As active baby boomers, we feel young … but how young do we have to look? Journalist Cindy La Ferle says, not nearly as young as parts of society demand! When she looks around, she sees Women of an Uncertain Age.
Lately, my fifty-something friends and I have been rehashing the time-worn topic of aging gracefully versus aging desperately.
Even in the scant-few women’s magazines geared to our demographic, “mature” fashion models appear to be surgically altered or botoxed, then dressed to look 35. The message? Aging is shameful. To be avoided at all costs. She who looks youngest wins.
There’s even a new book out to lead us on this vengeful anti-aging crusade, and the title alone — How Not to Look Old — makes me wince. It also makes me angry, because I truly believe a woman can look fabulous and “old” at the same time. I keep hoping someone will write a book that celebrates our maturity, and doesn’t imply that we’re in some frantic competition with our daughters, or our sons’ girlfriends. While I want to look as attractive as I can, I have no desire to revisit my youth. I don’t miss the insecurities or the short skirts or the go-go boots. I really do want to look my age.
With that in mind, I think it would help if we had a few more grown-up role models like Helen Mirren and Lauren Hutton — elegant, self-assured women who are comfortable in their changing skin. Women who aren’t afraid to show us how beautiful maturity can be.
Jamie Lee Curtis also comes to mind. In the May/June issue of AARP The Magazine, Curtis speaks frankly about her pending 50th birthday, touching on what’s truly important to her and reflecting on things she would or wouldn’t change in her life.
“I want to be older,” Curtis says. “I actually think there’s an incredible amount of self-knowledge that comes with getting older. I feel way better now than I did when I was twenty. I’m stronger, I’m smarter in every way, I’m so much less crazy than I was then.” Curtis is blazing new trails for baby boomer women, and I truly admire her for that. I hope we hear more from her and about her.
Meanwhile, I count myself lucky to have several women friends who are at least twenty years older than I am. They’re terrific role models too, though it’s not likely the media will ever discover them. I often ask for their advice, and hope to learn from their wisdom. And whenever possible, I tell them how much I admire their beauty and style.
Not long ago, in fact, a very stylish friend in her seventies reminded me that reaching maturity doesn’t have to be synonymous with looking foolish or frumpy. Echoing the late Coco Chanel, my friend told me that achieving a style of one’s own can take a lifetime. She added that a woman should always aim to be her best self, a true original, and never an imitation of someone else. I admire her savoir-faire — and aspire to be half as cool as she is.
Category: Boomer Lifestyle