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Redefining Beauty & Brains as a Middle-Aged Hippie

Beverley-online-GWhen I was much younger people saw me as being so beautiful or so smart. Some who knew me very well, actually saw both. I strove at all costs to have my intellect be recognized as my principle asset and, heaven forbid, someone would relate to me for my beauty and see me as “just another pretty face.”

To some degree that worked. I left high school early and went to play with a large group of boys at university who were all as eager as I was to make their mark in the big bad world of business. On graduation, I was awarded the gold medal as the outstanding graduate from a class of 400 business students. Not bad considering only ten of us were women. Times have definitely changed since then.

Now that I’m older, I’d like to think that I’m still smart. My mother at least confirms this for me by telling me, “You’re too smart for your own good.” Although I’ve never quite figured out what that means, I continue to take it as a compliment. The beauty issue is quite another story. Actually, it is in fact intertwined with many, many of my life stories, which are chronicled in my memoir Confessions of a Middle-Aged Hippie.

Being Authentic

Until just before my book release, the picture of me that lived in cyberspace, (although only two-and-a -half-years old), apparently looked to some people like I was a lot younger than I am. One man told me I look like a single woman still in the dating scene who is in her late 20’s or early 30’s. Yikes!

I immediately booked a photo session, as I wanted a fresh new authentic author photo that represents who I am today. Having always photographed well, I’m grateful that most of the time, I do look good in pictures. However, I admit that like many aging women, I questioned how real would be real enough to accurately represent me now. Tough question for me indeed.

My life, as I write about in my book, has been a journey to shift paradigms and show what is truly possible when we are faced with “impossible” odds. I know that through the magic of Photoshop or air brushing, it is quite easy to appear flawless and young. I asked myself, “Does what I represent in my stories and how I live my life, mean my author photo needs to be au naturel to show that I truly walk my talk?”

Venus – Goddess of Beauty

Venus_Goddess_BeautyAs a highly visual person, (with a very strong Venus influence in my astrological chart), I admit that I love beauty. Youthful, innocent, flawless beauty. Beauty of course is a very subjective topic, yet for me, I sometimes wonder if having been young and beautiful might have been totally wasted on me back when I was. People still tell me I am beautiful. Somehow I hear the subtext “for your age” in the statement, even though it isn’t spoken. Maybe this sounds shallow. It might be.

As a wise younger cousin once said to me, “When you grow up as the pretty one, you learn to walk through the world differently than those of us, (meaning her), who aren’t as pretty.” I guess that’s true, however, I can’t know her experience, as I haven’t walked in her shoes. Although technically I did, as I had to borrow her shoes to get married in, because my four-inch platform heels were vetoed right before the wedding ceremony. Full story in the book.

Accepting Ourselves As We Are

Not only do I love beauty, but I find thin plus beautiful even more attractive. Coming from a family who are generally plump or zaftig, I figured out a clever, (remember I’m smart), way to get thin, by creating a very mysterious gastrointestinal illness. It led me to malabsorb mostly everything I ate, which was often up to 4000 calories a day. The result was I became frightening to look at and dangerously thin.

I write about all this in my book, exposing myself in a very raw and vulnerable way, in hopes that it might be of some help to others. I even include a picture of me at 89 pounds looking like a walking skeleton, taken when my health was so bad that people didn’t think I would make it. But I did. In my case, pictures have always been worth way more than the proverbial thousand words.

Having spent almost an entire decade at an abnormally and unhealthy low weight, I have no idea what I would have aged like, as I moved into middle-age. My fall was so dramatic, that I had truly all but lost hope of ever looking “pretty” again or even getting above 95 pounds. I’m grateful that I did emerge after a very long and arduous climb back. Maybe that is partly why this beauty issue is so emotionally charged for me.

Trusting the Outcome

Photographer and Model_BeautyEven after all I’ve been through in my life, when the photographer asked if I was nervous about the shoot, I had to admit that the idea of having a new picture taken still surprisingly excited me. After all, I’ve had men become totally enamored with me, (before even meeting me), just from my picture, intrigued by my eyes and smile and hopefully, the way I express myself. These might not be the “smart” men that are still out there.

