Aging Gracefully In The Instagram Era - une femme d'un certain âge

Aging Gracefully In The Instagram Era

Susan B. of une femme d'un certain age wears Kosas lipstick in "Thrillest."

Or, What’s A Little Facetune Between Friends?

Social media has connected us in ways we never thought possible a few decades ago. I’ve made (good, real) friends all over the world thanks first to online support groups, and then through blogging. It’s been a wonderful way to find and build relationships with people I would never have crossed paths with otherwise.

The downside to social media (especially visually-based platforms like Instagram, Facebook and blogs) is that it has to some degree become just another stream of commercialized, filtered, airbrushed, images. Nobody’s life is as “perfect” as their Instagram feed. It’s human nature to want to put our best selves forward. And it’s also human nature to compare our messy, mottled, wrinkled, pile-of-laundry-on-the-bed lives to someone’s carefully curated feed and feel a bit inadequate.

I had a conversation with a friend recently about the degree that we’re willing to show our aging faces, necks (!), and bodies on social media. There are all kinds of apps out there that will smooth away the wrinkles, remove the age spots, make the lips look fuller. As another friend said, “why wouldn’t you want to look your best?”

But then I think, when does it stop? When do we stop viewing signs of age as flaws that need to be corrected? Ageism is a huge problem in our culture. It keeps people from being hired. It makes doctors and other professionals take our concerns less seriously. And our own negative attitudes about aging can have a detrimental impact on our health (both physical and mental) over time.

Shifting Perspective, Aging Gracefully?

I recently watched a Ted talk by America Ferrera. It wasn’t about age, per se, but about embracing what makes you different from the dominant cultural ideal. So much of what she said resonated with me, especially about being made to feel of “less value.” And “who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value…” And “…it is possible to be the person who genuinely wants to see change while also being the person whose actions keep things the way they are.” As long as we are buying into the idea that looking younger is “better,” (and manipulating our images to accomplish this) we’re helping to keep things the way they are.

Which isn’t to say that I’m going to quit my skincare routine, or stop wearing lipstick. Healthy and vibrant can co-exist with age. But we’re never going to change our culture’s attitudes toward aging by trying to erase it. Aging gracefully means different things to different people. Perhaps one small way to embrace our age is to not be afraid to let it show.

What do you think?

Above, I took this using the Portrait mode on my iPhone, mostly to blur my messy house in the background. 😆 Otherwise un-retouched. That’s my new favorite red lipstick, Kosas Weightless Lipcolor in “Thrillest.” Stays on, is moisturizing, and doesn’t bleed! Also cruelty-free and paraben-free.

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  1. Elizabeth
    June 15, 2019 / 1:31 am

    I love this post and completely agree! I recently came upon the phrase “aging without apology” and that is what I endeavor to do – probably while wearing lipstick 😉

    • Lea
      June 15, 2019 / 7:08 am

      Especially while wearing lipstick… and I will wear it in the colour of my choice. ☺

  2. Cecile Page
    June 15, 2019 / 4:32 am

    Thank you for this post. As I’m nearing 65 this year my most frequent phone calls are about Medicare! I don’t feel old enough for these calls but apparently I’m wrong. In some ways I see negative changes in me : lips thinner, a bit more jowl-y than I’d like, etc. but at the same time I feel more “myself” than ever. I don’t get excited about the latest anything – be it fashion, movies, newest restaurant. I don’t have to buy or do these things immediately or at all. That’s not to say I don’t care but now as the boobs, waist and hips shift so has my attitude about me and life around me. It’s more precious everyday. As my mother would say “I’ve earned every wrinkle and laugh line “. I’m thankful for your blog and other gals’ blogs too who have reached the age of “I’m not dead yet” but instead, I’m living life better. I’m getting good at “No” too!

    • Renee
      June 15, 2019 / 7:23 am

      Today is my 65th birthday and I am thrilled to be here! I call it “the gift of the sixties.” I don’t care about a lot of things I thought were important. I am free of responsibility of family, yet enjoy the fruit through my beautiful grandkids, on my terms, ha! I had lost myself for so long, and have been working to love and enjoy myself for the first time in my life. My heroines are those who are still living a vibrant life in their 80’s and 90’s. We are still young! It is truly in the mind. Love to you.

