Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Aging sucks. Not the part where I get progressively comfortable with who I really am and stop caring about those who don’t like it. That part is fantastic. It’s the looking in the mirror part of aging that I don’t love so much. I’m 41, and let me just say that I totally appreciate how my sweet husband tells me on a regular basis that I am beautiful, especially, he notes, when compared to the average lady in my peer group. Or the time a friend of mine told me that I look fabulous and am in great shape, and that anyone who saw me from behind would think I was in my twenties. Um, thanks? I couldn’t get over feeling like I’d just been told that I was a tall midget.

I came across this website yesterday called formerlyhot.com, and I had to laugh. (Mind you, I was never “hot”, but I had my fair share of attention in my younger days.) Clearly, I’m not the only one struggling with the fading flower that was my youth. A lot of women like me have reached this place referred to by Formerly Hot’s blogger, Stephanie Dolgoff, as the “adult tween years” – that time when you are within shouting distance of your best physical years, though there’s no fooling yourself that you’re still in them, but you haven’t yet reached old age. Now that I have come to terms with the fact that I fall squarely into this category, clothes shopping has become an annoying foray into a fashion no man’s land. I end up walking the razor-thin line between buying stuff that is age appropriate and cute but not matronly, versus succumbing to the siren’s song of some (usually young, hot) salesperson in one of the fun stores convincing me that I look great in styles geared toward enhanced, super-skinny young ladies. Few things are as painful as seeing an “adult tween” woman prancing around in an outfit that would be appropriate for her if she were 10 years younger.

It’s not that I’m uptight, it’s just that I’ve decided to shoot for aging gracefully. Aside from not buying age-inappropriate clothing, this includes resisting surgical interventions. Plastic surgery is a foot jammed in the doorway of youth, and on the other side of the door is something BIG and determined to close it. Even with the best work, no one is fooled, and unfortunately, the best work seems to be the exception rather than the rule. What I hate most about the proliferation of all this plastic surgery is the implicit message that women aren’t allowed to age, or our value diminishes when we do. So, yeah, I’m trying to get used to my crow’s feet (I prefer to call them laugh lines), my small, somewhat-saggy breasts (common to women who’ve birthed children), and my fairly fit body, which could always be better but is a decent representation of a 40-something who works out regularly. Some days I feel pretty Zen about aging, and some days it’s more like a slog up a 15% incline in the freezing rain with only the promise of a thin blanket to warm me when I reach the top.

As my favorite podcast host, Dan Savage of the Savage Lovecast, says (I’m paraphrasing here), “enjoy being objectified while you can because there will come a day when you no longer will be, and you’ll miss it.” I’m not going to lie, I miss it.

About Chris DeVinney

Me in a nutshell: mom, writer, former lobbyist, wife, volunteer, lover of music and art, massive fan of traveling, and something of a smart ass. A typical INTJ, I quietly observe anyone and anything that comes into my orbit, squirreling away material for future essays. These days I spend my time writing about whatever interests me (both professionally and personally) and trying to strike the balance between taking care of kids/family/house/pets and me. Occasionally I nail it, hang on to it briefly, and then scramble back toward the center when the tipping starts again. I know, it’s a common story.
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6 Responses to Mirror, mirror on the wall…

  1. Jeannified says:

    >Awww…well I see plenty of people who still "objectify" you! You were and are still hot, too! You have some "sick" legs and lots of other beautiful features! I know exactly what you mean though. (I might have to check out the blog you are refering to). It's not preferable, but I have learned to embrace my "momness," and my mom clothes! I just laugh at them. That's fun in and of itself. I enjoy all of the middle-aged mom things, but I DO know what you are talking about and have experienced those feelings myself. Ain't no goin' back though, unless you want to be like Madonna and get cheek implants. As Sofia Vegara said recently in an interview, "Madonna with those cheek implants, she looks like a freak…who does she think she's fooling?!" Too funny and so true!

  2. >You are hanging out with the wrong people! Come out to LA and I will show you plenty of men who will oggle you woman! I have this one guy at my local grocery store who flirts with me every time I go in there and I am older than you shugar. It's all in your head… you are as sexy as you think you are.There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age. ~Sophia Loren

  3. Serenity says:

    >I hate having to admit it when my biggest problem resides between my ears. AJ, I've got to come for a visit, just so I can spend a little time being oggled! Ah, Sophia, so true. I'm glad to be stretching the writing legs again. Spending time in the world of creativity really satisifes.

  4. cydishman says:

    >We all love compliments on our looks and I imagine you get your share of those and wolf whistles to boot. AJ has a good point and you have that good looking husband who thinks you are hot. Treasure that!!! Years ago I read the following in a book and wrote it down. I periodically reread it to remind myself of the truth in aging. "Her grace and style gave an impression of glamour and beauty that went beyond mere physical appearance. She was at ease with herself and thought herself attractive, so others did too"! cyd

  5. shannon katz says:

    >I feel you lady! You should consider yourself lucky to realize the intellectual benefits that aging offers. So how do you feel about plastic surgery when it isn't about aging?

  6. >Finally catching up on emails and blogging, sheesh! you have been busy! Yes, you really should come for a visit. Are you guys still considering moving to Cali? After reading some of these posts I have a feeling Atlanta might be a little narrow-minded and conservative for you.Come on out here!!! Remember YOU are who you think YOU are. You attract who you are. If you think you are not attractive, then you will not be. It's all vibrations baby!

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