For many years, many women have obsessed over their looks and are horrified at the prospect of aging prematurely. There’s a lucrative market in selling anti-aging products because of the increasing emphasis on physical attributes. The anti-aging cosmetics market size is expected to reach $60.26 billion by 2026, a report by Globe News Wire says.
What is it in aging that many women fear? Elizabeth Bathory, also infamously called “The Bloody Countess,” feared growing old so much that she was rumored to have bathed in the blood of young girls to preserve her youth. Perhaps you have also reached for the anti-aging serums or retinol cream at one time or another. In an era where Botox is the best invention since sliced bread, is there such a thing as “aging gracefully”?
Aging Attitudes Towards Different Age Groups
According to a study published by The Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, aging is a “multi-faceted phenomenon” and can mean different things across various age groups. Views on aging tend to be complex and multidimensional. People are aware of what it means to be categorized as “younger,” “middle-aged,” or “older.”Thus, age stereotypes would reflect beliefs about the physical, social, and psychological attributes of younger, middle-aged, and older people.
But What Is “Aging Gracefully”?
Try as you might, you can never fight the sands of time. When you say “aging gracefully,” you would think of the likes of celebrities like Dame Helen Mirren or Diane Lane who embrace their age and are doing it so beautifully.
Surgery.org describes the term as “looking old, but embracing it” or “showing signs of aging, but still powering through with life.” At the same time, the term might seem to be showing aging in a negative light. It is, rather, an attitude that people have as they go through the different stages of life.
Different Women, Different Stories
Award-winning author Georgia Clark is the founder of Generation Women, a monthly event held in New York that celebrates the stories of women and how their stories on how they age gracefully and what it means to them. In an article with Well and Good, Clark shares what aging means to different women at the different stages of their life.
Women in their 20s describe growing older as their way of becoming
When you are in your 20s, you are just gaining your wings as you venture about into an entirely new journey. This is the stage where you embark on a new career, move into a new apartment, or recover from heartbreak.
Many women in their 20s are just beginning to discover more about themselves and are entering the world with confidence. As someone in your 20s, you will make mistakes along the way, but that is what your 20s are all about: becoming who you are and discovering who you want to be.
Women in their 30s describe growing older as settling down, starting a family, and making career breakthroughs
Only as you grow older will you discover what you want in life and what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. This is why many tend to be career shifters in their 30s, sometimes even moving to entirely different industries. This is also the age where you usually are in a serious and long-term relationship and are looking to settle down and start a family of your own.
Your 30s are a journey of looking for stability because you already want to have a sense of permanence in your career, as well as your relationships.
Women in their 40s describe growing older as finding magic in the proverbial middle-ages
When women hit their 40s, they already have the wisdom in them. No longer the naive younger women in their 20s, they find that they are in the middle of their lives, most likely with families of their own and an established career.
At this stage of life, you are already grateful for what life has taught you so far and are excited for what comes next.
Women in their 50s describe growing older as finding the beauty in their bodies
Women who hit their 50s are most likely already in their menopausal stages and just about getting ready for retirement. They are also dealing with their children who are getting older, as well as their changing bodies.
This stage of life is where you will discover that your body is changing, but you will not love it any less. It is where you reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
Women in their 60s and 70s describe growing older as their lives coming full circle
When you hit your 60s and 70s, you have most likely already retired. Your children will most likely have families of their own, and you now have grandchildren. You believe that life has come full circle at this age, and a broader picture comes into play. It is where you can tell yourself that you want to go independent living for the rest of your life.
You can only look back at the past at this age, and you can focus on your needs. Aging gracefully can mean different things at different ages. Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a state of mind.