So this middle-aged hippie took the plunge and had a photo shoot done and it turned out wonderfully, resulting in all the photos I use to represent myself in the online world now. We left most of the lines in my lower face and around my eyes, but not all of them. Some of the pictures are still quite unflattering to me, however, I won’t make those public.

Many are exceptional. When I first posted one of these new pictures on Facebook, the comments were incredible. Gorgeous. Beautiful. Radiant. Captured your shining inner spirit. One person asked how long ago the picture had been taken. My reply was, “Three days ago”. They thought it was from when I was much younger. Hmm.

Seeing Our Own Beauty

I’m still working on accepting the beauty I’ve grown into at this current age. I understand that especially in North America, we have set warped and unattainable standards because of our obsession with youthful beauty. Times are changing I believe, with initiatives like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty leading the way.

The changes are long overdue. Especially if we as a population are committed to encouraging young women to love and accept themselves as they are, so they are equipped to reach their full potential. It is imperative to foster self-love, so they don’t diminish themselves, by attempting to be something that is unrealistic and unobtainable for most.

I’d like to be seen as someone who sets an example of what is possible relating to aging. It felt wonderful when a young thirty-year-old friend commented that when she clicked on my new picture online, she was delighted to see I wasn’t trying to look like a 40 or 50-something line-free, flawlessly Photoshopped woman. That I look beautiful and still represent my older age. A great affirmation for me.

The Sensitive Nature of Beauty

Beauty is still an incredibly sensitive subject for me. I know that true beauty does come from inside. It radiates out from the soul. I have written about this in several of my articles including Real Beauty Comes From the Inside Out. Hopefully my life experiences are shining through and I can continue to contribute to this ongoing conversation about aging gracefully, especially in a time when women feel compelled to have all kinds of “work” done to their faces in an effort to look young. Much of the time, ending up not even looking like who they are, but some fake virtually unrecognizable version of themselves. Each to their own. My vote goes to real and authentic.

All that any of us really wants is to be seen for who we are. I encourage us all to shift the way we look and see the true beauty in everyone–regardless of age. Love to hear your thoughts on women, aging and beauty.

If you’re interested in aging gracefully with health and vitality, take the True Health Assessment to start your complimentary health consultation to customize an individualized program to reach your optimal health. Look forward to hearing your health goals and supporting you to reach them.Beauty_Self-Love_Helen Mirren

Beverley Golden

Beverley Golden is a writer, storyteller, peacenik and health & vitality consultant, who loves testing unconventional ways to shift paradigms in the playing fields of health and wellness, storytelling and creativity as a path to world peace. Her passion is turning the “impossible” into the possible, using her own experiences with a lifetime of health issues, to inspire and support others to live their life to the fullest. You're invited to a Complimentary Health Consultation, starting with the True Health Assessment that offers a customized personalized snapshot of how healthy you are in the areas of lifestyle, heredity and nutrition. Contact me to get started!


  • Charlotte says:

    Wow Beverley simply loved your real and true post, thank you for sharing !!

    I can totally relate to this as I have dealt with the splendor element of what we are predicted to look like and what society says blah blah lol

    As I age I recognise how important it is for me to be me and to exhibit the excellent section of me now not simply on-line however offline as well.

    I one hundred percent agree with you and can absolutely see the place you are coming from and how important it is to be your authentic self each and every day.

    Thank you for constantly showing your honesty and sharing your proper self ?

    Always enjoy your posts and find them very inspiring!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and for sharing yourself as well, Charlotte! I appreciated hearing how you are finding your true self and as you get older, see how important it is to share that with the world. I really appreciate hearing that you find my writing inspiring. Knowing that, makes it so worthwhile!

  • I remember back when I was about to turn 30 and I felt like it was the end of the world. Boy, what a stupid time for me. Turning 51 a few days ago, I have never felt better in my entire life.

    Fighting aging is something that humans will never win, so why not just let it happen in the best way possible. I don’t go out without makeup because it even just wearing the SPF protection makes me feel good and proud to say I don’t cover my gray hair… it’s my signature feature.

