Aging Gracefully.

Are these women beautiful? ARE they?

I want to talk about something, and I`m not even going to talk about it from a Christian standpoint– because that`s what you`d expect me to. It`s just something that`s on my mind all the time.

Aging well. Is it something we do for us, or for our families, or for our own dignity? Because I mean, you may have been a real Snazzy in your high school days, or whenever, but face it, we all get old.

(Trust me, it makes my day when Laila says, “Mommy!” when she sees my wedding picture. She sees me in that ancient picture?!?!)

I guess I want to think of words I feel when I see these women above– all in their 50s. (and not trying to pick on them, but beings they have agreed to star in a reality show, I am guessing they are up for gabbing grabs.)

Hard. Damaged. Plastic. Unstable. Insecure. Not comfortable. Selfish. Expensive. Hard. Lonely. Implanted. Brittle. Trying.

Yet, this, THIS is a picture *Hollywood* (I hate to say that, it sounds to “closed”) says is a “hot older women”. A cougar. A SUCCESSFUL WOMAN. A women who is powerful, in control, and can still attract a younger man.

(What? Gross.)

And just let me address the fact that when I am a grandma, I want to feel soft, smell like flowers and have lovely aged hands. I want my grandchildren to LOVE laying against me. I want them to feel safe at my house. I want them to think of my kitchen when the Tollhouse cookie commercial comes on.

I want that!

I want my husband to want to come home because he can lay on the couch at our house, and enjoy the sound of the whirring fan and a lemonade, as he rants to me about his nutso day. I won`t be blonde and gorgeous, but I will be safe. And warm. And secure.

Those are my plans.

Then, I came across this picture. (And it`s what compelled me to write this post in the first place.)

Don`t you just want them for your friends? For your mother? grandmother? wife? a neighbor? your kid`s schoolteacher?

Obviously, I don`t know who these 2 women are from Adam, but let me tell you the words I feel when I see them.

Warm. Sweet smelling. Happy. Fun. Safe. Secure. Clean. Full of LIFE. Attractively dressed. Age appropriate. Soft. Pretty skin. Beloved by someone. BEAUTIFUL.

Honestly, when I saw this picture, I just stared. To me, they were utterly gorgeous & breathtaking. You know why?

Because it`s a rare thing to see in our society. (I say society, NOT women I know. I am surrounded by lovely aging women!!) Women aging, that haven`t “given up” by doing either 1 of 2 things:

A) Looking drab– “I`m old”. (Old people are drab.)

Or. the other extreme.

B) I`m 60, looking 20. (And it`s not working for me.)

Why are we believing the lies?

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40 Comments

  1. Lynnelle says:

    I’m amazed at the way the some of society’s beliefs about beauty have influenced me even though I have grown up surrounded by a Biblical worldview. Loved this post because sometimes I get frustrated with myself for the lies that I embrace. And I truly believe that you will be warm, safe, and attractive grandmother!

  2. Gloria says:

    Jenny….I love this! It encompasses so much of what I feel about aging. Who I want to be, what I want to project, the direction I want to head.

    And doesn’t it just blow you away how fast it all happens? So quickly the body begins to change, and suddenly, I see things that are beginning to look amazingly similar to, let’s see, MY MOM!!!!

    BUT
    I’m a firm believer in beauty shifting…..not fading. While I have a long way to go, when I think of who I was at 20 something, I feel certain I’m a more beautiful person today than I was back then!

    Yeah for beauty and aging and femininity…..and for the mystique of a woman! Let’s celebrate being the soft feminine touch to the world God created us to be!!!!

  3. Heather says:

    Know what you mean. What magazine did I see recently that did the “Hottest women at 30, then 40, then 50 and 60?” Can’t remember… At any rate, I was thinking to myself, most women could look like this if they had a milliion dollars, multiple “lifts” and “tucks”, plenty of make up and no life outside of what your body looks like.

