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Owning Aging

Walker Thornton

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How do you feel about your aging process?

I think I look pretty damned good for a woman in her sixties. And, I'm not ashamed of my age or appearing in my natural state.

Some women fret about their wrinkles, their gray hair, and age spots, and all the various things our society labels "old".

Screw that. Who says we have to live, or look, act, or dress a certain way?

We'd all be much happier if we asked ourselves more often, "What do I want right now? What do I need?" And went about doing what felt good in the moment--with little regard for public opinion.

I bet we'd eat more ice cream, spend less money on makeup, smile more, and enjoy the simpler things in life. With abandon. And a sense of being happily in charge of our own lives.

Yet we don't.

And it affects our relationships and jobs and our sex lives. It adds an extra layer of stress in our lives.

I'm looking at what it's like to age and how some of my peers struggle with each new birthday. When I see my pictures I see a woman who looks comfortable in her own skin and at ease with herself. She's not hiding behind a veneer of makeup, acting age-appropriately, or screaming to be seen. Nor does she seem to need to hide her age. She's just living life in a way that in this quick moment, looks easier than it really is.

If we're being honest.

I'll admit that I want to look good. And most days I use a bit of under eye concealer and a little blush. Lipstick, once in a blue moon. I love clothes and shoes and I have a style that feels comfortable, which having not changed in decades, is "acceptable" for a woman my age. I'm working on changing the acceptable bit.

I think "acceptable" and "age-appropriate" are stupid terms for a grown woman.

So, why the focus on me? Aging seems to be harder for women. In our marketing-driven, youthful culture, women lose their appeal as they get older. Old and Aging have negative connotations. Personally I much prefer getting older to the alternative. Yet I see so many women fretting about their age and I see companies creating and profiting from our fear of getting "Old".

When we buy into that garbage, we end up feeling anxiety and low self-esteem. Women who get caught in that trap may spend time and money trying to trick themselves in being young again. To what end? Where's the satisfaction in feeling panicky about your age, or the number of age spots on your hand, or the sagging neck?

In my visual storytelling workshop we talked about disrupting traditional narratives. I like the idea of disrupting expectations about aging. I want to counter traditional notions and do things differently. To embrace what I have and do what suits my wants and needs, not what our culture expects. It means letting go of the lie that we have to look young to be vibrant and vital. It means being less concerned about what others think.

How are you disrupting your aging process? What are you doing, as your 50s and 60s approach, 70s too, to show up in a way that feels uniquely you?

Me? Proclaiming my sexuality, getting bolder, speaking up. Adding more color.

Your turn.

Benjamin Hotel
Benjamin Hotel

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Walker Thornton

Walker Thornton is an author and public speaker advocating the idea of Aging Unapologetically™.

She helps women embrace the next stage of life with joy and abandon and a touch of practicality. Her approach to talking about sex and aging is refreshingly positive.

Her book, Inviting Desire, a Guide for Women Who Want to Enhance Their Sex Life, can be found at Amazon, and other online booksellers.