Alternatives to aging gracefully

Posted on: 8th May, 2018

Category: Image

Contributor: Louise O'Dwyer

I’m sitting here pondering the thought that I am now very definitely closer to 60 than I am to 20! Am I ‘in the horrors’? Absolutely not. Am I aging gracefully? More importantly, do I want to? Is the concept of aging gracefully old-fashioned? I do believe it is, as well as being restrictive and inaccurate. There is something in the phrase ‘aging gracefully’ that implies older women should slow down and simply fade into the sunset – a shocking thought. So I have thrown together a few words that might describe how I would like to age…fearlessly, intellectually (I don’t ever want to stop learning), passionately, outrageously, spiritually, thankfully, playfully, tenaciously, thoughtfully and BADASS-LY! I have a lot of friends who are 60-plus and 70-plus and I can safely say that I have described them in that concoction of words and I love that fact about each and every one of them.

If 40 is the new 20, then I guess 65 means that you are in the early 30s…how divine! But those of us who have lost friends and family members at a young age will know that worrying about aging is poppycock; every day is an absolute privilege because we are seeing that no matter what age you are, or no matter how young you are, 25 or 30 even, accidents and illness can completely blindside you.

To be quite honest, I think that there has never been a better time to be ‘a grown up’. I once read an article where a woman in her 60s claimed that without her six hours of careful grooming every week, she would resemble a ‘bag lady’. I laughed at the time but then very quickly realised that the ‘young ones’ spend a hell of a lot more time than six hours a week grooming themselves.

So what do you need to do when you are over 60, want to look your best self, will hopefully never resort to any type of plastic surgery and be able to manage whether you live in Dublin or close to Mizen Head?

Unfortunately yellowing teeth will never be attractive and more importantly, you will feel conscious about it yourself. It is an inevitable part of aging that one appointment for teeth whitening can sort out. Beware of ending up with dazzling white teeth that will blind all rabbits in a two-mile radius, ask for realistic subtlety.

Do not ever give in to ‘granny shoes’ – never, ever, ever! Age is no excuse for undermining an otherwise stylish outfit with outmoded shoes. There is a fashionable shoe for every foot in every shoe shop the length and breath of this country.

There should never be a need to slump into dreary, nondescript territory when there is a style to bring out your best feature from trim waist (high-waisted, wide legs with tie waists) to dainty ankles (cropped kick flares), long legs (flares) to curvaceous hips (palazzos).

Reading glasses, full-time glasses or sunglasses should be assertive and in classy materials. What you want is to set off bone structure, eyebrows and sparkling eyes. One of my friends swears by Vizulize Tired Eye Drops (less than €10), as she noticed that the more she crept up into her 60s, the less her eyes sparkled. Try it out!

Ultimately, you will have to make the decision of ‘to grey’ or ‘not to grey’ – and this also includes the ones sprouting out of your eyebrows and, dare I say it, your chin. Blitz or cultivate, completely up to you but if you choose to keep the very dark hair colour of your youth, you will need to seriously compensate with make up or you will look very washed out – better to go a little lighter, it leaves you with a softer look. Always take note of someone who has a similar face shape and hair type, especially if you are looking to change your hairstyle. There are so many wonderful styles to choose that will flatter and enhance.

Be careful with cardigans, nondescript waterfall cardis (in fact any kind of cardi is hard to pull off as you get older), frills, bland patterns and so on, they just don’t work. Be bold; choose a flamboyant ruffle or a confident print that screams confidence and self-knowledge.

There is nothing that erases sleepless nights and sagging under-eye like a slick of a vibrant lipstick. Avoid dark reds and burgundy’s, instead go for orange-reds, corals and pinks for instant wow factor.

There has never been a better time to have bunions, fallen arches etc because runners or plimsolls have never been more stunning. Go wild with the variety in colour and style.

What do you spend your money on? Should you spend the equivalent of a mortgage payment on skincare products? NEVER. It’s a complete con, treat yourself to a regular facial, drink lots of water with lemon in it, make sure that you take a good Vitamin D supplement, have a reasonably healthy diet and lovingly cover your body with moisturiser regularly. Have epsom salt baths to hand – great to get Magnesium into the body and this mineral does wonders for all sorts of ailments. Be realistic about wrinkles, some will get more than others and genetics and sun exposure combined will dictate 98 per cent of that. This leaves you with two per cent that I believe can be nurtured with good hydration, leaving you with lovely skin. Please don’t fall for skincare advertising, I’m shocked at what even young girls are being coerced into having to use on their skin. A mature woman can also be railroaded into spending an absolute fortune on creams, many of which are being tested on animals again – please Google, as the laws changed recently and I was horrified to see many of the well known ‘supposedly natural’ skincare lines were listed as using ‘Animal Testing’.

Always spend the bulk of your budget on TAILORING and good UNDERWEAR. Combined, these two will set you firmly on the road to feeling like a million dollars. Be prepared to spend more for exceptional quality and as a result you will actually need less in your wardrobe if you invest in classic pieces. Jeans will always look great and like every woman on earth, you will have to try on multiple pairs before you find ‘your’ pair, but it will be so very worth it.

Thought you might like a list of things that you MUST get rid of:

Three-quarter-length unfitted white pants, ‘Jesus’ sandals, polo shirts (unless you are playing golf in the club), plain elasticated pants, over sized t-shirts, knitted jumpers that are twee and anything with an excessive amount of embroidery on it.

If you have the time and the energy, accept every invitation, fearlessly do things that women half your age would shy away from, laugh at yourself always and don’t ever apologise for a duvet day. The funniest thing just popped into my head so of course I’m going to share it with you. My husband’s parents came regularly to see us when we lived in New York. They have a great sense of humour and were always eager to see everything that New York had to offer. One night, we took them out to dinner to Lucky Chang’s. It’s a restaurant in downtown Manhattan that has a piano bar in the basement. What we omitted to tell them was that all of the staff were transvestites, wonderfully and outrageously so. They absolutely loved it, so much so that my mother-in-law proceeded to take up residence on the stage in the piano bar downstairs and sing ‘Blanket on the Ground’ to roaring applause, three times in a row if I remember correctly, wrapping a big feather boa around herself. We still giggle about this, isn’t that what it’s all about?

“Youth is the gift of nature but age is a work of art”                                            Stanislaw Jerzy Lec

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