High Maintenance Years

...if women can learn to surrender the seductiveness of youth and to value themselves by other than adolescent standards of beauty, they can explore the dignity of ‘elder beauty’ and reclaim the right to age without stigma.
— Z. Schachter-Shalomi and R. S. Miller, From Age-ing to Sage-ing, page 24, 1995

Despite my usual optimistic outlook, I’ve collided with age and it’s required upkeep.  I wish I could report that I arrived at these high maintenance years with complete grace and dignity, but that’s not true. In the last decade or so baby boomers have surreptitiously redefined aging.  If I want to I can dress like a teenager, Retina A the wrinkles, color away the gray hairs, replace my old dry nails with acrylics and liposuction the belly rolls.  But thinking about all of this makes me just plain tired!

Do you find yourself examining your skin for possible melanomas? They look like brown or black crusty growths that show up from no where as you age.  It’s a good idea to have your skin checked by a dermatologist once in a while.  But try not to obsess about every little bump.  What about that cellulite?  I don’t think any amount of maintenance can cure that!  I say just don’t look in the three way mirror in the dressing room anymore.   Remember, as you age, everyone around you is aging with you.  This should make your particular maintenance issues seem less daunting.   

Have you noticed that the heroines of your favorite movies are discreetly, yet beautifully, older women and that they just keep getting better?  Well, consider that it’s part of their jobs to maintain themselves and that they’ve got thousands of dollars of income to spend on themselves!  So go easy on yourself and try to enjoy a maintenance free day once in a while.

How do you feel about this?


Pam Blair

Pamela D. Blair, Ph.D is an author, life coach, therapist, and couples counselor. Her office is located in Shelburne, Vermont. Video Therapy sessions are available.