Mirror, Mirror on the Bald Head Island Wall

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Mirror

Mirror, mirror at the The Marsh Harbour Inn on Bald Head Island.

This bathroom has WAY better light than the bathrooms in my old house. I see in gory detail how much I’ve aged. The wrinkles. The dark circles. The age spots. Sometimes, I am astounded.

And so in a place I love the most, I gaze at myself in my worst light, at least on the outside.

Is it best to note the effects of aging? Breathe it in? Get it?

Or is it better to ignore, to not care, to float through these later years without any concern over wrinkles?

I meet women who don’t seem to give a flip. I read of others who go to great lengths (and pain and money) to try to maintain their youth.

Check out this article o“Beauty for Life: 6 Steps to Accepting Agingfrom the Oprah website and this article from WebMD on “The Art of Aging Gracefully.” 

And here’s a fascinating piece in Psychology Today by Jere Daniel, who writes: “Fear of aging is the single most powerful agent creating exactly what we fear.” In other words, we’re making ourselves even older by worrying about aging. Yikes! We’re sunk!

Since I can’t figure out how to handle looking old, I use the Bald Head mirror to help me slap on sunscreen and a bit of makeup, and I head out to soak up the beauty of the island.

What about you? Do you have aging beauty figured out yet?

View from Inn

Marsh Harbour Inn

10 responses »

  1. This whole aging thing is something else. I try to only concentrate on keeping my face looking as young as I can–not much I can do about the thinning skin on my hands, age spots that are really popping out, and the lizard looking skin on my chest. But even with all the creams etc. on my face, I still get more wrinkles all the time. Apparently my mirror doesn’t show me everything either. When in Indiana recently, I was looking in the bathroom mirror and saw two glowing white hairs under both of my eyebrows. I try to keep those pulled out, but at home I never saw them. I didn’t have tweezers with me, but was able to get one of them pulled out with my fingers. I still need to work on the other one–that is if I can see it in my mirror. We all have to do what makes us feel comfortable I guess. I wish I could go more with the flow and just accept the inevitable but so far I am still trying to hide those wrinkles!

  2. Very torn about this. I dye my hair and use face cream but only thing I can do about the wrinkles above the neck is NOT lose weight – which is bad b/c I’d look better below the neck if I DID lose weight! So the struggle to accept the inevitable continues. : )

  3. Parked in my car in the driveway, I took a glance in the rear-view mirror to check whether there
    was a menopausal hair on my chin to pluck before setting out toward my appointment. But, what
    struck me was not the random chin hair or two, but that I couldn’t recognize the hand that was in the
    rearview mirror.

    It was the hand of an old person. If I had not known exactly the reality of the circumstances, I
    would have said that this could not be my hand. Yes, I am aging.

    But, stemming from my training in psychology, and my admiration for Erik Erikson’s work, I totally agree with the quotation cited in the J. Daniel (1994) article. He cited Erikson as
    saying, “Lacking a culturally viable ideal of old age, our civilization does not really harbor a
    concept of the whole of life.”

    I think that this is the crux of the matter. If we did have a concept of the “whole of life,” we wouldn’t
    be worried about the superficial physical signs of aging, such as seen in our necks, hands, etc.
    We would instead say something like these shrinking hands with loosened transparent skin, brown
    spots, and a knuckle bump here or there – I celebrate! They say “I am older, I have lived, I have
    experienced challenges and have confronted them and grown.”

    And, we can say earnestly, I have Erikson’s final stage to look forward to – “Ego Integrity vs. Despair.” To form our ego integrity at this age, and to avoid despair, we need to both look back into the “rearview mirror” of our lives, as well as toward our own mortality. If we can make sense out of life as we have lived it, and acknowledge, and accept death (however, this may be conceived of in our own personal beliefs, religions, and philosophies) then we can achieve a feeling of wholeness and integrity in our older years.

    So, as one of the baby boomers on the older end of the baby boom spectrum, I say it’s time to stop
    worrying about aging and instead embrace the process!

  4. Thanks for this post and all the thoughtful comments others left. I like Phyllis’s remarks the best. Recently realized that my hands/skin reminded me of my grandmother’s and my mother’s as they aged. I confess to still dying my hair and enjoying looking younger than my age, but I also need to face forward with grace. As grandma to a new baby girl, also thinking about who I am as a grandmother and what I can give this new generation. Forward!

  5. Thanks everybody for your thoughts! As I typed this, I took note of the aging of my hands but then decided to think of all the fun things my fingers have done over the years, especially writing this blog. Thanks for being such loyal readers!

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