    When I look at my Mom, she worked her entire life doing physical work, including working a farm on her own. I look at her aging as a sign of experience and working her fingers to the bone to raise my sister and I. My daughter is following the path of my mother, living off the land and I see her aging as the most beautiful thing in the world. It truly shows what she’s made of.
    Gisele Grenier recently posted…Font Pairings for Female EntrepreneursMy Profile

    • What a beautiful sharing of your mother and your daughter Gisele. I always envision people who work on the land as people who are more in touch with the beauty of nature and then themselves because of it. What you shared confirms this. The beliefs about aging are often false cultural constructs and once we remove ourselves from them someone we become freer to be who we are. I do believe the journey of being human is in discovering this as well.

      As far as greying hair, if you are comfortable with it and you wear it as part of who you are, then I say go for it. Love how you call it your signature feature too. I don’t go out without blush and some eye makeup either, and again, I think whatever makes us comfortable is perfect for us. There is no right or wrong, just finding ourselves and living that that to the max. Thanks for sharing about yourself, your wonderful mother and your daughter.

  • Wow Beverley really enjoyed your real and authentic post, thank you for sharing !!

    I can totally relate to this as I have dealt with the beauty aspect of what we are expected to look like and what society says blah blah lol

    As I age I realize how important it is for me to be me and to show the best part of me not just online but offline as well.

    I 100% agree with you and can totally see where you are coming from and how important it is to be your true self each and every day.

    Thank you for always showing your honesty and sharing your true self 🙂

    Always enjoy your posts and find them very inspiring!
    Joan M Harrington recently posted…Ever Wondered Why Your Visitors Do Not Convert Into Customers?My Profile

    • Glad this piece brought you some inner reflection about yourself and beauty, Joan. It is such a big topic for especially us women, that it is nice to hear how as women are gaining years and experience, they are also coming more into accepting who they are. I appreciate you sharing and hearing that you fund this post honest in how I share myself within these larger cultural conversations.

  • It’s funny how those messages from the early years have a way of sticking with us throughout life. My mother’s broken record was “Marry for money, don’t be a sucker like I was.” Nice. Anyway, no question your photo is lovely and it’s refreshing to find a woman who isn’t shy when it comes to talking about her strengths.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…What It Really Means to Find Opportunity in AdversityMy Profile

    • It is interesting how each generation had its beliefs that seemed to become programmed in from a young age, Marquita. I never bought into what the status quo was when I was young and seemed to buck the system instead of being part of it. The “Marry for money, become a wife and mother” mentality certainly was prevalent when I was young too and I am happy to see it has shifted so much for the current younger generation. Appreciate you kind words and I plan to continue to share these topics to keep the conversations alive.

  • I accept my age and am only shocked by the changes when I see an untouched close up! But I don’t like the looks of someone who has done extensive cosmetic surgery to camouflage her age. I do still color my hair which I think has a big influence on how old I look. I am healthy with minimal aches and pains, so very grateful. You ARE beautiful….without regard of your age, Beverley!
    Molly Stevens recently posted…Dear Bernie….A Boomer’s WishlistMy Profile

    • I hear you about untouched closeup photos, Molly. This is one of the reason I find Facetime on my iPhone so scary. I also agree with you about the women who are having so much work done that they become “unreal” looking and I find I am staring at their lips or any other unnatural “touched” up parts of their face. I still colour my hair to and I also agree with you that hair colour has a big influence on how people perceive your age. The trend is apparently to go au natural and grey is fashionable. Not for me. I also am healthier now than ever so am very grateful. I appreciate your kind words about my beauty and I only hope I am growing into it as I continue to age.