    On a different note- I do have a lot of respect for women who have taken care of their
    bodies through diet and exercise… I too, want
    to be there and create a welcome and safe
    environment for my kids and grandkids, etc
    but I would also like to be a person who eats
    right and works out in order to be active, play with and have fun with those I love.

    • Jenny says:

      so agree with para2. for that reason, i lately became convicted to cut out most sugar and exercise more. i want to have all day energy to keep up with my family.
      i think there is a HUGE difference in keeping fit to be healthy– vs. being fit to combat insecurities.
      thanks for bringing that out!

  4. Rachel says:

    aging is a funny topic….
    i look in the mirror and see these lines that did not used to be there, and yet, i feel more confident and like ‘these are the best days’ in this stage of mid 30’s. i’m with the person who said that getting exercise and taking care of myself thru proper eating are also important to me…but not to the point where i’m crazy. and, another thing i would like to say about aging gracefully? dress your age!!! it bugs me when i see women trying to dress like a teen/college age kid when they are 30’s and upwards.

    AWESOME post Jenny!
    have a super day!

  5. carmen says:

    I love reading on this subject!! I was disappointed the post ended so soon. =) More please… I’d love to hear more discussions on this. Cuz, since I’ve hit the 40’s it’s been more of a struggle for me to accept gracefully what I see in the mirror. But, yes, I do want to age gracefully and not try to look like the 20’s. Sometimes I’m afraid of be guilty of the very things I can’t stand to see in middle aged women who are trying too hard to look younger!

    I like what Heather said too….

    • Jenny says:

      hey, i never see you!
      yes, i`d LOVE to talk more on this with you. πŸ™‚ and i have to add, you always look lovely! i think of it often.

  6. Kristen Lehman says:

    I just watched a Dr. Phil (ya…) show the other day and it was about women who are most concerned about beauty and will spend their last penny on beauty…plastic surgery, implants, etc… they were more concerned about beauty rather than intelligence. While he was interviewing them. It made ur stomach turn… They seriously were so selfish, cared only about themselves, while he was trying to get them to see that only beauty is a big lie they’re falling into. Beauty is great…. But not when ur so addicted to spending all u have on it and do not care about anything else… It’s easier to pick a guy up if ur lookin sexy rather than intelligent and ugly is what they said. Anyways, good post! I agreed w your words.
    Kristen L.

    • Jenny says:

      i guess it can be an addiction to combat pain just like anything else… sobering.
      “addicted to beauty”, i never thought of it that way, really….
      thanks, kristen!

  7. Marilyn says:

    Why do we believe the lies?! It’s so easy to start to believe that we have to look like Hollywood stars and be a size zero to impress society, get a guy, fit in, etc. etc. but that is exactly what satan wants us to believe, to think we’re not worth much unless we “look” just right. Why is it so easy to believe that instead of God and how He views us? I’d like to hear more thoughts on this as well. πŸ™‚

  8. drusilla says:

    I LOVE this Jenny, While I think its important to take care of the bodies God gives us, I also know its so easy to not have a healthy view of being in shape etc…I really LOVE being around people that are comfortable in their own skin and dont have to try an be something they aren’t,and are over all really positive. You are a picture of that kind of person to me, maybe thats why I like being around you so much πŸ™‚ I think it happens alot when my focus comes off of God and I try to get affirmation from other sources..Thanks bunches for posting this, I needed to hear it, love ya~

  9. christy says:

    I love this subject…and the post…and the comments. I liked the picture you painted of who you want to be as a grandma. I remember writing an essay about my grandma in 5th or 6th grade. I still remember that some of the things I wrote about that make her a perfect grandma is that she had wrinkles ;), was soft, had a sense of humor and she played with us; but I remember the wrinkles and the softness were the most important to me! Isn’t that sooo cool! Yet, we resist becoming that grandma. We want to be her at 70, but we mourn the process. Well, maybe that’s a little dramatic. But really God was being kind to us to let it happen gradually. πŸ˜€

    As a side note, I worked in the garden for 2 hrs. over noon w/o sunscreen, and now I’m sitting here with Doritos and tea…just wanted to let you know that someone out there is doing her part to become a soft and wrinkly grandma. πŸ˜€