    • JoAnne
      June 15, 2019 / 8:00 am

      On the I’m not dead yet…I continue to get ads for choosing cremation! The only fiery that I want is a good red lipstick and a great pair of red shoes, thank you!

      • June 15, 2019 / 11:20 am

        I do want cremation or some even more earth-friendly end when the time comes, but please no time soon. Except in the event of dementia. Checking out then; no reason to be kept alive as a “thing”. That is very different from physical, sensory or intellectual handicaps. Predatory publicity should be criminalised.

        • Kathryn Parker
          June 16, 2019 / 5:54 pm

          Two of my beloved Grandparents had dementia, my favourite Aunt and my Father. I did not regard any of them as ‘things’ while they were declining with dementia. We do not have the option of euthanasia in the country I live in. Because of the callous way I saw my Grandmother and father treated by medical staff and caregivers – who indeed saw them as less than human, as ‘things’ and treated them as such – spoken to harshly, dehydrated, starved and no pain relief – I have very little paitence with people who cannot treat another human being with kindness, no matter their level of functioning or however high their care needs are.

    • Cathy Blackwell
      June 15, 2019 / 8:07 am

      YES!!! I could not agree more! Thank you for your eloquence!

  3. June 15, 2019 / 5:06 am

    I’m with you, Sue. I’m all for trying to look our best as we get older, but it should be OUR best, not manufactured by filters and airbrushing. We rant that magazines hold young girls up to an unrealistic idea of beauty, and then we play right into it ourselves.

  4. Cathy
    June 15, 2019 / 5:27 am

    Very well said. Aging is an honor and privilege we do not all get to experience!

  5. Carol Wayne
    June 15, 2019 / 5:34 am

    I agree…I think it is important to put your best self forward…for me at least. But I have a job where I am relatively safe …my friend works in sales and even though she is their top salesperson, she still dyes her hair and never talks about when she went to school or anything that would date her.

    Ageism is so powerful…whatever baby steps we can take to get past it are needed.

    LOVE the lipstick!!

  6. Suzanne
    June 15, 2019 / 5:36 am

    I have never airbrushed a photo of myself. Many pics are of me with my grandchildren, wrinkles, grey hair, along with big smiles and love. Being of Irish decent, we tend to wrinkle more than Southern Europeans. I embrace my heritage as well as the wrinkles. I do however, use prescription renova, and it really has made a difference. I think you are beautiful!

  7. Téa
    June 15, 2019 / 5:38 am

    beautifully said!

  8. Teresa Landers
    June 15, 2019 / 6:08 am

    Very timely post. First there is a difference between “looking your best” and misrepresenting your appearance. If the people who see a social media post would be surprised by seeing the IRL you, then something is amiss. Second, if one didn’t spend so much time on fakery, maybe the there would be more opportunity for real improvement.

    Social media has had the effect of ramping up pressure to the perfect in every way. We are doing this to ourselves. We should just stop.

  9. June 15, 2019 / 6:10 am

    Such a difficult subject. I never filter the spots on my face and legs nor the wrinkles on my arms. Although I am very tempted where the latter is concerned. On the other hand I do only wear tops with 3/4 sleeves to hide the worst of my wrinkles. And I do wear eyeshadow. Difficult, difficult.
    You my dear look lovely in this portrait.

    • Anon
      June 15, 2019 / 7:54 am

      Aging is the great equalizer. True beauty comes from the soul.

    • RoseAG
      June 15, 2019 / 8:33 am

      I’m a reader of “how not to look old” pins on Pinterest. I won’t be giving up my clamdiggers (a major old look), at least not at the beach where the shorter length is nice, but I was struck by one statement that always covering up your arms was an old look.