  • Karen says:

    I enjoy beauty, but beauty of the earth. Nature, sun, moonlit nights, animals. I have never been one to look at another persons looks for who they are. Yes, I want the person to keep themselves clean, but for me I look for the kindness in the eyes. Then I know that person may be worth getting to know. Now that so much interaction is online, I rarely look at the photos of the person, but read their words to know if they are kind and caring. Thanks for being so honest.
    Karen recently posted…Let’s Get Real Friday Party #129My Profile

    • You have such a healthy attitude about beauty, Karen. I also love the beauty of nature…flowers, trees, the sunsets, the clouds. So much of our human inspiration comes from nature and yet we “compete” for beauty in a way nature does not. I have learned as I have gained years and hopefully wisdom to look past the external and to see someone’s soul as you mention. The soul shines through a person’s eyes. The online world certainly can be delusional and yet too many people are tied to what they see, without getting to know about what makes the person who they are. Thanks for your thoughts and I appreciate hearing you found this an honest post too.

  • Dianne says:

    I think it is important to accept that ageing will happen and to learn to see the beauty we carry within us always. I never want to be defined by my external appearance, but I never want to deny it either. I don’t think beauty ever fades. It is transformed.

    • I think ideally it would be a wonderful world if we were able to accept the aging process and honour that beauty changes while accepting it Dianne. You sound like you have a very healthy acceptance of beauty for yourself. I love how you said that you do not want to be defined by it, but don’t want to deny it either. Beauty is timeless and I agree with you it simply shifts and transforms as we gain wisdom and experience.

  • Reba Linker says:

    Hi Beverley, Really, really appreciate you hosting a forum for this topic. It is very much on my mind as I am starting to host a new TV show, and I am doing it now, in my 50’s rather than when I was younger, with smoother skin, etc. I wrestled a bit with this topic in an earlier post discussing cosmetic surgery, and again in my recent post on radical self-acceptance. I believe that aging gracefully and beautifully and, yes, youthfully (!) is a wonderful model to share with the world. You do it beautifully and I am doing my best to catch up with you and with my own ‘funny voices’ that tell me, in Nora Ephron’s immortal words: “I Feel Bad About My Neck!” I guess humor, intelligence, and inner beauty are powerful tools we wield against agist prejudices. Big kudos to you for hosting this important discussion, xox, Reba
    Reba Linker recently posted…Radical Self-AcceptanceMy Profile

    • Thanks so much for joining in the conversation, Reba. I also see this as a big topic that many of us are wanting to engage in. Congratulations on taking the leap into hosting your own TV show. I am not sure I would have the guts to do that at this point in my my life. I’ve also written about this topic of aging and beauty in several previous posts and each time it is very interesting to “hear” the responses of women of different ages. I think that times are changing and that younger women are not faced with the same stereotypes the generation I am in faced. It is an ongoing conversation and it always amazes me the perspectives that women share, as each voice in the conversation helps to change the dynamics of the playing field for us all.

  • Delia says:

    What a great subject to discuss, Bev! I used to pay so much attention to looks and beauty when I was an young adult, but really not so much anymore, LOL! Of course, I wanted to be known as both beautiful and smart, and worked hard on keeping up with these standards.

    Some of it was all good, it made me strong. Some of it wasn’t so great as it made me think you have to have outside beauty to be happy.

    Luckily, with age, hehe, you realize all this is self-induced drama that’s really not important. I’m glad I’ve reached the age where I’m very comfortable in my own skin.
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    • Thanks so much Delia, as I’m happy to see this as a great topic to discuss. I think all of us were more preoccupied with our looks and beauty when we were younger. It just seems to go with the territory of growing up. It’s great to see so many of us here who wanted to be both beautiful and smart, as it didn’t always appear that way when I was younger. Maybe with the feminist movement that started to change though.

      Yes, all of our experiences do make us who we are today and for many of us, that means we are now stronger. And as you also discovered outer beauty is not all it is hyped up to be. With age, we mature and change our focus. And hopefully as you have, we become more comfortable in our own skin.

  • K. Lee Banks says:

    Funny, even before I read the post, I wast thinking how attractive you always look in your pictures! 🙂

    I’m one who also wants to age gracefully, especially since I have a hubby who’s 13 years younger than I am while I’m approaching 58, but some health issues do interfere with exercising as much as I’d like to help me lose weight, and with maintaining my skin’s maximum health.