  10. clarita says:

    Oh, I LOOOOOOVED this post! I have thought of aging quite a bit lately, as I’ll hit 30 next year, and honestly, some days it scares the daylights out of me. And yet, I know SO MANY absolutely beautiful thirty-year olds that make aging look so attractive, and desirable. I want to know how to age well, and gracefully. To do my part to keep myself attractive, and yet age-appropriate. I agree with you 100% – it bugs me so much when I see older women who dress like a teenager! It looks so ridiculous, and I wonder how they can’t see it! And yet it seems like it would take a lot of security and Christ-confidence to age well, without always feeling bad everytime I see myself in the mirror. I’m already getting lines on my forehead – I hope they’re drama lines, because I tend to make a lot of facial expressions. πŸ™‚ But truth be told, they may very well be the signs of age! I love what Rachel said – that the 30’s are the best ever so far. I love love that. I love when people can embrace the very place they are, and live it with purpose and flourish there. That’s what I want to be too, right now. So much easier said than done!

    And I was wanting to read more too!! πŸ™‚ Let’s have the Second Edition, please. πŸ™‚ Oh, and I LOVED that 2nd picture. I could have looked at it so long, because there was such WARMTH coming from it! THAT is what I want to be. And interesting enough, neither one of those women were skinny-minnie. Hollywood sure sets some unrealistic pictures of what women want, and what women should be…

  11. Di says:

    This is a subject us women could really get into for hours over coffee. The pressure is set in front of us too often to “be” something other then we are. It is so comforting to have friends you can be soft and real with! πŸ˜‰

    Was good to hear from you again!

    ps- I totally get the HARD part. πŸ˜‰

    ~ Di M

  12. Marylou says:

    Wow! So totally agree with this post!!!!! Attitude plays a big roll in a person’s looks. I’ve seen beautifully (externally) people who are not pleasant to be around and to me their looks are tainted. And I’ve seen plain (externally) people who have a beautiful spirit! Everyonceinawhile foxnews.com will have a slideshow of “stars” with and without makeup and I think, “well, duh, did you really think they looked that glamorous with some serious help?”

  13. cindy says:

    i am looking for a recommend button to click…and then oh! a like button too. the rec because i LOVE this post and the like because well. i like it too πŸ™‚ but i am tired and cranky and should.not.be. trying to comment at.all.

  14. meg martin says:

    Today something very significant happened in my life… I testified in court about the abuse frmo my childhood and in front of my dad I spoke aloud the verbal abuse that has haunted me for years… my self esteem. Something happened to me as I walked out of the court room. I felt genuinely beautiful and it was a feeling that I can’t say I’ve ever had. It was such contentment with how I look, acceptance of the way I’m built. It wasn’t really dramatic… But I knew I had faced a huge giant. The goodness of god makes me want to weep – in happy tears. When I read this and picked up on those notes of being content with yourself as you age, and realizing that the aging is beautiful… womanly… The part where you wrote about your husband coming home to a soft, compassionate secure wife (secure stuck out to me the most) really left a resounding ring in my head… because I have spent so many years comparing myself to “hotter” girls who have what i will “never have”… And you just shouted the RIGHT view that I should have of myself as a wife… It’s doesn’t require me to look like something Hollywood loves to promote… No, it’s about BEING… Thank you for this post. It is SO EXCELLENT!!!!!!! Shout it out you beautiful woman!

