|Fairmont Hotel San Francisco © 2008|
|Fairmont Hotel Lobby © 2008|
How does one age gracefully as a woman? I am grappling with that issue now. I feel bad for judging the woman who felt the need to recreate herself as someone 60 years younger than she is. I am struggling with how I look relative to others my age and a bit older. I have two friends in particular that I have seen in the past week that look surprisingly like they did 30 years ago-- their hair and faces and bodies do not betray their age like mine do. I have gray hair, a dumpy middle age body and a wrinkled face. I want to look younger again and have people tell me like they did when I was in my 40s that I looked ten years younger than I was.
For a while I thought the gray hair made me look more serious and gave me gravitas. But I no longer feel that as I realize that I am still treated with minimal respect at my job-- where there are clearly the grownups--senior management-- and the rest of us, the kids. I also have been told that telling people that I am old and decrepit (as I look and feel) is not a great way to brand myself. But of course, I worry, what is the threshold for looking okay while appearing younger than you are and what the woman in the hotel unfortunately was--a caricature. In Japan, we saw 40 year old women dressed like their teenage daughters in short frilly shirts and fishnet stockings. I found that effort to look young also a caricature. So if I show up at work on Monday with blonde hair again, am I a caricature?
Like old buildings with thin walls that practically cannot be replaced, the older person can only do so much of a makeover to appear young and vital again. Our minds may be that of a much younger person (God willing) but our bodies have their limitations. I suspect I can still squeeze a few more years of looking younger out of my body before I get the response that I am scary. At least I hope so.