    So some days I feel much older, and other days younger, but at least I do feel that I have more than average intelligence, especially since I earned my M.Ed. degree at the age of 50 and now I’m a doctoral candidate (likely to become Dr. Banks this year of 2016).
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…Be Yourself Not Someone Else – February 18 InspirationMy Profile

    • Thanks for your complimentary words on my photos, Karen. I think for each of us aging gracefully has different meanings and different triggers. Having a younger husband would definitely be one of them. Health and vitality is so key as you mention to how we age. Next week I will be sharing a post about my mother (who is about to turn 100) and she really is an example of what is possible when it comes to aging gracefully. Although I don’t feel old, when I look in the mirror, I realize that my youthful beauty is not going to attract people to me anymore. It does have to be about something much more inner than exterior.

      Congrats on pursuing your M.Ed! That is so amazing, as keeping the brain engaged and active is one of the key ways to stave off aging too. How wonderful to not let age stop you from pursuing a dream and I think you perfectly suite the title of Dr. Banks! All the best this year with that.

  • Deb Nelson says:

    Aging gracefully – what a topic with plenty of viewpoints. I think girls are encouraged from the day they’re born to find value in their looks – unlike boys, who are supposed to be strong and emotionless (criticized for this later in life) protectors of girls. Oh, I truly hope this is changing. I love that you spell out how so many women wrestle with acknowledging their beauty and brains – and, of course, you bring in your humor to lighten it up a bit so we can sit back and ponder these questions. I feel as though each generation I am more comfortable in my own skin – expressing my opinions and listening to others (whether in agreement or opposing). Beauty wins out for lots of us as we realize that being true to ourselves makes us shine the brightest. Thanks for this post.
    Deb Nelson recently posted…On World Cancer Day, This Book Title Speaks For All of Us: F*ck Off CancerMy Profile

    • Reading your response, Deb, I couldn’t help but think of what I just heard Carole King say in an interview about how she was encouraged as a young girl to aspire to find the perfect husband and the white picket fence dreams that many young girls grew up believing in in the fifties. I also hope things are changing and I see that younger generations of girls aren’t as tied to the media images of beauty as we might have been back in earlier generations. I think it is sad if young women give up being seen as smart, in a desire to be seen as pretty, as we all know, there is room for both. And yes, once we realize that being true to who we are, (once we figure out who that is) is the only way to really shine ourselves out into the world. Thanks for your perspective and appreciate you sharing your thoughts!

  • I remember your Dove beauty post, Beverley and my memories of the Zits years when my parents encouraged me to develop a personality while I fought my enemy The Acne. 🙂

    Can I be honest? I am loving growing older. Somehow as the years go by, I am coming into my own and while I am proud of my younger self – the corporate professional who wore stilettos to work as well as with her jogging outfit while shopping on a Sunday, the 3 shades of eye shadow blended beautifully and the Joan Collins jackets – while holding her own in a male dominated profession and breaking through glass ceilings, I am equally proud of the lady who looks back at me in the mirror now and whose idea of make up is eyeliner, kohl and lipstick and who doesn’t care what others wear or think because I AM.

    Age is a state of mind and all I really want is to present myself in as graceful a manner possible. I confess I look at least 10 years younger than I am and the secret is a healthy lifestyle, lots of laughter and being a Mommy to a frisky little dog. 🙂
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    • It is so refreshing to hear that you are enjoying growing older, Vatsala. Bravo to you for that! Knowing that we are meant to go through biographical cycles, it is natural when we are in our teens and early twenties to want to be stylish and see ourselves as hip and en vogue with the world around us. The hope is that as we age and move into our thirties, forties, fifties and sixties and beyond, that we honour our journey and accept who we are more and more fully. It sounds like you are thoroughly enjoying life and staying young because of your attitude plus a little bit of help from you wonderful and frisky little dog. Thanks so much for sharing more about your perspective on beauty and aging!

