It’s a conversation I’ve had with women from time to time; a lofty discussion about our age, and looks, and how others perceive us.
“Everyone thinks I’m 24,” states one woman haughtily, who has been blessed with a smooth, line-free face. “I was carded the other day – again,” proclaims another, tossing her long, thick locks behind her shoulder. “I only get hit on by teenagers!” laughs yet another, shrugging her shoulders in a gesture of false modesty. “It’s not my fault they think I’m so young.”
The truth is, we’re all well into our thirties. (Maybe forties, for some.) And as non-smoking, health-focused and fashionable women, it’s only natural that we enjoy a youthful appearance; one that veils our true year of birth. And let’s be honest – unless you’re 14 years old and trying to sneak into a bar, no woman wants to look older than she is. So, we continue to live our lives, having conversations like this, immersed in a culture that assures us we should strive to look younger than our age, and pat ourselves on the back when we do.
Lately, this notion has started to offend me.
After much thought, I’ve decided that I want to look 36-years old, and not a day younger. Certainly not a day older; but not for the reasons you may assume (we’ll discuss that later). I want to look 36-years old because I have earned every year that I have lived. I place value on every achievement, every obstacle, every win, every defeat. For if someone says, “Lena! I thought you were 24 years old….” well, let’s see. At 24, I may have had a university degree, but I didn’t have my corporate career, my marriage, my children, or my own business. And so the value – the level of respect, admiration, esteem or regard – I would appear to have is akin to another 24-year old, or a 24-year old me. And that’s not who I am. To say I look 2, 5 or even 10 years younger actually belittles every single accomplishment; every single stride I’ve made towards a better me.
In truth, I’m too good to look like a younger woman. I’m too smart, too motivated, too successful – and I want the respect that comes with those attributes. A twenty-something Lena spent her nights in bars. I spend my nights with my family. Or in a 5-star hotel. Or being awesome.
So you know what? Please don’t be tempted to tell me that I look younger than I am. Because 10 out of 10 times, I’d rather be called a “stunning woman” by an older gentleman than a “hot chick” by some young punk.
As for why I don’t want to look a day older? Simple. I haven’t earned it yet.
Stunning…beauty and brains!
Totally agree with you ! I am proud of the “laugh lines” and grey hairs I have, I am a mother and a grandmother with a fantastic career behind me so I can now enjoy the benefits of being “me” :)
I love that we can look to our pasts and be proud of our achievements instead of trying to blur the years away :)
We’ll put Lena. And I think some of the woman who feel the incessant need to constantly refer to how they get mistaken for mere teenagers are perhaps confusing comments about how they ACT with how they LOOK. ;)
I think Tammy (below) put it best – the constant “sexy checks” that make us feel better. Not all of us!
Perfect. I believe I’m more beautiful now than I was 20 years ago. I may have rocked a bikini 20 years ago, but I didn’t have all I have now in terms of wisdom, love, friends and family. It’s all good.
It IS all good :) And you have always been stunning to me.
You are truly an inspiration. Great post!
Thank you Aneta!
Yes, yes, yes, YES!!! I make a personal choice to not dye my hair. Can’t stand when someone cutting it makes me feel less than perfect simply because I embrace the grey. I’ve earned those too! ;-)
I can see by your profile photo that you’ve definitely earned two beautiful babes :)
Amen to that! Great post!
Well said! I am glad for my 37 years too, I’ve earned every one of these stripes too! BTW you are gorgeous person, inside and out!
Thank you Jessica :) It’s funny, because when an older man looks his age, he’s regarded as distinguished, intelligent, respected, etc. Why can’t we demand the same treatment?
I hear you, but I want to be a healthy 42.
Health is everything. Trust me, I know! Wishing you a healthy year.
I love this. Seriously.
Thanks Janet :)
You look great!
I do! Hahaha. Thanks Yuen.
Angie In My 30s
Bravo Lena. Loved this post from start to finish and you are SO right! People always assume I’m like 18… At 32 I can’t imagine being 18 again – yikes, I knew exactly NOTHING!!!
Way to open up some real conversation & remind everyone it’s A-ok to be just who you are.
Thanks Angie, and congrats on 32 amazing years!
Beautifully said! I’m 36 as well (yes, sometimes I need a calculator to figure it out) and I hear so many friends already worried about turning 40. The 30’s have been great to me – I’ve gotten married, settled into my home, I have an adorable son…it doesn’t get much better than this! I had a successful career in my 20’s but I certainly wouldn’t go back. I’m very happy with where I am in life and I’m not interested in the same things I was interested in when I was 25. I may have a few extra wrinkles and a c-section pouch that doesn’t seem to want to leave but I’ve earned those laugh lines and my “kangaroo pouch” and I’m happy with the results. ;)
Cheryl, your cup runneth over. Count those blessings, girl – you deserve them!
La Cuisine d'Helene
This is amazing and you look stunning :) I like where I am now and would not go back. I don’t want to look 20 with no husband and kids. I would not be happy to tell you the truth.
Me neither :) I think the point I was trying to make is I would never want someone to look at me and NOT assume I have a husband, kids, and career :)
Yes!!! I always say that to my kids I would never wish away the years I have earned. I have accomplished SO MUCH! I am proud of me! Although when I get carded I still giggle and brag with hubby. Lena you are a stunning women! I have to agree sexy check just sounds amateur.
Love love love “sexy check”. I have never heard that term before, but it is now officially in my vocabulary :)
Im proud of my age. I’m 43 with serious health issues, but over the course of those 43 years. I learned so much, so much I can apply to today..and it’s great! Thanks to those wonderful 43 years, I’m a pretty awesome person today!!
