Aging Gracefully: Like Fine Wine
By Anna De Leon
Men, they say are like fine wine. They get better with age. I just don’t know why this phrase is hardly used to describe a woman who has chosen to embrace and love aging gracefully. When I turned 30, I said that I could not wait until I hit 40 and now that I am two years shy from my Dream Age, I honestly could not wait. While there are some women who choose not to answer the dreaded question, and no, it isn’t “why aren’t you married yet?” and “why are you still single?” rather “How old are you?” I proudly say 38 and why shouldn’t I be proud? Heck, I survived 80’s fashion and Aqua Net crazy days! Not to mention acid wash jeans and Kaypee High cuts!
With a slew of celebrities that we can all look up to like Jlo, Kate Beckinsale and the quintessential “like fine wine” model, Demi Moore, I find it rather perplexing as to why more and more women are ashamed, or to say the least, choose not to proclaim their age.
Before you finish reading this article, I want you to pause and grab a mirror and look at yourself. Look at those lines around your eyes. They are there because of late nights studying that got you that degree that got you that job, which enables you to live the way that you do. Those lines are there because of too much laughter that one evening when you and your girlfriends witnessed something too funny and PG to write about. These lines that science is constantly telling you to fear are your badges of honor. So, wear it with pride. This means that you led a life rich enough that it made you laugh, you developed those lines. However, this doesn’t mean that you have to neglect proper skin care.
Now, do you feel better after that exercise? You should because I certainly do.
Aging Gracefully: Like Fine Wine
One of the things that I learned and learned the hard way en route to being 38 was self acceptance. It took me years to accept that I will never be 5 feet 9 inches, therefore, never having a shot at being an Elite Supermodel contestant. I don’t know about you but I was a sucker when I was younger, which leads me to another important point – with aging comes wisdom from past experiences. In my quest to become taller, I saved up money and bought those growth balls. Yes, I was that gullible and downright desperate. Not only did I fall for that, but, do you guys remember that “do you want to be taller” book advertised in Panorama? Yup, I bought those too. Stacking up newspapers, removing them one by one while trying to reach for the ceiling. Lo and behold, I am still me… all of 152 cm. There are other things that I didn’t like about myself, but as time went by, just grew to love. My legs, though not meant to last for days are strong and can kick a practice pad during muay thai practice. I didn’t force the issue of being light skinned but embraced my caramel colored skin. Instead of focusing on what I lacked, I focused on what I had, developed it and now love it.
Self-confidence, Not Narcissism
With the gift of acceptance comes the elusive but so sought after self-confidence. Self-confidence is not narcissism. Don’t confuse the two. Where cockiness is being loud, self-confidence is being silent. While it has something to do with your appearance much of it has a lot to do with what you know you bring to the table. It’s knowing that you are smart enough to be given the position and remuneration that you deserve. It is knowing that your thoughts are relevant to be heard and be considered. It is in knowing that you have assets that deserve to be highlighted.
Believe me when I say that there is nothing more captivating than a woman who walks in a place and totally owns it. She may not be the most beautiful woman but she walks in the room like she has her invisible crown on, with every confident stride she makes and the genuine smile she flashes, she captivates and leaves everyone in awe. This only comes with being truly comfortable in your own skin, a luxury that most young women do not have that us older women get to enjoy.
Experience, The Great Teacher
After 38 terrific years, I have learned that growth balls do not work that there is no lift to success, that being hurt is part of growing up and choosing to smile amidst trials is a must if you want to maintain your youthful looks. There is a saying that, to be old and wise, we have to be young and stupid. I can vouch for that and boy, am I happy to have committed those mistakes. Not only do experiences make our lives richer and makes for epic stories to tell our kids, but they, more importantly, provide a point of reference for us. At 38, I am still subjected to situations that I already experienced when I was younger, but now that I have the wisdom of past experience, I am able to make sound decisions that yield beneficial results. Having these experiences to back up your decision making not only saves you from trouble, but also sudden flashbacks of those happy, sad, painful, utterly embarrassing moments in your life. The latter will make you pause at random moments, and sometimes smile to yourself or laugh out loud, realizing that you have led such an amazing life. After all, isn’t that what life is all about?
Richer and Wiser
When I was a lot younger I dreamt of travelling all over the world but since I was fresh out of school those places remained dream destinations. Fast forward to 2015 and all of those places that I have dreamt of visiting when I was younger have all been ticked off my list. When you age your skill level upgrades, so does your earning capacity. Being older gives us the financial freedom to enjoy our life and I don’t mean just by purchasing the new IT bag or the latest gadget. It is about using our resources wisely by investing in experiences and memories because these can never be taken away from us. They will be ours forever. That image of those gigantic pumpkins in New York in autumn, that image is yours. The smell of that freshly brewed espresso in Roma is your scent to savor. As we get older and wiser we come to this paramount realization that amassing material possessions doesn’t come close to the bliss of collecting memories. We become less materialistic. Instead we look around us, the people who surround us, and we pause in awe and gratitude, which, in turn attracts more blessings.
Armed with our experiences, I cannot help but say that with time and age, everything about us is stronger – from our hearts, to our stomachs, to our will, our stand. They said that our heart is the most resilient part of our body because it gets beaten up badly, literally, by the unhealthy food that we sometimes consume and figuratively by the wounds sustained from the battle called life. Yet it still beats, pumps and supplies blood so we may live. If that is the case, then, older women are all heart. We are stronger, more resilient than ever because we are all heart – a Harry Winston diamond, tried and tested by time yet it sparkles like no other.
Having said all this, I cannot help but not fall in love with being 38, and eagerly look forward to 40 and 50 and beyond. Coco Chanel could not have articulated my favorite quote about aging any better when she said, “You can be gorgeous at 30, charming at 40 and irresistible for the rest of your life.”