  • Joyce Hansen says:

    I love looking forward to your posts each week Beverley. You always are unfolding another chapter of your life. While we all have our own perceptions about what is beautiful, what media dictates to us is often so unrealistic. Pre-teen role images leave us thinking this is an image we have to spend the rest of our life chasing. Even the most beautiful women in the world age, and we can’t believe what’s happened to them. We need to remember that beauty is transient, and every second we are alive we are beautiful.
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    • Thanks so much for your kind words about looking forward to my posts each week, Joyce. It always means a lot to know people enjoy what I am sharing. I agree with you that what media often shows us is the norm, is unrealistic. I see how our culture at least still idolizes youth and we women seem to be chasing that ideal often for much of our lives. Until we get “smart” and realize that beauty is an inside job. Yes, beauty is transient and yet at each age and each stage there is an inherent beauty if we chose to see it and share it.

  • Kimberly says:

    Great article! I love your honesty… I think the thing that is hardest for me is that I don’t feel like I’m getting older – I still think of myself in my 20’s! But the changes I see in my face force me to look at the fact that time is marching on. I guess its a good reminder to be in each moment and not take things for granted 🙂
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    • If you talk with most women or men, I think that we all feel like we are still in our 20’s regardless of our age, Kimberly. I feel as young now as I did then and now that I am healthy, I have more energy and vitality too. As a highly visual society we seem to be obsessed with the external, the way we look, and yet we all “know” that our beauty truly comes from inside and is not merely based on external looks. Appreciate you sharing, as you are much younger and it shows us all that each of us in our own way, is faced with the same aging challenges.

  • I, like you have been told that I am too smart for my own good and like you.. what the heck does that mean anyways. lol When I lost my 60 lbs on WW I said I would do a modeling photo shoot and it did a number for my confidence because for many years I had a negative feeling about myself.. I still find I have that issue.. but I look back and those pictures now and think, wow, I’ve come through a lot and while I was younger (damnit) I think I look better now and it isn’t just beauty, but life and who I am that just makes me amazing.. wow, that’s new… I said that! and I didn’t choke! lol
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    • Bravo Kristen! I am so happy to hear you say how amazing you are and actually feel it. That must be wonderful to witness how far you’ve come. It’s always good to honour ourselves and sounds like your photo shoot was a really positive experience for you, even if you were younger, you still can chronicle your accomplishments. I love pictures, which might be because I’ve generally always photographed well. I wish I had the opportunity to be healthy and young and smart and pretty all at the same time. Seems one of those puzzle pieces was always missing for me, mostly the “healthy” part. Thanks for sharing yourself and keep seeing yourself as amazing…because you are!

  • Teresa says:

    I commend you Beverley on embracing the role or example of a woman who truly accepts herself inside and out. I too believe this is what is needed in the US. Women truly want to be seen, heard and valued. But how to embody this can be confusing and against many ‘norms.’ The meaning is much deeper than the mere statement of those words and certainly beyond the skin deep obsessions. It is what our evolution requires and it takes brave women to lead the way.
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    • Thanks so much for seeing this in me Teresa. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve really transformed to the point where I appreciate myself for where I am and how far I’ve come in my life. There is something about youthful beauty that I still find so appealing and yet, as human beings, I know the real beauty comes from within and shines out into the world. Appreciate your support and understanding too.

  • You really helped pave the way for many in this discussion by being so open and honest about it. We often think someone is either beautiful OR smart and no one can both. You’ve proved this untrue in many ways, Beverley. Being authentic is attractive on all levels. No one likes a hypocrite, that’s for sure. As women, I think it’s especially hard to accept ourselves as the years pile on. Men don’t seem to struggle in the same way. It’s too easy to fall into the “girl on the cover” trap and not see ourselves measuring up to the way others define beauty in the media. I know I do it every time I go to the grocery store and wait in line by the magazines. Or watch an awards show on TV. I go from feeling okay about myself that morning, to, “I’m fat and dumpy,” in a matter of minutes. Though, it’s ridiculous to compare ourselves to women 20 or 30 years younger. While aging gracefully may be a bit of a fight most days, your encouragement will inspire us all. This was so good to read!