  15. Michelle says:

    Jenny, this is smashing, take down my house kind of stuff. I think what grabbed me most in those two pictures is the way that what those women believed inside showed up outside. Seriously, you can just see the life and truth and solid core on that last picture …. this is the happy life I’ve always wanted to live. And on the first one, I keep waiting for Miss Middle Girl Front Row to start biting her nails. πŸ˜‰

  16. Sherilyn says:

    I have been following your blog for awhile… our husbands are second cousins through the Kauffmans, I think. πŸ™‚ (Just to say I am not some sort of creep. :)) I feel/am rather like a lurker, since I can’t quite bring myself to blog on the www. But I just HAD to comment, I think this is one of the BEST posts I have ever read in the blog world. I am very, very, visual so the 2nd picture will have me feasting for days. πŸ™‚ I love all the beauty on your blog, it is eye candy for me, but more than that it is filled full, full with such Heart behind it or in it, which for me is the truest kind of beauty. Love you, Sherilyn (Miller) Miller

    • Jenny says:

      thanks for the comment! bloggers love “lurkers”, it`s their lifeblood. πŸ™‚
      my husband is curious who your husband is? πŸ™‚

      • Sherilyn says:

        Ok, I am not real great with keeping family trees straight. Brian Miller is my husband’s name, son of Jay and Verna Mae (King) Miller. The late Aaron and Mary King from Lancaster are his grandparents. (like Rich King (married to Shannon) would be a first cousin) He has a brother Gene that EVERYONE seems to know. πŸ™‚ Both guys are crazy about music so I hear Kauffman thrown around different times. πŸ™‚ Oh, and while he has some roots in PA and I spent a bunch of my growing up years living there, we actually live in Kansas. Not sure if you wanted all this info… πŸ™‚

  17. Jessica says:

    Amen Sista, beautifully put and right on! Totally all really stems from a heart who knows who they are in Christ…and is completely secure in that. How I want to be in that safe place, and create a safe place for my friends and family. A feminine, happy woman is way more delightful than a HOT one who knows it and only thinks of herself. So here’s to all the shifting beauties, who find joy in being women of charm and grace~women who bless others and bring glory to Jesus by being all He has called us to be…living out our destinies. Love you girl….

  18. terri says:

    was just listening a little to focus’ program on bulemia this morning and it made me think about all the beautiful women i see in the real world (and compare myself to) and what methods many of them may be using to get what i think i want. it reminded me how important the inside stuff is and just how valuable it is to live authentically as far as beauty, health, etc. it seriously is such a game. i want to be healthy and beautiful as a reflection of Jesus, not a reflection of this world…

    • christy says:

      “i want to be healthy and beautiful as a reflection of Jesus, not a reflection of this world…”

      YES!

  19. Lemmo says:

    I am really glad you posted this, and addressed this subject, as it is sooo controversial in our circles. Do we dye our hair when it starts to gray in the 30s, or do we age as God created us? I decided I won’t judge others about that, and I don’t know what I will do when that graying starts for me.

    Also, just as a side note, I am sooo glad that we chose to NOT have TV in our home. I am certain that the women on TV would shake my security in the way God has made me. I would not want to compete with the women my husband would see on the screen everyday. Their beauty looks like reality, but it is all so fake.

    Love you Jenny for speaking your heart always.

  20. Becky Fox says:

    Thank Jenny, so needed to hear this.

  21. Sarah says:

    Ever read the book by Max Lacado …I can’t think of the tittle but Melody (I Think) read it to us at Bible school. It was the Wemmicks that gave dots. This post reminded me of that book. It is truly a gift to be thankful with what God gave a person, so easy and yet so hard! hummmm a lot of food for thought! Good Food for thought! Now that I am 31, I will go apply some more anti aging cream around my eyes! =)

  22. Amy says:

    I followed a link here, couldn’t resist that title… Your blog is warm, soft and welcoming… it seems you are well on your way to “becoming”!
    i’m excited to hear 30’s are the best years! they’re coming up soon for me!
    I feel it’s critical to name where we want to go and who we want to become; i like how you’re doing that here. Where our focus is, will ultimately be where we end up. I know, because i’ve already seen that happen in my short life!

  23. Melissa says:

    Love the post!
    At 30 I’ve decided to stop pulling out my gray hairs. They remind my that I’m not young anymore – and that’s a good thing. I don’t have to feel like I need to keep up with the latest “everything” and fit in with the “cool” people. It’s really a relief. It saddens me when ladies can’t just enjoy the stage of aging that they’re in at the moment.

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