      Sometimes our efforts to hide our flaws can make us stand out. While we may notice our wrinkles or sags that doesn’t mean that everyone else is judging us so closely – they’re busy with their own insecutiries! If everybody is out in the heat, wear that sleeveless tank. It’s better to fit in than to stand out sometimes.

  10. Susan Farris
    June 15, 2019 / 6:15 am

    Keep on aging! I do . Love the lipstick and am glad to see the brand as it’s one I’ve seen advertised on social media and wondered about. Let us know if you try any of the others like Wander or Thrive. They all look good but I’m reluctant to spend money for something I can’t see first. Thanks!

  11. June 15, 2019 / 6:33 am

    What resonates most powerfully for me in your post is the sentence you quote from America Ferrera: “It is possible to be the person who genuinely wants to see change while also being the person whose actions keep things the way they are.” Bam!
    Our declared politics (and I really appreciate the generosity of her adverb — “genuinely”) and our daily behaviours . . . I keep trying, though. I must admit that the “perfected appearance” thing has never felt graspable for me and so I’ve never tried for it. I have messy curly hair and am inept enough with makeup that mascara and lipstick are as good as it gets. I suspect it’s much more difficult for those who are losing something with age that tended to open doors for them. . . .

    • Susan B
      June 15, 2019 / 6:49 am

      Bam, indeed! Her talk is only about 15 minutes, and really worth watching. 🙂

  12. Su
    June 15, 2019 / 6:33 am

    Skincare and make-up are just making the most of what you have, but how could I pay any heed to the opinions of someone pretending to be someone else, courtesy of photoshop? Luckily you look fine without, anyway, and real!

    • Jane Burkhart
      June 15, 2019 / 10:03 am

      Wonderful post! Thank you!

  13. Alexandra
    June 15, 2019 / 6:40 am

    Agreed and you look beautiful!

  14. Eileen
    June 15, 2019 / 6:44 am

    Great post, and great question. I’m n Italy right now, and I notice older women looking like classy grown women. It is making me re-think certain buzz words my friends use to describe their style, “ youthful, edgy, fun, rock and roll, hip”. I’m thinking I’d rather be described as a European lady, if that’s possible….just a thought….

    • Daniella
      June 15, 2019 / 2:10 pm

      Oh, that’s a smart move!!

      • Kate Marshall
        June 15, 2019 / 6:44 pm

        … my first thought on reading this was about European women in film: Judy Dench, Helen Mirren, Catherine Deneuve, Sophia Loren. These stunning ladies play chic or dowdy equally happily, and seem so comfortable in their skins.
        on this side of the pond, plastic surgery appears ‘necessary’ to in stay in film. it’s a mug’s game – you’re not only older, it begins to look like desperation, ultimately doomed because there will always be the younger, dewy-skinned coming along.
        most days, I ‘wear my wrinkles with pride.’

    • Jill Ann
      June 18, 2019 / 2:54 pm

      I’m in Italy right now, too! My daughters & I have done a lot of people-watching the last few days and have seen some very elegant European women. There’s just a look about them! So when I get home, I’ll be searching out some flowy skirts and dresses to look polished-yet-comfortable in the hot summer months.

  15. Ann Molloy
    June 15, 2019 / 7:02 am

    A quick, on the fly, comment to tell you how much this 53-year-old appreciates you, your excellent style, and (even more) your thoughtful approach to life. You are a true inspiration and the one blog I read every day you post.

  16. Janet
    June 15, 2019 / 7:18 am

    I totally agree. I will be 65 this Fall and I am happy I am getting to age. My mother passed away at the age of 55 so I know that aging is a privilege. I am learning to love my body. I have already stopped dying my hair and love my healthy, gray locks. I wish more women would “be their age” and not look at the aging process as a negative. Look at the alternative.

  17. Penelope
    June 15, 2019 / 7:26 am

    I must admit I have used a gentle filter app from time to time. Somehow what I see in the mirror is more acceptable to me than what the camera captures. The worst is when the cell phone camera turns around by mistake! Yikes! I think when I look in the mirror, I see all the ages I have been and my life force energy and well, my vision is not perfect. The camera somehow magnifies the wrinkles, spots and droop. I will try being more accepting of the camera’s point of view. A valuable discussion!