    • What you describe I would guess happens to all of us women, Meghan. I only hope the younger generation is not being impacted the same way that we were. You’re much younger then I am too and it shows that this insecurity seems to run very deep within women’s psyches. Men definitely don’t struggle in the same way. I also agree with you that when you have an inner sense of worth that somehow radiates out. And I think women have been striving to show they can be smart and beautiful for decades now. I appreciate your kine words about me paving the way, as honestly, I feel this is part of my lifelong journey of learning to accept myself as I am at this place in my life. The beat goes on and on and on… Appreciate you sharing your story too!

  • Trish says:

    Aging gracefully has never been my goal. I intend to keep fighting NOT to look my age, especially when hearing how I “look good for my age”…. oooh, how I don’t like hearing that line. This makes me want to fight aging even more. If I were rich, I know that I would be seeking to find Madonna’s plastic surgeon. Don’t get me wrong, I would never want to look though I have Stretch ‘n Seal on my face, but I would loooove to have that liiiiittle tuck to remove some of my early aging lines.

    • Love your honesty about fighting aging, Trish. There are so many options these days to choose from and as long as you are solid in your own choice for yourself, I say go for it. I am honestly horrified when I hear that 20-year-olds are having “work” done on their faces as this reinforces the culture we have created. That it is not okay to age and have it show. Hopefully you’ll find your ways to continue to fight father time and keep the wrinkles at bay!

  • This is such a huge topic for women, Beverley, and I love how you address it. We’re always in that conundrum of, “I want to be known for my brain,” yet, wait, “I want to look pretty too!” As you say, our cultural focus on youth and beauty sets an impossible standard.
    But I simply love: “All that any of us really wants is to be seen for who we are.” That’s it in a nutshell.
    Love your honesty, your vulnerability, and as always, your beautiful way of putting things.
    Susan Mary Malone recently posted…17 Ways to Change Your WorldMy Profile

    • We women do live a conundrum indeed, Susan. I would hope that by now women could be both beautiful and smart and that would be considered the norm. Our cultural focus is still on young and beautiful and yet from all the comments I’ve received about this piece from younger women (mostly on my FB page), I see how the topic is still a cultural hot button, yet somehow the younger women are less fixated on “looks” than we were in my generation. Or maybe it was only me. 😉 Thanks so much for your words, as I truly appreciate that you see me as being honest and vulnerable and that you enjoy my writing style too! It truly means a lot!

  • Beth Niebuhr says:

    When I was growing up, my parents told me to be quiet about my brains. I was to not offer to answer a question unless nobody else volunteered. Come to think of it, that indicated that I knew more than those other kids. How was that not appearing smart? People were surprised that I had the highest IQ in my high school class (a small class of about 130). I took an advanced math class with mostly boys from the year behind me because my parents insisted that I take more secretarial classes the year before. A couple of the boys offered to help me. I got As and they got Bs. As you might guess from that, I was attractive. Through the years I’ve treasured my brains more than my looks, which aren’t remarkable anyway. Ah, the musiings of an aging woman. Beverley, I admire you both for your brains and beauty, both of which you have in abundance and also your generosity, which you share often.
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    • It’s so interesting to read the changes in how women were raised from yours and my generation to now, Beth. I have to say my mother was very, very supportive and always believed I could do anything so I am grateful I had that encouragement. It is still shocking to me to hear how women were not supposed to be smart or to flaunt their brains in the times when women were still aspiring to grow up, find a husband and become a homemaker. Not that anything is wrong with that if that is a choice, however, from an early age, I KNEW, talking about recipes and what I was going to make for dinner, would never work for me. I think having “brains” is a big plus as well. Recently I reconnected with one of my male pals from business school from 48 years ago and the first thing he said to me was “You were SO smart”. Hmm. Very interesting for me to hear that. Thanks for sharing your story as for younger women who didn’t have these imposed limitations, it is a good reminder of how far we have come. I also appreciate your kind words about admiring me for my brains and beauty and that you see me as someone who shares them openly with others! Very appreciated. Thank you.

