I’m looking old or at least older than usual I thought to myself the other day as I gazed into the mirror in our bathroom. This was a biggie year for me 50…and I seemed to be checking the mirror more and more looking for the next wrinkle, dark spot or slight drooping of the skin. I knew I was judging myself too harshly but I couldn’t seem to stop myself.
My boyfriend has wrinkles like me but when he smiles the creases add character to his face, a rugged charm. He has the older Sean Connery, Mel Gibson look I love. When I look in the mirror and smile I see myself as wrinkly, pale, a bit doughy looking. I have this one wrinkle at the upper corner of my right eyebrow that looks like a dent after a bad accident. I’m not seeing character but someone who isn’t aging well. This negativity overtakes me every once in awhile and I have to start my” I am pretty and age is just a number” mantra so I can make it through the day.
So I began to think about famous older women that are attractive as they are aging. What did they look like? How would I describe them? I happened upon a picture of Susan Sarandon in my Entertainment Weekly magazine. The words that came to mind weren’t pudgy and wrinkly but sexy, voluptuous. Susan Sarandon can wear an off the shoulder or strapless gown like no other. I’m sure her wrinkles around her eyes aren’t bothering her. She wears it well. Another actress who I think is beautiful and continues to age gracefully is Sophia Loren: regal, classy, piercing eyes, European sensuality. Lastly, I’ve come across Laura Dern in a few movies these past few years. She has now reached the fifty gang and actually played Reese Witherspoon’s ( who is only 9 years younger than Laura Dern) mother in the movie Wild. She looks thoughtful, insightful a life that has been lived and still living it. And there is my sweet mama who has hit the 70 plus club. Her hair has turned a beautiful white and the wrinkles around her eyes tell a story a wonderful, long, brilliant tale of loves and losses.
That’s when I began to realize that behind the wrinkles, crinkles, minor dents, and brown spots that weren’t there before. Underneath the bumps and lumps that have formed out of nowhere. Down below the aches and pains, creaks and groans lies something more than what the numbers tell us. We are surrounded by numbers. Enveloped and sometimes drowning in the numbers that are given to us. It’s not the numbers that define us but the stories. We have stories, so many stories of loves gained and lost, goals reached or shattered and families begun and ended. In the eyes of the older woman, it’s not a faded bygone look of ” What to do? “but the look of:
“Where have I come from? What have I accomplished ? And I’m still here for more.”
As women we all have stories. Behind every wrinkle, line, and crease there is a beloved story to share and I need to stop worrying about how I look but how I can tell my story. What’s Your Story?