Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What Does "60" Look Like?

Probably because I just turned 60; and maybe because I've experienced the gradual disappearance of not only my eyebrows but both my upper and lower eyelashes; and certainly because my hair is visibly thinning and I've resorted to a short pixie hair style to hide the bald spots; and of course, because I've recently been classified as a geriatric tonsillectomy patient and I've undergone cataract removal, intra-ocular lens replacement and a cornea transplant: I've been thinking about getting older and what that looks like.

I know what I look like:

With Bruce, January 2012
I know what my mother, who turned 84 on April 9th, looks like:

Vera Brown--born April 9, 1928
When I was looking for short hair styles, I thought of Jamie Lee Curtis, whose short hair is naturally grey (silver?) like my own.  I think she looks terrific at age 53:

Jamie Lee Curtis Jewelry
Jamie Lee Curtis--born November 22, 1958

Yours Truly--born May 21, 1952

We're not talking beauty contests here; no botox, no cosmetic surgery, no hair coloring.  I like having a low maintenance lifestyle.  I liked having longer hair so I could pull it up into a ponytail; the short hair is basically wash and go.  My objective is to feel okay and look okay.  I don't mind looking like the ordinary, 60-year old woman that I am.

And I might not have started thinking about this if I hadn't spent my birthday money to buy a small television for my office so that I could tune into the local stations and get the "breaking news" reports that I've been missing when I'm focused on a project.  Last Wednesday, I had the television tuned to ABC, which meant listening to The View and guest Joan Rivers:
Joan Rivers--born June 8, 1933
Look at Joan.  Look at me.  Look at Joan.  Look at me.  Look at Joan.  She turned 79 years old last Friday, and she looks like she could be my daughter--when, in fact, she should be looking like my mother!

Okay, I know that Joan's youthful looks are the result of spending big bucks on cosmetic surgery.  I know that she looks younger than her daughter, Melissa (anyway, that's my opinion).  I know that how she looks is not real.  It's artificially-produced "twenty-something" beauty.  The thing is, that's mostly what we see on television and in the movies.

As a teenager, I adored Audrey Hepburn.  As an adult, I admired how she followed her own path, and aged naturally.
Audrey--young movie star

Audrey--in later years

She was always gorgeous!

There are a few celebrities that have kept their silver-grey hair.  Like Paula Deen:
Paula Deen--born January 19, 1947
Maybe the celebrity ladies who are aging naturally just aren't in the spotlight, aren't having their photographs published.  Maybe I'm just not thinking of women who are my age peers who are good examples.  There seem to be so many who rely on cosmetic enhancement to preserve the illusion of youth.

I like Goldie Hawn.  But I don't like her new lips:

(Huffington Post)

Or Cher:

What is the vision of "beauty" that these women hope to achieve?  Why does Joan Rivers feel the need to look younger than her daughter?
Kathy Bates--born June 28, 1948
Kathy Bates looks her age.  In fact, she looks like she could be my next-door neighbor; like a "normal" person.

I think we should embrace our ages, celebrate who we are and how we are.  I don't think we should chase an artificial vision of "beauty" or try to look 29 from age 16 on into our 60's and beyond.  But I will also admit that every time I see a "woman of a certain age" who doesn't look her age, I compare myself to her.  Maybe it's something that's hard-wired into our species: we can't help it, we evaluate ourselves and make comparisons.  We would still do that, even if celebrities like Joan Rivers did not chase after youthful looks; but they would actually look their ages.

If this sounds like a rant from a 60-year-old woman of low self-esteem, it isn't meant to be.  It's just my rambling and pondering as I look in the mirror and find this "new" old face that's mine.

1 comment:

  1. I'm stuck with the wrinkles and brown spots, but, sorry, I'm not giving up my "natural" hair color. Maybe when I'm presented with a grandbaby, I'll reconsider! Ha!