    • Alison M Gunn
      June 15, 2019 / 5:57 pm

      No camera, even the very best, can capture a 3 dimensional being in anything but 2 dimensions. Photographers use light, strategically placed, to create ‘interesting’ shadows, but not shadows that make one look tired or worn. We would all need to stand in the right light all the time with full makeup on if we want to look our gorgeous ‘perfect’ selves, an impossible standard at any age. Most of the worst of the way the normal aging face looks comes from seeing yourself in shadow, or having a color reflected up to your skin that turns it a horrible shade, or brings out your redness. I have never known a truly old person fuss about any of this; they gave up the battle of aging skin long before, because the older you get, the more you know what’s truly important, and what can be jettisoned.

  18. June 15, 2019 / 8:00 am

    Yours is the first fashion blog I ever followed. Approaching 50 myself back then, I was drawn by your French flair (being a huge francophone myself) and by your blog’s title. Now 56, I continue to enjoy your take on fashion. “Healthy and vibrant can co-exist with age.” Yes indeed!
    Always a bit of an iconoclast, I point out ageism when I find it–in person, and on social media. Thank you for your graceful words on this important subject.
    Ageism is perhaps the stupidest of prejudices, for when you put down old people for being old, you put down your future self.

  19. Linda B
    June 15, 2019 / 8:02 am

    Great post! I have purposely stayed away from almost all social media, other than subscribing to some select blogs that I find interesting and empowering–like yours. I have enjoyed developing my own sense of style and beauty through my adult life–and it was quite a journey at times, as I have never been a conventional beauty! But I am past caring.

    I am currently evolving into a whole new life chapter–three weeks ago I retired and moved to Oregon for the summer to help my daughter with her first child (who is also my first grandchild). So much less motivation to “do my face” or choose interesting clothes to wear. Will this be permanent? I am curious! And open-minded. As an active 61 year old, I don’t feel particularly old, but maybe this will be a whole new way for how I choose to present myself to the world! Granny? Small town dweller? Stay at home creative person? Hmm.

  20. Cathy Blackwell
    June 15, 2019 / 8:04 am

    Thank you for the TED link (it’s extraordinary) and for your thoughts. If I can’t accept who I am (without filters) then how can I possibly expect anyone else to. Being inauthentic is just too exhausting to me now. America Ferrera said so many moving and motivating things I will have to give it another listen.
    I would also like to say ditto to Cecile Page’s comments!

  21. Robin
    June 15, 2019 / 8:21 am

    If you get the chance, go see “Georgia O’Keeffe: Art, Image, Style Exhibition”. It will inspire this conversation and validate a graceful aging, especially at the passionate level. Deeply moving and moving.

    • Cathy Blackwell
      June 15, 2019 / 12:49 pm

      Robin – where is the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit?

  22. Rondi
    June 15, 2019 / 8:56 am

    There are two different conversations going on here. One is about how we choose to adorn ourselves and the other is about the effect of social media on our every day lives. I have managed to avoid most social media and yet still stay in contact with friends and family and still work and make a living. All without social media. I live in an area that fills with tourists in the summer. It’s so sad to watch tourists of all ages experiencing their entire trip from behind a cell phone. No one seems to live in the moment. Aging gracefully doesn’t mean we shouldn’t wear makeup or color our hair or exercise. It’s about owning your age and refusing to be invisible. Ageism is very prominent in our culture and we are not going to combat it by airbrushing our photos on social media!

    • Maggie
      June 15, 2019 / 9:59 am

      Rondi – Yes Yes Yes!

  23. June 15, 2019 / 8:58 am

    Great post and rather timely since I turn 75 in a couple of months. I have never doctored a photo & I will never give up taking care of my skin. Exercise is also a priority. I have started to wear less makeup and once I got used to seeing myself with less, I think I look more natural. I don’t see myself getting to the point of not caring. My motto is do the best with what you have and never, ever give up. I really enjoy your blog and it’s one of the very few I follow anymore. I was a food blogger for 8 years and I know the work involved and I thank you for all you do for us.

