have resulted in hospitalization since she finished chemo. I love your husband's take on this, that she was able to do what she loved as long as she did. We should all be so lucky. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. Know that there is at least one person out here who understands exactly what you experienced, who cares.

04.24.2012

I too have wondered about the seeming contradictions in MORE, but I understand it because most of us feel the same way...conflicted about aging or at least in accepting ALL of it! We want a few little lines but not a ton and we want the freedom that our age provides with maturity but also the freedom to experiment and fail.
MORE reflects us beautifully I think!

04.23.2012

In just 4 days I will celebrate my 60th birthday. The months and weeks leading up to it has been a period of reflection as to how I have lived my life. Turning 60 is certainly a mixed bag of emotions but I am thankful to have made it this far. Though I don't look 60 I see the physical changes and they have been a bit unsettling. I am not obsessed with looking younger, just in looking my personal best for 60 years of age. I keep thinking back to a comment I read in an article in More several months back. The author wrote that her mom once stated that she wished she realized how young she still was at 60. So as I march forward into my 60s I will keep that comment in mind and always try to be my personal best, mentally, spiritually and physically.

Michele 04.23.2012

Hi Leslie,
I think the first thing that comes to mind for me is the excessive photo shopping in magazines. Why is Kate Winslet almost unrecognizable in her ads for Lancome? Andi MacDowell or even your Chelsea Handler cover is just over done. I certainly feel that not only are women expected to be wrinkle free but they also must look like they are forever 25. There is nothing wrong with looking and feeling young but why is it taken to extremes? Obviously women are not allowed to age in advertising/magazines and must hold to impossible standards of perfection which of course is just an illusion. I recently cancelled my subscription to a fitness magazine because the celebrities bodies were so photo shopped their bodies looked ridiculous. Of course the magazine publicly stated they did not do this but it was so obvious as to make these women look distorted. I really feel for the women and young girls who actually believe this is how they are expected to look for their whole lives instead of realizing that love, success and happiness have nothing to do with perfection.


I think your editorial goes to the heart of why your magazine interests me. Much is made of "50 is the new 30." Last fall, my son's girlfriend was moving into her first post-college apartment and they were brimming with stories of the tiny elevator and 6 flights of stairs. So the first weekend they were here, I watched "Barefoot In the Park" with them. Mildred Natwick played Jane Fonda's character's mother in the 1967 romantic comedy. I was aghast when it was revealed the dowdy character was supposed to be 52-my age! Natwick herself was 62 at the time, and my mother, who died of primary peritoneal cancer at 73, NEVER looked so old! Just a month after her doctor told her she was the fittest 71 year old he'd ever seen, my mother was diagnosed, and in the hospital after surgery that nearly killed her, she struggled to put on make up! At first I was frustrated at this frivolity in the face of losing her, but I realized she was attempting to control her own appearance and how others saw her. Recently, my son's best friend's mother died of ovarian cancer. At 53, she was far too young to die, and spent some of the last 4 years of her life bald. At her memorial service, the most beautiful photo of her was taken when she was younger than I ever knew her. Her hair was long, but it was the magnificent smile on her face that radiated beauty. A neighbor friend has let her hair go gray and driving by before I recognize her, I've wondered, "who is that old woman walking her dogs?" Yikes! I color my hair, work out daily, use moisturizer, try to control what I put into my body and most importantly, live every day to the fullest. When my mother was dying, I cried to my husband, "What is it worth that she has done so much to be in such great shape?" His reply, "Doing so enabled her to do the things she loved as long as possible: hike, kayak, teach yoga, attend her grandchildren's events, travel, make new friends, laugh. She moved near me 7 years before her death, and the service was packed with the new friends she made in that short time. From the time I was a teenager, she told me to "Suck in my stomach and use moisturizer." We don't want to look or feel old, but we want to live, really live, to be very, very old!

