Overcoming the beauty and aging paradox

I’ve been composing my Dear John letter to More magazine in my head for the last few weeks.  I’ve subscribed to the magazine, originally targeted to women over 40, for over a decade.  But somehow I missed the memo, a few years ago, that the magazine was refocusing and “moving away from the idea that it is solely geared towards women 40 and older.”

Now that I have both feet solidly in middle age, it became apparent, as I thumbed through my stockpile of back issues during the recent long weekend, that in this magazine I thought was designed for me fully 70% of the women’s faces on the advertising pages are much younger than 40.  (Yes, I counted.)  So the beautiful smooth faces trying to sell me lifting and firming cream and hair color and other goods with names like “Youth Code” and “Slender Secret” did not reflect the, er, realities of their intended audience.

I’d also grown oh so tired of the relentless articles discussing the pros and cons of cutting edge technology for “looking better with age” – Botox injections, fillers, laser treatment, radio-frequency wave treatment, etc. I didn’t find the reminders of my inevitable physical decline and all the things I was not doing to stop it to be empowering.

But then this week, while browsing the December/January issue during my daughter’s volleyball practice, I was unexpectedly surprised to read some very excellent advice in what I thought was another predictable article on beauty and aging.  Psychologist and author Judith Sills eschews the idea of  “age appropriate”, and I can really get behind her perspective:

On the idea of mourning lost youth, her philosophy is to “look back but don’t stare.”

Sex, she claims, is “life juice” and she advises to “have as much sex as possible in any way possible.”

She considers cosmetics to be “an attitude enhancer”.

Her advice to women who are freaked out by their wrinkles is “stop thinking about yourself so much.”

“The more invested you are in life, the less worried you are about what other people think.”

So More magazine has, for the time being, redeemed itself with me.  I won’t move my Dear John letter from my head to keyboard for now, but I hope in 2013 to see a lot more such intelligent advice and less information on choosing the best plastic surgeon.

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6 Responses to Overcoming the beauty and aging paradox

  1. Cindy says:

    Women are learning the benefit of aging with grace, recognizing that lines communicate beauty and wisdom that should not be summarily erased for the sake of erasing or because the technology exists. It’s time for media to catch up…we are not all 20 years old, 5’8″‘ size 0, with perfect complexion and hair. But as women, we WANT to feel good and confident in our skin, in the most age appropriate way.

    Love that you are ready and willing to start the charge and keep this magazine in shape.

  2. It’s Tuesday so I came for a visit. I just re-read your “About” page and laughed at your dust bunnies comment. They are welcome in our home and we only make sure they are gone before grandparents arrive. Gives me more time for blogging. :-)

    • You are very sweet to come check in. I’ve been thinking very hard about “3 things” (much less 10) but the reality of this week is I’m on business travel on the other side of the country, my children are very sad I’m missing “another” holiday because of work, and I’m very uncomfortably sick. What’s the upside? I do enjoy being in the office with my colleagues as I work remotely, our SVP took a bunch of us to dinner last night and it turned out to be a lot of fun, and seeing all the snow on the ground here brings back some good memories of my childhood in Minnesota.

  3. sheriji says:

    The thing that bothers me the most is all of the focus on “anti-aging.” Maybe if we stopped acting like it was some disease for which all we needed was the vaccine or the antidote we could find joy in the evidence on our faces of a life well lived. (Although some good moisturizer never hurts.)

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