  24. Diane Horning
    June 15, 2019 / 9:14 am

    I have just recently started following this blog and find the posts about a range of topics to be thoughtful and full of insights. I also find the comments to be equally inspiring. Not only has Susan created a lovely blog but a wonderful community of women!

  25. Janet R
    June 15, 2019 / 9:15 am

    Another authentic post, thanks Susan. Like others here, your’s is one of only a few blogs I follow, and the first one I’ve ever felt comfortable writing comments on. Totally agree with your comments today and admit that, at 59yo, I struggle with wanting to ‘maintain’ the image of who I am in my head ie my younger looking self. I still colour my hair to blend in the grey and for now, am happy with this choice. It was 22yo ago that I survived a serious illness that resulted in ‘surgical menopause’ so every birthday is welcomed and celebrated. You look fabulous in this photo – confident and stylish!

  26. Elizabeth
    June 15, 2019 / 9:53 am

    well said! Thank you for this post.

  27. Cheryl
    June 15, 2019 / 10:02 am

    There’s a Tom Wolfe book, can’t remember which title, in which he skewers some 40-something women for dressing like teenagers. Fair? I won’t judge, but the line has stayed with me as I age ( I’m 67) and trying to dress attractively. I stick with classics, and try to add a little edge.
    One of the reasons I like your blog, Susan, is that you push my comfort level. Your clothing choices have an edge, but they’re never age inappropriate. You always look good.
    There’s an interesting new book out, Elderhood, in which the author makes the case for us leading our best lives for now. 60 is NOT the new 40…it’s 60, and we should embrace it.
    I’m lucky in that my face is relatively unlined ( thank you Clarifying Lotion #2), but the hair is undyed and gray, and the knees sag ( I wear shorts anyway). Growing older is a privilege denied to many.
    I’m going to use whatever wisdom I’ve gained, and try to pass it along to my children and grandchildren.
    Susan, you are an inspiration. You look wonderful, but more importantly, your soul is beautiful and it shows.
    Thanks for a great blog.

  28. Love your post. You look great. What ever you’re using or inherited is working. I do admit that I have a lump on my forehead that makes me crazy when I see it. It’s there result of a skin cancer surgery. For some reason they can’t get rid of it. Now most people don’t notice it. But of course I see it. So I do remove it in either photoshop of Facetune. At 78 I don’t mind wrinkles but that lump gets to me.It’s at it’s worst in raking light. I like the idea of seeing real things in a house like your pile of laundry. I do think it keeps things real.
    Your blog is such a help for we travelers. I always refer back to you and your good judgment. I’ve been traveling but would love to get together when you return.

    • Susan B
      June 15, 2019 / 10:32 am

      Yes, I’d love that!!

  29. June 15, 2019 / 12:33 pm

    Hold on. I need a moment. …………………OK. THANK YOU !!!!!! I swear to God, you have no idea how upsetting it is to me and how flummoxed I get when I see the mature woman filtering and blurring their images to the point where they look like ethereal spirits ready to leave this life to knock on heaven’s door!! They look like ghosts.
    Sure. I would not mind my visage as it was 40 years ago but I’ve aged!! And it’s not that bad! Being on Instagram and my blog and YouTube I would be remiss if I were to blur and filter my true self. I’m 64. And not ashamed of my age or how my looks have evolved. Transparency is paramount! And those who are not transparent aren’t being honest.
    I love my skincare and cosmetics but I’m no fan of ageist behavior..especially when it comes from my demographic.
    This was a great post and I sincerely thank you for it!!

    • Cindylou
      June 16, 2019 / 9:15 pm

      Cathe I think you look great. I follow your blog and you keep it real. I love the way you dress and you rock the bathing suits!

  30. Jan Whichard
    June 15, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    What a timely topic. I struggle. Cost of a facelift is the cost of a trip! I’m really amazed to see the changes in my face and body because I feel so young inside. I suppose it’s the way life goes. I met a wonderful elephant in Botswana a couple of weeks ago….Kathy is her name…she’s 59…she wears her wrinkles well and told me not to worry about it…Hakuna Matata.

