By Carol Traulsen
I turned fifty this year, and I guess I’m getting a little cranky. What’s stuck in my craw this time? The number of women who are being dubbed ‘40 and Fabulous, or 50 and Fabulous,’ but only after they’ve undergone some surgical procedure to plump up their face, had hair extensions put in, and are wearing three support garments layered on top of each other under their clothes. Then they’re deemed ‘hot!’ It’s as though the rest of us in our natural state aren’t worthy of the label. Why have we as a culture become so youth obsessed? And, who has sold women on the idea that they if they have the money to get enough procedures done they really can hold back the hands of time? It’s truly sad that so many have bought into it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I believe in keeping fit through daily exercise, and the use of a little hair color and cosmetics. But at some point we have to realize we are fighting a losing battle. We are going to age like the rest of the world. We limit ourselves when we allow society to define us by how we look or how ‘gracefully’ we age. As women we have to find a way to value what’s inside. It’s our brains, our experiences, and our spirits that should be applauded, not our physical attractiveness and our youth. Those attributes won’t last. It’s up to us not to feed into this madness and then pass it on to our daughters.
Don’t be afraid to look at yourself in the mirror without make-up, hair color or support garments. Just don’t spend the next three hours looking for the flaws and finding ways to fix them. Love yourself for who you are and how you look right now then: move on. Did you catch that last part? It’s important. There are not enough surgical procedures in the world to make you young again, just ask Joan Rivers.
If you died tomorrow would you want people to remember you for being ‘pretty’ or ‘hot?’ When you’re over thirty-five that’s more than a little sad: it’s tragic. I’d like to think I’d be remembered for more than how I looked. I want people to remember my creativity, my sense of humor, and my kindness. I’ve made peace with how I look, and over time it will change, but every wrinkle on my face is a testament to my ‘realness and wisdom,’ and every gray hair on my head has been earned.
Right now the gray in my hair has only grown at my part and to me, it’s not attractive- so in the meantime I color my hair, but I do it only for me. I foresee a time when it’s grown in and I will stop coloring my hair and become a silver fox like the model Carmen or even Heloise. I don’t mind the wrinkles either, though I’m often mistaken for being younger than my years. I’m a realist and most of the time it’s flattery. Here’s what I see when I look in the mirror: My hair is unruly. My face is often flushed from hot flashes, a lumpectomy for breast cancer has left me with scars and only a third of my left breast, and I’m not as slim as I used to be. But, when I want to feel good about who I am as a person I don’t look in the mirror. I look inside to see the wisdom I have gained, and then I look outward for new opportunities to share and grow. That is what makes me ‘fabulous and hot’ at any age. You should try it!