This is a great column, with excerpts here taken from the Valley section of the weekly Jackson Hole News&Guide. Be sure to check out the link for womens’ advice to their younger selves. – Ed.
Wrinkles. Waistlines. Rippled thighs.
It feels strange to look in the mirror at my 53-year-old body and no longer see my younger self. I’ll be honest, aging isn’t easy when 20-somethings Botox “wrinkles” and Instagram influencers filter and perfect their images and instruct midlife women to “just skip the carbs” to flatten our rounded bellies. (No thanks).
And while I’m certainly not immune to our fix it, fight it, “anti-aging” culture, deep in my heart I simply want to be me and accept and allow my body to age naturally.
I wondered how other women are thinking and feeling about aging and their bodies. So, I reached out and asked. Here’s what those women, aged 45-87, had to say:
Our 40s: My thoughts and feelings about my body have been a big obstacle to my happiness and well-being for most of my life. It’s amplified now that I’m seeing the first real signs of aging. There’s resistance to that process and some fear. It feels strange to see extra fat on my abdomen. I still want to be thin and toned. It is very much a mental game that I struggle with.
Our 50s: It seems like everything went downhill when I turned 50. Menopause is awful — brain fog along with perpetual exhaustion, saggy skin, hot flashes. I’m always looking at serums and creams and medical services. I started Lexapro to help me sleep and find my old self. Pandemic stress hasn’t made it any easier — political division, teenagers missing prom, graduation. I have some “additional COVID me to love” that I can’t lose. I learning to embrace graying hair, wrinkles, and I’m trying to embrace my body.
Our 60s: I’m sorry I wasted so much of my life worrying about my weight. I think my body is an amazing machine. I feel like I owe it to my body to treat her well.
Our 70s: I feel better about my body and aging than I ever thought possible. I practice mindfulness meditation, and that has taken me to a deep appreciation for my body. I treat myself as a dear friend and a deep appreciation for all of life.
Our 80s: I can’t stop my body from aging but do my best by taking daily walks up and down hills. I enjoy it. I think that it is more important than ever to stay active. I feel better and sleep better. So I do not focus much on how old I am. It is just a number.
So, what wisdom can we gain from these women and their experiences with body image and aging?
Check out the rest here.