    Easier said than done…but let’s all shoulder on and support one another!

  31. Norine
    June 15, 2019 / 12:51 pm

    Great comments. I will be 61 this year. Like another commenter, I don’t use filters on my social media photos – at least not to hide signs of age – but I sure do cover up any of those signs i can in real life whether with makeup or clothes. Is that a self acceptance thing? I don’t think so. I have a full life that doesn’t depend on how I look. I like myself but I also like looking good, and if that motivates me to exercise or spend time taking care of my skin or eat better, isn’t that a good result? I do see how trying to live up to standards of appearance you can’t achieve would be destructive. For that reason, I follow bloggers like you who present a realistic standard for for looking good in our later years.

  32. Carol
    June 15, 2019 / 1:03 pm

    I think we already are aging gracefully!

    I recall the way our mothers looked at the age we are now. They all looked like Mamie Eisenhower with flowered shift dresses and clunky shoes well into the 70s. My next door neighbor, a little younger than my mom, wore button down blouses, reversible wrap skirts, and ribbon-edged cardigans. I think it was because she worked at Wellesley College which was on the cutting edge of breaking the feminine rules.

    I look at my 60-something peers and we are wearing skinny jeans, tunic tops, gorgeous blazers, trainers, and all the outfits the youngers are wearing. However, I think we are a little more selective about the colors, the fit, and the accessories. Having just retired (yesterday!) a colleague asked what I am going to do with all of my “fancy” clothes. I said, “Wear them!” No, I am not going to vacuum in my pearls, but I will avoid sweats at all costs and wear my favorites whenever I leave the house.

    Recently discovering that you are short in stature has inspired me to look at more drapey pieces that you wear so well. I’ve lost 20 pounds recently, but the tummy pooch is still there and wreaks havoc with the silhouette. You never look overwhelmed with all the fabric. Again, I think is the attention paid to the color, fit, and accessories. Thanks for the inspiration. Carol in VT

    • June 24, 2019 / 8:32 am

      @ Carol: I remember that era well, my mother made the wrap skirt her look in the mid-60s and even in the 2000s would scour thrift stores looking for them. (They do turn up.) But you •can• vacuum in your pearls (though you might want to restyle them to look more casual). I have posted many examples of renos.

  33. Wray
    June 15, 2019 / 1:28 pm

    I think one blatant sign of this issue is so many women feel they don’t look good without makeup. Of course you look good without makeup! I think makeup is a way to hide that we’ve been taught by the media through the years. We’ve been brainwashed by society to a certain extent. Sorry, if this sounds harsh. I’ll wear makeup when men start wearing makeup. Holdharmless, I came of age during the early 1970’s when being ‘natural’ was in.

    • June 24, 2019 / 8:38 am

      @ Wray: Yes! And a number of women in younger generations have adopted your ’70s spirit. The designer Isabel Marant, for example, wears no makeup (except for some editorial shots and evenings.) Women say they look “tired” without makeup, but I think, like you, it’s what one is used to. All that fake worry generated by cosmetic companies about pore size is presented with the “you’re worth it” pitch, but at its core, it’s misogynism.

  34. Daniella
    June 15, 2019 / 1:58 pm

    Interestingly, a picture of famous songwriter Carole Bayer Sager accompanied a story about her current life/ state of mind in today’s WSJ. She’s 72 and her face looked 20 yrs younger yet her hands look her age and then some!! Funny!!
    I’m in my mid 70s and feel and look as good as ever! It’s taking care of yourself, without the excesses. Stay slim, move a lot, brush your teeth, scrub your face, dress stylishly, be curious, stay informed, participate, engage in hobbies, do absolutely everything …… moderation! Of course, a capped sleeve t-shirt will always look better now than a tank one. Be smart!! And yes, enjoy watching your grandchildren in their full glory of youth, exuberance, energy, accomplishments and physical beauty! Be an example for them, though!! And heighten your sense of humor!

