Aging Gracefully and Beautifully

 For attractive lips, speak words of kindness. For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people. For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day. For poise, walk with the knowledge you’ll never walk alone. People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody. Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you’ll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others. The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair. The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides. The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years only grows. This poem was a favorite of the late beauty and philanthropist, Audrey Hepburn. While the words and the sentiments are indeed beautiful, there is a slight implication that as a woman grows older, there should be more emphasis on metaphysical beauty than physical. Beauty is not only skin deep. It is reflected in our feelings of well-being and healthy self-image at any age. As we grow older beauty should not only become a manifestation of our service to others, but also of the ways in which we nurture ourselves. Aging gracefully does not have to mean passively accepting the effects of time and gravity.

While many of us strongly reject the skin-tightening extremes of Joan Rivers (though they seem to be working for her!), there is no need to be resistant to the benefits, both mentally and physically, of preserving and pampering what nature has given us. In our celebrity- obsessed culture there is often great pressure on women and increasingly men to submit to extreme procedures to achieve results that like youth are fleeting and recklessly detrimental to our well-being. Recently, however, celebrities seem to be leading the trend in gorgeously, gently and naturally aging.

Meryl Streep, for example, while keeping her pale skin looking naturally beautiful is sure to get a microcurrent facial before red carpet appearances and keeps herself fit by swimming. The stunning Helen Mirren credits high heels and keeping her stomach pulled in for her sexy, confident appearance. French actresses, like Juliette Binoche and Catherine Deneuve, seem to have a special insight into aging beautifully. In fact most French woman, seem to eschew heavy makeup in favor of good skin care regime.

According to a New York Times article last year, they walk for exercise but swear by spa treatments for that natural healthy glow. “Black don’t crack” illustrates the fact that women of color with naturally melanin-rich skin seem to age more slowly than other races, but Michelle Obama’s powerfully beautiful arms and her campaign for healthier eating habits intimate that she believes that some cracks would appear if not carefully maintained. Whether you go to the gym or to the spa, or buy yourself a pair of killer heels, it’s never too late or too soon to start a regime of good health and skin care. You’ll feel and look great for yourself and for the people you love. Don’t let yourself go!]>>