  • Wonderful post, Beverley! It truly shows the beauty that is within you. Thank you for sharing and reminding me that there is more to me than looks. I am going to check out the True Health Assessment soon. =)
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    • The responses I am getting from all ages of women is truly fascinating Sabrina. Depending on what generation you grew up, seems how “looks” focused you are. Younger women seem much more conscious of being less focused on how they look, and seeing that as only a small part of the whole. This is very encouraging to hear and see. Looks are definitely superficial and don’t last. Cultivating inner beauty seems to live on. Look forward to seeing your True Health Assessment results when you do it and having a conversation, if you’re open to it, after that!

  • Tamuria says:

    I never gave beauty, my own, much thought until recently as the signs of age are showing. I watch with wonder and a slight detachment as more wrinkles appear and trips to the hairdresser to cover the grey are more frequent. Funny, I think I probably feel more beautiful now than I ever did when I was younger. I certainly have more confidence and find I’m comfortable with going out without make-up and (often) in paint and glue covered clothes (because of the job). When I was younger I wouldn’t think about leaving the house without make-up – I needed it a lot less back then. Lol. People tend to take less notice of you as you age and I think I like that. This was a really thought-provoking and honest post and, as always, a joy to read.
    Tamuria recently posted…DIY MOSAIC MADNESS – HOW TO MAKE MASTERPIECESMy Profile

    • I’m really impressed that you can watch your own aging process with detachment Tami. I honestly wish I could, however, as you’ve read, somehow this is a hot topic for me. My daughter often jokes with me when we are going for a walk and I say to her that I have to put on my blush and mascara, as I won’t go out in public without a little bit of makeup on. She (even at 36) has never really cared about “girly” makeup and is actually beautiful without. People say she looks like me so I am not sure why I am so “shy” to go without any makeup. I also am opposite you in that I do care that women become invisible as we age. I want to be seen for my looks as well as my brains. I read a gorgeous poem a man wrote called “middle-aged woman” and it was breathtaking to read that some men actually do see the beauty and wisdom of aging women. Oh to find that man…of course he still has to “look” good too. Big topic for me and I”m happy it is offering some new perspectives and thoughts to the larger conversation! Appreciate you and your support always too.

  • This is by far your most touching blog for a dozen reasons, but mostly for exposing your vulnerability. Yes, you did that in your book, but there you told a story. Here, you are alive. This is now. You are a beautiful woman & I never saw you. Your words & actions tell me so.

    I grew up with a sister 2 years older who looked like Elizabeth Taylor. Once I saw that her claim in the world was to be her looks, mine had to be brains. And that was how we were known. But a funny thing happened a we matured. We are in our mid to late 70’s. She can’t go out without her eye makeup on & her hair done. She obsesses over her appearance. I never used any makeup in my life. I have hardly any wrinkles & more than that, my hubby tells me I’m beautiful. I think I’m naturally pretty & like my features. I believe I’ve aged well & still have brains without any worry around my looks.
    So much to say about Aging Gracefully & beauty. Must be why I’ve been doing a series of blogs, every now & then.

    • Firstly, thank you so much for your sincere support always, Roslyn. Beauty has always been such a big topic for me and yet when I was young, being as shy as I was, people were afraid to approach the “ice princess” they saw. My brains were a given and I always strove to stand out for that and not my looks. I appreciate that you see me as being beautiful without ever seeing me, as I know on an intellectual level that beauty comes from the inside.

      As far as your sister and you, it is very interesting to hear how each of you took on your own individual “role” in the family. You always sound like you are very comfortable with who you are and have been from an early age. Like your sister, I won’t go out with out some blush and eye makeup too. My makeup is subtle though, as I find older women who where lots of makeup look quite silly and stand out for the wrong reasons. It’s beautiful to hear that your husband sees you as beautiful and I think that is because you’ve always carried yourself as a beautiful person. It’s tough for those of us who “love beauty” and realize that we won’t be looked at the way those with youthful beauty are. As we both have heard, at a certain age, women become invisible to the world and have to rely on other aspects of who they are. There is much to say about Aging Gracefully and what that means and how possible that is. I’ll also continue to write about it, as I think it is a very important piece of our current cultural conversation. It’s easy to say that beauty comes from the inside, however, it is also challenging for many people to live that!