  35. Rebecca Howard
    June 15, 2019 / 2:29 pm

    I find it absolutely amazing that people can think of so many body parts look (to them) unacceptable and in need of ‘fixing’ Maybe I just live in a bubble but why should I worry about 60 year old arms or neck? Or ear lobes or hand backs. Or having fat lips? I like social media as much as the next person but everyone knows that most of the pictures aren’t real. Don’t they? It’s like trying to look like Barbie. Just ludicrous. Anyway, I think your photo looks lovely untouched:)

  36. June 15, 2019 / 5:56 pm

    70 has been a very happy surprise. Don’t be afraid of it. I get a bit jointy and achy in the Winter but otherwise I have never felt better. I am moving to live on a farm around December. I think I shall keep a little goat as a pet. Put my uppity cats in their place

  37. Sheila-Merle Johnson
    June 15, 2019 / 6:09 pm

    I am 74 and a semi-retired Image Consultant and Home Stager and in the best phase of my life. I still love fashion and one of my favorite hobbies is my new Instagram account, @sheilamerle1. It’s so much fun putting together outfits that suit my style and push the edges a bit. I must be naive; it never occurred to me to touch up the photos. I am who I am, wrinkles and age spots and all. That self-acceptance has come late in life, but it sure makes life easier. I assessed my current values recently, and then matched my activities to fit them. Health, fun, spirituality and learning were right up there, so gym work, Pilates, improv theater, meditation, French conversation and Italian conversation fill my days. I feel blessed to have reached this phase of life and to be enjoying it so much.

  38. Sheila-Merle Johnson
    June 15, 2019 / 6:14 pm

    I forgot to say thank you for your thoughtful posts. I really look forward to your blog.

  39. Elizabeth
    June 15, 2019 / 6:49 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! Your statement that our culture has made us equate signs of aging as “flaws” that need to be corrected is spot on! No pun intended! On the contrary, if we are aging, we are surviving! The only way to stay forever young is to die young. I too, desire to look the best I can with what I have. But I do not want anyone to think I am trying too hard to look younger than my age! No one is ever fooled by that.

  40. Ainsivalavie
    June 15, 2019 / 7:23 pm

    Ahhhh aging. We who have reached a certain milestone 50? 60? 70? 80? are privileged beyond belief. My brother was taken by brain cancer before 65. My good friend left us suddenly in his early 70’s.I lost a sister in law at 55 and I recently heard that a former colleague, in her late sixties, has Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home….working in health care I am reminded on a daily basis how privileged I am. My grandmother lived to 95 and my parents are in their mid nineties ( although
    Live your life in honour of those who did not make it to your milestone.
    Life is short. Wear the sleeveless tank, colour your hair if you wish ( or not) put on the lipstick if it’s your jam, eat the ice cream ( in moderation)heck, use the darn filter if it makes you happy!!!
    …..but don’t judge. The judgiest ladies always look ‘old’, and not in a good way. No matter their age. Et voilà<3
    Susan, you look so pretty in that lipstick colour with your dark frame glasses. Very nice!

  41. Amy
    June 15, 2019 / 7:38 pm

    You look beautiful, Susan, and I love the lipstick! What I dislike is the whole concept of “filters.” What are we supposed to be “filtering out,” exactly? What is so unacceptable about our true selves and the natural process of aging that it cannot even be seen? Women of all ages and sizes are beautiful, and whether they decide to wear lipstick and pay attention to fashion trends, or not, should be left up to each of them. There’s nothing wrong with trying to look your best, whatever your age may be. Thank you for your positive messages and lovely, well-written blog!

