You Look Great…For Your Age?
When did it stop being “You look great?”
A friend of mine and I chatted this morning. Most of that conversation centered around something her daughter had said to her. Her daughter’s words were meant to be kind. “Mom,” she said. “You truly look great for your age.”
I laughed when my friend told me. I laughed because she sounded horrified by the latter half of that compliment. I understood why as I sat in her position myself at one time. The wake-up call that swiftly moves you from, “You look beautiful” to “You look beautiful for your age,” blindsides most of us. Yesterday still seems so touchable. Then I realize that an entire life happened in between, including five children who continue to remind me daily that I am no longer twenty. And they are.
They also remind me, however, of the true beauty of the words “for your age” as the meaning behind them goes far deeper than one’s value in relation to a few lines. These words encapsulate all of my accomplishments, contributions and dedication throughout the years to those I love as well as my community and the world around me.
How could this trigger any insecurity or warrant an apology from me to myself? It shouldn’t. It doesn’t or so I concluded once I moved past the initial sting. Oh vanity…you are a harsh companion!
It is something we all need to work out in ourselves and do better at as a society. Being made to feel that you lose value with every year that passes simply because time revamped your looks is cruel and unacceptable. And yet this interpretation exists, so much so, in fact that young women dread growing older. Such a graceful, natural process covered by such ugliness.
This needs to change. Many older women are feeling that way and beginning to put their foot down on it, through words, example, and even Tiktok videos — a slew of them lately. Just like with me and my friend this morning, we are each helping the other along in finding our footing and appreciating the physical changes that will inevitably come, without apology. We are lowering the vibration on guilt and shame and raising awareness, with some — like me — even bringing a sense of levity to this nonsense.
Like I told my friend during our extensive conversation on the matter, “Remember, if all else falls, you can always return the compliment with the statement, “You truly look great for your age too.”
No doubt, you will make everyone in the room stop and chuckle.