THE BLOG

Affirmative Aging

06/01/2010 01:45 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

As we age, we naturally change. Change, after all, is the essential stuff of life. If we embrace it with magnanimous grace and good humor, as part and parcel of the ongoing mythic adventure of our path, we stand to gain great satisfaction in the process.

Recognizing and accepting the inevitability of aging does not mean giving up on any attempts at improving our outward appearance, physical health, mental outlook, emotional balance and general well-being. More than ever before, women of a certain age are taking better care of themselves, conscious of a newly mature imperative to lovingly nurture and protect every aspect of our beings.

We accept the responsibility for our own sustenance and satisfaction -- physically as well as mentally, emotionally and spiritually. My sister mid-lifers, many of us for the first time ever, are pursuing programs of nutrition and fitness. We are eating better, sleeping and exercising more, learning how to release our stress, pursuing spiritual connection and allowing ourselves to fully express our creative natures.

We are working hard to stay healthy and active, and are, at the same time, more realistic in our ideals, more accepting of our own perceived imperfections and more forgiving of our weaknesses. While some of us do go to the starvation-botox-surgical-extremes of trying to stay forever young, in general, we follow fewer fad diets and adopt more sensible, sustainable and ultimately successful lifestyle changes.

We gradually heal ourselves of old destructive patterns, stinking thinking and nasty habits. And then, voila! The rewarding result of feeling well -- inside and out -- is looking well. We wise women of a certain age know that there is a difference between looking young and looking attractive -- between, for that matter, looking attractive and being attractive.

It gets easier as you get older. You accept yourself
for who you are -- your flaws and your attributes.
It's easier to live in your own skin.

-Barbra Streisand

More and more of us are refusing to condescend or conform to the adolescent and exploitative standard of beauty promulgated by popular culture. We do not compare ourselves with teenage models or emaciated-lifted-stitched-tucked-injected-Hollywood-uber-beauties. It is only a disaster to lose our girlish charms if we deem them to be the exclusive path to beauty, love and fulfillment.

Our allure and sex appeal change with time -- increase, even -- if we allow them to. A woman is never too old to look and feel beautiful. Each age, each stage of our lives, has its particular fabulous charm. As truly mature, secure women, we strive to accept the inevitable physical changes that come with the passing of time and incorporate them into the way we present ourselves to the world.

Self-aware, self-assured, we are transforming ourselves as we go. We glow as we grow into our full potential, and become ever more becoming. Our reinvigorated attractiveness stems from self-knowledge and enfranchisement. Our magnetic sensuality is centered in the fulfillment and satisfaction of our self-worth. We exude the intoxicating appeal of women who are, at heart, pleased with our selves.

The process of maturing is an art to be learned, an effort to be sustained. By the age of 50 you have made yourself what you are, and if it is good, it is better than your youth.
-Marya Mannes