Pretty...for My Age
You look great...for your age
I am standing at a networking event chatting with a young banking professional. A new college graduate, he is full of enthusiasm. How refreshing! I compliment him on his passion for his job. He returns the favor by saying, "May I say, you look great..for your age!" Inside, my ego has just taken a hard hit. I think to myself..was I just insulted or complimented? I smiled and thanked him, though I really wanted to take him over my knee. The conversation over, I go on my way..left to wonder.. Does beauty have an expiration date and decline after the "sell by date"?
I'm okay with the scars
I have found getting older liberating. I have learned to fully accept who I am. I have dodged a few bullets in my time and I appreciate each day I am given. Although I work for a direct selling company that is focused on anti aging, I share their philosophy of "love the skin you are in" with a focus on health and confidence. I am grateful for the life lessons and okay with the scars. I earned them! My goal is to help women walk confidently in their own identity. That encompasses all of who they are..including the ups and downs. It all has value, even if not apparent initially.
Youth: Its what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Why do we become to sensitive to comments about our age? I believe its our societal worship of youth. Name one actress who has at least 2 movies coming out this year who is in her 50s. It's hard to do! Name an actress in her 20s with a movie premiere in the magazines? Easier. As a 48 year old woman, I see less of my generation represented, with the subconscious message being, "You are no longer relevant or attractive". Ironically, as we mature into our 40s and 50s, we are more financial settled and more able to spend! Everyone wanted to see themselves represented in a positive way. Why is it that advertisers are not keying into this trend?
The Essential 5
I think I can speak for all of those who are hovering around 50 and living la vida low estrogen so I offer a few simple guidelines (with only partial tongue-in-cheek) to aid the younger generation in bridging the gap:
1.When speaking to me, throw me an occasional "Miss". You have no idea how I appreciate this. It might even net you a tip.
2. Treat me like a lady-hold doors, pull out my chair, offer to help me lift my heavy suitcase on the airplane. A woman of any age appreciates chivalry.
3. I am pretty, period. DO NOT add qualifiers, "like 'for my age" or risk injury.
4. Always ask if she is my sister if I am accompanied by a younger female, even if you hear her refer to me as Mom. Just play along-do it for your own good.
5. Don't ask my age. If you must, guess low by a decade or two. If I really want to say it, I will offer it up right away.
6. Never, ever mention the gray in my hair. I may look like a skunk, but keep it to yourself.
Ageism-a western pastime?
The culture of present day North America is far different from that of most countries. Globally, age is something earned and proudly celebrated. It is as natural as the aging that occurs in nature. We call 40 over the hill. 40! I live in a relatively rural area where there are some 35 year old women proudly share pictures of their grandchildren and while others are racing the clock to start their family. Has this created a perception of a beauty expiration date?
Is it unavoidable?
It's unavoidable. Back-handed compliments are hardly limited to menopausal women! You hear them all the time.."You would be so pretty if you lost weight" or "For a short guy, you are really cute". In the end, its all about taking the time to edit. It's ok to just give a compliment, without a qualifier. Give that recipient the gift of affirmation! The clarification we tend to include adds no value..it actually subtracts. Keep the focus on building others and you will always be a person that builds others!