Aging Gracefully

Is anyone else wondering what you might look like now if you’d chosen a wholesome (by which I mean lame) youth versus adventurous and fancy-free? By which I mean a bar-hopping, sun junky who enjoyed herself a cigarette now and then, but mostly a lot?

The truth is, the cosmetic industry capitalizes on our regrets. Whether those are the fact of inheriting our parents' genes, having smoked too many Marlboro Lights or slathering ourselves with baby oil every summer on the beach, the message is "Our products can undo the effects of living."

Usually, this message comes from someone who 1) has not actually reached the age of consent; 2) has been lacquered with the same polyurethane used on cars, or 3) has succumbed to so much plastic surgery that there was enough skin left over to make a new person.

I am all for "aging gracefully," but very much resent being encouraged to do so by someone who is half non-biodegradable.

Lately, the concept of "pro-aging" is taking hold – what a relief. Since it's going to happen anyway, I'd rather not feel obliged to wipe out every physical indication of the process. Why not take care of what we have rather than buying into the idea that our 20-year-old skin is there, and just waiting to be excavated by the right product?

My mother reached "middle age" in the 80's – at that time a woman of 40 was generally retired from the league. Perms were all the rage. She wouldn't leave the house without a full undercarriage – waist-high underpants, pantyhose and slacks. Clearly, she was not someone swept up by the idea of defying her age.   

In her 60s though, caving to the hype that women needed to look like something out of a wax museum despite actually being alive, even she went under the knife. "Jowels" she'd complained. "Saggy cheek skin." I was like, "What, now? Now, you're trying to backtrack?" You're in your 60s, you're supposed to look like that. If all you old biddies are intent on looking 30 – what are your adult children supposed to do? Get braces? 

When you're young and think you'll live forever, you don't worry that joyful, exuberant times with friends will create laugh lines. That summer picnics on the beach will result in freckles you'll try to cover up later. That your precious babies will cause that furrow in your brow. That the responsibilities of a career you love will produce such dark circles under your eyes. That life – "duh" – ages you.

Would you trade it for anything? It is said that your eyes are windows to your soul. Similarly by the time you're 50+, your face is a map of your life – good or bad – and it seems to me that we should embrace the story told by our lines and creases; by those furrows in our brow, a sag or a bag here and there.

I'm not about erasing what is. Or pretending to be young when I'm not – except when I use words like "psyched," "awesome" and "wicked" – which ironically date me like a prune and send my kids cringing into a corner.

Eschewing miracle cures though doesn't mean I'm immune to the idea of looking my best; we're all on board with routine maintenance and cosmetic enhancements as long as it doesn't take a lot of time, effort or money. We'll leave that to JLo and Shakira. We, my skin and I, get right to the point: moisturize, exfoliate and deep clean. 

Moisture. There's not a lot of it here in Colorado, so using a humidifier is a must during the winter, as is drinking loads of water and sealing in what you can with a good moisturizer. I like to let newly regenerated skin cells get their chance to shine and so exfoliate once a week. Face masks a couple times a month are immensly therapeutic - and well, they just feel soooooo good.  

With the basics covered, I don't feel the need for too much makeup. Which is perfect, because I have no idea what to do with half the stuff on the market now anyway. Hell, I stick the mascara wand right into my pupil at least once a week. 

How we choose to age is irrelevant to the fact that we are. Fighting it, defying it, or denying it all require energy that will actually accelerate it. How about not pursuing the process like stalkers, obsessed over every advancing symptom. Assign aging as a side affect of living a life we love, a result of intention and purpose, an afterglow of hard-earned fulfillment and inner peace. Sound like a fantasy?  Compare that to being 50 and looking 30 - I'm going for the inner peace.

Dana Gonzalez

Chief Executive Officer of:
(1) One nascent (11-year-old) vegetarian whose favorite vegetable is ketchup
(1) One (14-year-old) sleepivore, low on the ambition spectrum

Dana is TRUST Beauty’s Chief Engagement Officer and a regular contributor to our blog, twitter, and other social media platforms.  Watch for more articles and words of wisdom from Dana in the coming weeks.