As for the grey hair & wrinkles, bring’em on. I feel blessed to have gotten 43 years and blessed for each day I put in.
I think you’re a pretty awesome person too Darlene :)
Awesome post Lena and you look gorgeous at 36! I’m happy to be my age and proud to be a grandma! I have earned all those years and feel truly blessed to have survived the ups and downs of this amazing journey of life.
Congratulations on being a grandma! I bet your grandkids adore you!
You are stunning Lena and I get what you are saying and agree with you wholeheartedly. I also will admit I do feel tickled when I tell someone my age and they think I am younger. But it’s not something I dwell on or allow to define who I am.
And that’s the difference! Looking younger is great… dwelling on it, or aspiring to change the way you look, isn’t :)
Great article Lena, with age comes wisdom and experience. I am rocking 47 and very proud of my age. Women are scrutinized for their appearance on all levels and we need to support each other about being honest and not feeling pressured to look younger! Great article.
Couldn’t have said it better, Angie!
Love it, we have all earned our age and should be proud of it! Great post!
Amen to that! Thanks Judy!
What a well written, meaningful post. Thanks for sharing this. You are beautiful inside and out.
Thank you Leanne, I truly appreciate that!
Love this post!
A great post! Thanks Lena!
Thanks for reading, Jannette!
amen is right , we are all gonna get older and , i enjoy everyday of it, life is way to short to worry about wrinkles and laugh lines etc… your beautiful inside and out :)
Same as you, Treen! Thank you!
Great post! I understand completely where you are coming from – and being comfortable in your own skin is a challenge for many.. I really cannot say I dont enjoy looking younger than I am; partly because I dont feel I am where I WANT to be yet or where I thought I should be; which I know is crazy thinking
Looking younger is a good thing – but owning your age and wisdom is also great!
I so agree with you. I love my age. I’ve earned my age. And damn it – my age looks good on me. ;-)
Yes, it does Caroline!
Great post! Lena, you are stunning and an incredibly bright and talented businesswoman. That last part comes mainly from experience – something that is earned through time. :)
Thank you so much, Rossana :)
Lisa @ Fab Frugal Mama
I turned 40 this year and, you know what? I’m ok with it! In fact, I’m more than ok with it. You said everything I’ve been feeling lately. I’m proud of the life I’ve built and am proud to wear the wrinkles that I’ve earned. Experience and empowerment ROCK! Thanks for sharing your point of view, Lena… it’s insightful and thought-provoking as always!! :)
You are fabulous at 40, my dear!
Always love reading your posts!! It’s the absolute truth!!
Thank you Nicole!
Bravo Lena! I’m 51 and wouldn’t change it for the world.
Very awesome Anne! Quite the accomplishment – it looks great on you!
Renee @ My So-Called Mommy Life
Fabulous post Lena!
Thank you Renee!
Love this post Lena! You look stunning! I am so proud of all your hard work and accomplishments and the way you have matured in life. In my books you’ll always be FOREVER YOUNG!
Thank you Mom :) Love you xxoo
True words of wisdom. You’re such an inspiration to me. Xxo
Thank you Joyce, I am humbled by that! xx
:) Thank you!
Ella Pretty Blog
I know what you mean about how much more awesome-er we are now than when we were younger. I’m seriously amazed at how situations that would have freaked me out in my 20s…don’t phase me now! Yay for experience :-)
Yay for experience! Completely agree!
So well put, and what a beautiful sentiment.
Thank you Victoria :)
wise words! as they say, happiness takes years off the appearance!
Yes it does!
Wonderfully put! You are very wise and accomplished.
Thank you Melinda :)
yes beauty and brains. i hate getting older though. i feel younger than my age, but when i look in the mirror, ugh! you have sophia loren eyes. you are extremely attractive.
Thank you Sandy, that is a superb compliment :)
You’re beautiful and I love your attitude! I have the same outlook but in a different way. I’ve always been told I look younger then I am, and my response has always been “I guess I’ll be on sexy granny”. But now, things have changed. I’m now 28 years old and I’m getting some gray hair. Now I’m getting, “why haven’t you dyed your hair yet?”. Well, I’m 28 years old. That’s 20 years more then I was supposed to live. Every gray hair on my head is an accomplishment.
LOVE your attitude and yes, embrace each day!
This is an awesome post. It makes me feel good about my age. I’m proud of my age and also proud that I don’t feel “old”. :)
Thanks Cheryl, I think you are awesome!
Great post! makes me feel good about aging!
Thank you, Jenny!
Chandra Christine O'Connor
I dont know the way I feel lately I think a hot chick would put a smile on my face. I used to look way younger then my age. at 23 people said I looked 12. it catches up to you now I feel I look older then 49.
Unfortunately every-one has to age and not a lot a person can do to change that.
I totally agree with you, Carol!
I get told I look younger than I am but I think I look exactly my age, for some reason people expect a high number means wrinkles, some of us just inherit good skin.
Consider yourself blessed to inherit good skin, Cairine!
Great post! I get mistaken for being a friend of my teenage daughter all the time. I do not enjoy it.
Love your views on this topic!
you betcha! And I as I get older it gets even better. Children are grown leave the house, The freedom and silent relaxation is very good for my health and well being.
That’s great Emilia! Enjoy the freedom and relaxation you have rightfully earned!
You are a stunning woman as i am sure you will be at 40,50,60….i love my life at 52,enjoying the grandkids and hubby and i enjoying our well deserved time together.
Debbie White Beattie
You look awesome ang your hair always has a lot of volume;
Debbie White Beattie
I can’t believe this was 2 years ago because you still look the same and your highlights as usual look awesome