8 tips towards being your best older self
1. Don’t obsess over who you were, look forward to who you can be..
So far from my research into our opinions of ourselves about Embracing Age I have come to learn it may be more difficult to adjust to growing older if you have been told all your life you are beautiful. I know I’ve been guilty of using my looks to leverage things over the years. Sometimes we do this unconsciously. As our youthful beauty fades not only do we begin to feel invisible, it becomes more tangible as that leverage no longer seems to have traction. It’s a double whammy, leading us to a feeling of powerlessness.
I think its important to note that by perpetuating this “Beautiful Myth” we should try and break the cycle with our daughters. Whilst being called a princess, pretty or beautiful seems natural I believe it is far more powerful to show our girls they are kind or clever.
2. Get to know the person who looks back at you in the mirror..Just as our youthful beauty fades our mature beauty has a charm of its own. It’s a shock when we look in the mirror and we don’t see the face we knew looking back at us. Try and pause for a moment, pull back a little, every little smile line is there because of your laughter at things you love over the years…even your tears, have made you who you are. Stronger, wiser and more whole. More human, more loving…well, just MORE!
3. Beauty is an illusion, its your confidence people respond to..
You know I’m always banging on about this but it cannot be understated!
Having worked in the world of advertising for over 3 decades I know without a shadow of doubt …the kind of beauty we compare ourselves to is just an illusion. You’ve seen the professional pictures of me, I am portrayed as my best self, great lighting, fabulous hair and makeup, they're meant to be aspirational. We can all achieve it with that amount of professional help. You also know its my confidence that makes them what they are, its my confidence that glows from the inside. Confidence is the most attractive thing about anyone at any age, no matter how ‘beautiful’ one is. This is the light that shines from the inside, and, as older women we should be burning brighter, not dimmer. So try to look for the strength that lies beneath your visage.
4. Don’t compete..
Ah this is such a key point in helping to accept our older selves.
There’s been much written to me about lack of self-acceptance, feeling inferior or second best. Why? Because we have somehow been conditioned to compete on so many levels, both with each other and within ourselves. I somehow missed out on the competition gene, I was a singular child growing up in a remote place, and I wasn’t good at sports and bloomed very late. I’m glad I didn’t get the memo. It wasn’t until much later in life with the advent of the digital world and the beginnings of all of those magazines that thrive on comparison; the tearing down, the building up, the she’s fat, she’s thin, stars without their makeup on stories that I began to realize such competition not only existed, but was perpetuated through the very magazines we were looking to to help us. Now days social media can be a double edge sword because many women look at other curated best selves to compare then feel compelled to compete. There are so so many women out there to follow who truly inspire, who lift others up, even in the face of being torn down. These are the women to find and follow.
5. You can help yourself through helping others, be a mentor..
Which leads me to this point, many of my peers have written to me to tell me the one of the ways they best accept their older selves is to help others. If you have too much time on your hands to obsess about your perceived myriad of imperfections, get out of the house, find a charity, find someone who could grow from your guidance, donate your time, find a cause, get behind something bigger than yourself. It’s liberating, you will be appreciated for more than your looks, and you’ll be admired and looked to for your strength and wisdom. It will help build the confidence you might be looking for. Go ahead, I dare you too..indeed I implore you to.
6. Simplify your routine..
I could write a book about this; one thing I’ve learnt as I’ve got older is time is finite. Its life’s joke that time seems to run very slowly when we are children yet as we age it seems to speed up. When it comes to my beauty regime and wardrobe I've looked under the bonnet over the past few years to streamline my routines, if you haven't then you probably should. Be aware of being upsold a million potions and lotions you don't need, just keep your routine simple. You don’t need more makeup, as you get older you need less. You don’t need a million wardrobe choices either, forget trends. If you streamlined what you own down to a capsule of what suits you, what fits you and what makes you feel good you’d spend a heck of a lot less time wondering what to wear! You’d be out the door so quick (hopefully with a spring in your step, filled with confidence; at least that is my hope for you all).
7. Appreciate what you have, it’s a privilege to age at all..
This is a big one! Many women who have been through health battles and come out the other side are simply happy and content to be here. So try to remember it’s a privilege to age, not a right and we should live our lives accordingly. Let go fear, embrace age, none of us know what is around the corner so its important to live and breath and be happy within ourselves. Be authentic; be generous not just with others but also with yourself.
8. Be active, don’t wait to react..
Something my older self has come to understand is its important to act, don’t wait to react; It’s so empowering to be in charge of your life. As a young girl it was ingrained in me by my father that I was just a pawn in the game of life and as a girl I was only good enough to be ‘The wind under a mans wings’. I let life take me where it wanted to, I felt powerless to change my lot. Always looking externally for the wind never internally.
I simply never felt like I had what it took to make a success of myself. Thankfully as an older woman I have come into myself, realized my power and my potential. So my dears, old dogs can learn new tricks, moreover the proof is in the pudding it is absolutely never ever too late to change, to grow, to face your fears and be and do everything you heart desires.
Prue Aja Photographer
*i note that my dad was bought up in a time where women were not equal..and, we are at peace with each now.