Ann Ipock: I don’t wanna look old

  • Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I know that I am getting older – ahem, news flash, we all are! – and I accept that. But I don't wanna look old. Lately I've noticed some things in general about human nature and a few things in particular that make us look older than we are. Here's one: our stance. Take this little test.
Walk a few steps and then stop with both feet planted side-by-side. Okay, how far apart are your feet? If you say a foot (no pun intended) you'll see what I mean. Older people have a wider stance. A younger person's feet might be three or four inches apart. Posture: that's a no-brainer. Stand up straight: chest out, tummy in.

Another thing: why do our hips spread wider and wider as we age? This is especially true of women. Is it that second piece of chocolate cake we can't turn away or is it that we're built for childbirth? I've heard some old-timers say that women with wide hips have an easier time with this.
So maybe it's genetics and a female thing. I know my Granny Pinky had wide hips; and every now and then I'll catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I see her reflection. Oh, and exercise is about the only way I know to keep my hips from spreading further and further; that, and eating sensibly.

The next one involves our face. As we age, the corners of our mouth begin to turn down. That's a no brainer and yet I never really thought about it until I took art lessons from my dear artist friend, Dixie Dugan of Myrtle Beach.
She shared that little tidbit with us while we sketched, trying to get the eyes, the nose and the mouth in proportion. Sometimes when someone is taking my picture, I accidentally do the “frown smile” as my daughter, Katie, calls it. And speaking of my mouth, why am I getting those vertical hairline wrinkles just above my lips? Is that from having my mustache waxed? I used to be vain about this, but when my hubby began noticing it was time to get my monthly wax, I gave up on vanity.

I prefer the natural approach to slow down aging. Using a good sunscreen, particularly on my face, and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Anti-aging facial moisturizers and a good eye moisturizer are a daily habit. So, I guess I'm doing what I can – short of surgical intervention, which I surely hope to avoid.

But some people go to extremes. I was surprised to read a recent article in the Raleigh News & Observer. Written by Karen Schwartz, it's titled “Women seek out eternal middle age.” You read that right: eternal middle age (more about that later). A New York Park Avenue dermatologist was quoted as saying, “I don't do a lot of arm candy. My patients aren't in here because they're trying to hold on to their husbands. If they're trying to hang on to anything, it's their jobs.” Hmmmmm…
This doctor holds three Harvard degrees and is a Fulbright scholar, so when she speaks, people listen. Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas does lots of peels and laser therapies and says, “People want to see energy.” Dang! They ought to watch me clean my entire house in less than two hours.
That takes lots of energy and I don't have peels and laser therapies, but I do have elbow grease.

My favorite quote came from Melanie Kusin, vice chairman of Korn/Ferry International, a firm that searches for chief executives and board members.
She's been seeing the aforementioned dermatologist for more than a decade. She says the “right image” does not exactly mean looking young.
Kusin and others like her are aiming for a cosmetic sweet spot: (get this) old enough to command respect, yet fresh enough to remain vital. I love that phrase.

These women seek not so much the fountain of youth as its corollary, eternal early middle age.
Well, I'm glad to know that. We could debate what defines 'early middle age' until the cows come home, but let's just say many if not most of us are in this bracket. So whether you're a hot-shot CEO in New York City or a humor columnist and author working from home like me, I think most of us agree that we'd like to keep our youthful demeanor. And now I feel so much better knowing eternal early middle age is doable.

Ann Ipock “Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller” amipock@ec.rr.com www.annipock.com.


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