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Aging Out Loud

Melissa+Etheridge+wxTr1btZX8umI look at other blogs on aging and read the comments made by women to gage how they are feeling about growing older. I like the blog Growing Bolder.  A quote by singer Melissa Ethridge caught my eye: “I would not trade in my 50’s for any other time I’ve lived. If you’re facing 50, don’t be afraid. It gets so much better and you get so much more stronger.”

The remarks that followed were varied…here are some samples:

“Loved turning 30, 40 but turning 50 has me on edge.”

“Best age so far.”

“Oh lordy, I’m pushing 60. I’m scared, real scared.

“Not enjoying mine at all.”

I’m curious to know what others think about their age. Yes, it’s scary because we are getting closer to death, but a lot of our negative feelings may be coming from what society says and feels about aging. And the point is not to be silent on the issue. The real power comes from women sharing our challenges, fears, joys and dread.   This is the time to speak up because we have more wisdom to spread. We have made mistakes and grown, learned what’s important and what’s not, retired our need to get everyone’s approval and our constant need to feel “important.”

Come on baby boomers we haven’t gone through all this only to become invisible. If a woman is alone watching yet another wrinkle cream commercial she will inevitably feel bad about her skin, looks and maybe even grow depressed. She might turn to Botox, fillers, surgery spending hundreds and thousands of dollars to keep up a youthful appearance. I’m not saying that is wrong or bad; it just sends a message to the younger generation that looking your age is not acceptable.

I admit I was one of those who feared 40 and was terrified at 50. I noticed that many women didn’t want to talk about the aging process — one of the reasons why I started this blog. But we don’t have to be rock stars, actors or models to make a statement about age. We can talk to one another in neighborhoods, communities and blogs that challenge the status quo.

Melissa Ethridge

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Youth is Overrated

This New Wrinkle project has been a journey for me. Like a news reporter, I started with a clear angle of how I wanted it to go, specifically focusing on the fear of aging. But after talking to a friend of mine, Barbara, who is about to turn 60, I started to get a new perspective. She told me that she’s actually happier at this age than any other. Ok, you hear that stuff from time to time, but listening to her pour out her thoughts and feelings, I knew it was truly how she felt.

Youth is overrated,” she said. “You take so much for granted and spend so much time and energy on meaningless things.” I took an inventory of my life and realized all the endless time I spent obsessing over what someone said or what I was going to wear, or if he liked me.

At a certain age men and women take a look at their own mortality. While this can be intensely painful and scary, it’s also a chance to get serious about what really matters.

“Now I want to do things that make a difference in the world, to truly love people for who they are, enjoy the things that make me happy,” Barbara said, “like birding and photography.” She went on to say, “Fear of getting older was weighing me down until I realized that I had the power to release it.”

At the same time I was writing this blog I took a quick break to browse Facebook (admit I am a bit addicted) and the first thing that popped up where these words from author Brene’ Brown:

“I think midlife is when the universe places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close and whispers in your ear:

I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanism that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.”

These two wise women inspired me to spread their views on the joy of aging instead of the fear of aging.

Newwrinklethemovie.com is really about my coming to terms with growing older. It gives me an opportunity to help create a dialogue that is sorely missing in our youth obsessed culture. I hope you will contribute and talk to other women and men about your feelings as we all take this journey together.

 

Women’s Worth

Did you know that 62 percent of the female population in the United States is over 40?  Though this powerful group of women have accomplished so much, many are experiencing extreme fear over the aging process and going from mild to drastic measures to ensure they will still be relevant to society.   The message from the cosmetic and plastic surgery industries is if you don’t look youthful, you are no longer of value.

And numbers show their massive marketing campaigns are working. A report put out by Realself.com showed that one in five middle-aged women are considering plastic surgery. These women represent an estimated market worth more than $75 billion. There is every incentive to make women feel fearful and unhappy about growing older. Whatever you do, don’t show any signs that you’ve lived a life of happiness and earned those laugh lines, or times of sorrow where those frown lines are well deserved.

I talked with Susannah Woerner a RN who gives Botox injections and has a booming business.

So I’ll leave you with this question: Instead of giving away $75 billion to plastic surgeons and corporate mega-executives so they can buy their second homes, what if we take that money and spend it on improving the world? Now that’s something to feel good about.

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