  42. June 16, 2019 / 2:43 am

    Very interesting post. I am not so fussed about my looks in reality or in photos including the scar on the end of my nose after the removal of a basal cell carcinoma and reconstructive surgery. Light is everything in photography (or more often lack of it in cloudy London) and I sometimes lighten up my photos depending on how the light has fallen on my face. Otherwise, I lack the skills and the time to fiddle with filters etc.
    However the more I read about social media and Instagram, in particular, I am extremely concerned about how it is affecting our mental health. It is human nature to want to belong and to be liked. I feel old enough to be able to pull back and to think rationally yet still sometimes I have a visceral experience. It has been proved to be one of the leading stressors of our time as we become overwhelmed by an ever-increasing amount of information. Heaven knows how it is affecting our young people.
    That is my rant for the day. As you say social media has a great plus in that it connects like-minded people.
    Luckily I am currently in the South of France and I do notice that people here seem to still make eye contact more and say “Bonjour” even to strangers whereas in London on the pavements people bump into you as they are constantly looking at there phones.

  43. Cecile Page
    June 16, 2019 / 5:24 am

    This has been an enjoyable and interesting blog and comments. I’m curious – do any of you think this is an American affliction re: social media/instagram etc? My European friends do not understand why we (at large, obviously not this group!) are so hung up on age, perfect teeth, etc. In fact they shake their heads about it. Has anyone else noticed this?

    • June 16, 2019 / 6:34 am

      Yup! My husband, a Frenchman, notes this all the time! When we are in France, I definitely wear less makeup. He’s also very confused as to why we American Winn won’t embrace our age. It’s a different ballgame where he’s from…

  44. June 16, 2019 / 5:34 am

    Really great post Sue. I consider myself somewhat tech savvy and I didn’t even know about filters, except for Snapchat where my daughter used to work. I play with light and color on my iPhone camera to make sure my paintings are as accurate as possible.
    I think it’s a huge privilege to age, of course. Social media has changed our society, for better and for worse. I like and gravitate towards authenticity, and not following people on IG who have highly curated lives and make me feel less.
    You’re a very positive role model and thank you.

  45. June 16, 2019 / 3:14 pm

    Excellent post and so many great comments! You’ve really pulled together a community of like-minded women here and it’s a privilege to be part of the group! I concur with so many of the opinions expressed. Thank you!

  46. Elizabeth
    June 16, 2019 / 3:15 pm

    Another wonderful post, Susan. The bottom line is, we, your faithful readers, love you and experience the same worries about ageing.Thank goodness we only age one year at a time! I’m your age and constantly gripe about a poochy tummy. My real worries focus on my parents, increasing pollution and the gradual disinterest in meeting people face to face ( is that because we aren’t photoshopped enough & look real!! Oh my! ). Sarcasm aside, this is what I look like at 62, and more importantly, I’m healthy, can walk long distances, travel to learn more and have a supportive family. Hmm…now about that poochy tummy…

  47. Cindylou
    June 16, 2019 / 9:21 pm

    I’m 66 and I now think older women look beautiful. I see so many in their 50s, 60s and 70s who are so attractive. They dress well and take care of themselves and they smile. Lovely.

  48. Barb
    June 17, 2019 / 5:24 am

    Let me recommend the book “Bolder: Making the Most of our Longer Lives” by Carl Honore. A terrific book about aging with positivity and not limiting ourselves. There is a great chapter on appearance which is worth reading!

  49. Roz
    June 18, 2019 / 8:39 am

    Hi Susan,
    Love your blog. It’s given me so many ideas and inspiration — thank you! I have a quick question about the shirt you’re wearing in the pic — black with white polka dots, mandarin collar. It’s probably unavailable, but if you share the brand and any useful details, then maybe I can keep an eye out if it ever comes back. Love it!

    • Susan B
      June 18, 2019 / 9:08 am

      Hi Roz, thanks! This is an older shirt, originally from Madewell. It’s a lightweight cotton gauze, with 3/4 sleeves.

      • Roz
        June 18, 2019 / 9:18 am

        Thank you for the quick reply!

  50. June 24, 2019 / 8:28 am

    “When do we stop viewing signs of age as flaws that need to be corrected?” says it all. Brava, Pseu!

    Manipulated photos are a form of age shaming, and pointless anyway. Why create an image that will be very evident is fake once someone sees you IRL? Pretty lipstick, yes, but erasing every line and freckle, no.

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