04.22.2012

Hey Leslie,
I'm just sitting in my screen room, listening to the rain slap the roof, reading my May issue. I always read "letter from the editor" first. I will be 61 this year. I never thought about age or aging. I was too busy working, raising my daughters, cooking and cleaning. I worked in an environment where business suits, (skirts & jackets, not pants) were what you wore to work. I retired in 2004 but I guess around the mid 90's I began to notice the atmosphere changing, pants and low cut blouses were in. And they were being worn by "girls" who were much younger than me. That was the first time I can ever remember feeling old. Don't get me wrong, I held my own but there was no way I was going to be comfortable wearing V-necks to work. It was time to go. We packed everything up and moved out of state. I became a substitute teacher (no teaching degree required here). Now I felt young again. Children have a way of making you feel good about yourself. I joined a gym, met wonderful people my own age and am having the time of my life. I don't sub any more, but I do volunteer often at a nursing home in our area. I walk the beaches, kayak, bike, do lunch for fun and visit every park, acquarium and museum I can. I don't want to change any of the lines and wrinkles I've acquired over the years. I've earned every one of them. And ladies, no matter how hard we try, gravity is still in effect. Enjoy who you are everyday. I am truly living my first childhood at the age of 61 and it is wonderful. Nirvana? I don't know. I do know that I've never felt better and plan on going to the gym into my 80's!

04.21.2012

I am a 46 year old professional woman who has no intention to celebrate her grays or wrinkles within the next decade. Please keep the beauty advice and tips coming!


Dear Lesley:
Your letter from the editor provided me with the opportune moment to mention how much I miss that "40" on the cover. I first subscribed to More after seeing it for the first time in a doctor's office, and what drew me to it most was the front page specifying it was for women 40 and over. Not only that, but the cover celebrity's age was right on the cover as well! For someone in her early 40's and going through a bit of mid-life crisis, this magazine made me feel like I could "make it" through the rest of my life without necessarily becoming invisible. Imagine my joy at finding a magazine exclusively for us older women that truly celebrated and confronted all aspects of life as we age - and that magazine was NOT AARP!
Oh, and by the way, my mom has a subscription and she is in her 70's, so what's the best hairstyle and makeup for HER? Please don't stop at the 60's....ouch!

04.17.2012

Hi Leslie,
Your article triggered a visceral response in me.
I will be 53 this year. I am well aware of the pressure put on aging females in this culture. I, too, succumb to it's enticing proclamations and promises.
Yet, in the midst of it I find myself asking the question "Why"? WHY am I so enamored with youth and beauty? Why do I spend hours and money and fear and dread thinking about the next five years and Oh, God, I'm getting old and looking it! The answer needs to be more soul-oriented.
Friends my age are facing severe health issues. What does one think to oneself as they are seated in the infusion room, waiting for that first clump of hair to fall out after enduring grueling chemo treatments for cancer? Is it, "oh, God, I'm going to be ugly" or "What if I die, what will my life have meant?"
I submit it must be both!
I KNOW the questions I SHOULD be asking. What legacy of worth and value am I developing in my children and grandchildren? Do I seek to touch another's life with love and care and empathy? Or am I so vain that nothing touches me save my shopping sprees for the newest products promising youth and beauty? Do I REALLY want to go there? Why?
These are the "in my face" daily reactions to a culture so OBSESSED with the outward appearance that the heart and soul of what REALLY matters seems to be slowly disappearing, seduced by the plastic culture of vanity.
How do I strike a balance in my life that I can accomodate a healthy approach to both? I can, but it takes great effort and I am not promised a total care-free beauty outlook.
My conclusion is that I must allow myself to explore the new tide of aging. The one that works for me. To value the precious moments of life given to me. Choosing to nurture the beauty of my inner self first, knowing that what I do on the outside will only matter if my heart is beautiful.
Matter? Maybe not, but it won't touch my heart when I am breathing my last breath. I don't want to hear, "oh, she looked so young and beautiful all her life".
Do you?

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