3 Ways to Love Your Aging Face

Julia Hubbel, Walkabout Saga, Horizon Huntress


The author, deep in the Muskwa-Kehika Wilderness, Canada Julia Hubbel

Musings on the Encroachment of Time and the Building of Character. I Hope.

The woman is holding the camera a few feet away from her face, her blue Goretex cap a contrast against her smile. Her eyes are crinkled at the edges and a growing web of wrinkles has begun to form on her face.

Not young any more. No longer an ingenue.

I am beginning to see what I’m going to look like at ninety.

I’m down with that. Are you? This is where it can get rough, if you and I buy the notion that the only time we're worth loving is when we are unlined.

1. Your face speaks to a life well-lived, or not, so far. And you can change that at any time.

I’ve been living with this face for close to 68 years. A lot of folks over the course of my life have considered me attractive (okay, so they needed better glasses, but I digress). It would be easy to mourn the loss of the smooth skin that I had only ten years ago when this photo was taken:

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0NawTE_0Y9QyeC500In my mid-fifties. Not any more, kiddo. Julia Hubbel

Last night I received a request from a new editor at a magazine for Boomers. She wanted a head shot. There are a few I’ve used for a while now. Before I attached the photo, I took a long, hard gander.

I don’t look like that any more.

There are so very many ways to respond to this. I could be angry at what time has etched on my visage.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3dasOe_0Y9QyeC500Deposit photos

Or I could relax into the face that I inhabit. I wonder which choice offers me more peace?

Look, I use various lotions and potions, but I no more believe all their claims any more than I believe what men say about themselves on Match.com.

What I want is softer skin, skin that doesn’t pull tightly in dry climates, and feels nice to the touch. Wrinkles? They tell a story.

One heck of a story, in fact.

I have wondered for a very long time when Time would begin to catch up to my face. She has. And I don’t mind what she’s done one bit. It's Time's job to let us, and the world, bear witness to the life you and I have lived.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=1KhrYd_0Y9QyeC500Photo by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

2. What story does your face tell? Is it time to change the story, and add more joy?

This woman, above speaks to me.

I want to have a face that speaks to people. I don’t want the kind of face that is so pretty, so perfect that it intimidates. While that is to some an admirable thing, in my (very-limited) experience of being a moderately attractive female, the addiction to being young and pretty came with such costs to my character and my inner being that at some point I just had to let it go.

The closer I inch to 70, the more Nature etches my adventures on my face. And my goodness, what a life I’ve had. Continue to have. By the time you and I have reached our sixties, oh, the adventures we've had. We don't have to be Jane Goodall to have stories. The point is to honor what Time has painted on our profiles, the loves and losses and pains and pleasures.

For my part, in the last ten years my face has aged faster because of where I've taken it: all over the world doing adventure travel.

There is no way I can climb mountains, kayak oceans, ride horses in a desert, run steps at altitude, and do all the insane things I love to do without paying a certain price for it in my face. However, what I do gives me immense joy. I wouldn't trade a single wrinkle for the stories those wrinkles can tell.

Fine by me. Because if I am so self-absorbed, so self-centered and so insanely insecure that my entire world is centered around the management of the Next Wrinkle, I may up like this:

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0Wf8Pa_0Y9QyeC500Deposit photos

3. Redefining beauty as we age is an important part of emotional maturity.

Those of you who are familiar with the fashion industry (I used to write a fashion column for a women’s magazine) may know Carmen Dell’Orefice, the 89-year old model who has in some ways redirected our thinking about what older women look like.

However, let’s be fair. She has had a lot of work done, which she freely admits. So have other older models and actresses. I have had a touch done too, which is why I don’t have my mother’s sagging jowls at this age. However, and this is the piece, while I don’t argue anyone’s right to a little nip and tuck if they can afford it, at what cost do we get so addicted to looking younger that this is all we focus on? I am all for maintenance. I am not a fan of obsession with our looks, which drains our bank accounts and makes us so self-absorbed we are no fun to be around.

An acquaintance who is in her mid-sixties invests a great deal of money in regular Botox injections. She constantly complains that she is poor, that she can’t make the rent, but she has to have those injections. Her face looks abnormally puffy, like an aging Kewpie doll. Her hands give away her true age. She can’t frown, she has no laugh lines, and she is terrorized by the reappearance of a wrinkle.

Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash

Sounds like prison to me. But that’s my take. I wouldn’t want to live like that.

It’s her sacred right to spend her money as she likes. However, in all the time I’ve known her, I have yet to hear her be happy, to enjoy what that Botox gets her, or to in any way have a light heart. She hates her age, hates her face, hates herself. Prison.

For my money, it strikes me that there isn’t a single fix on earth for our outside appearances that will do much for our character. My friend has no sense of humor. She’s not free. There is no bird singing in her heart.

That ages her far faster than any sun-induced wrinkles.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3AydBK_0Y9QyeC500Much more accurate. Laura Luhn Photography, Julia Hubbel

Whatever youth I had is gone.

In its place is a woman whose face has begun to tell a story. I’ve only just begun to earn that. Frown lines have not carved a canoe in my forehead, which only says that I’m not angry all the time.

However, my eyes squint in the high altitude sun. I find a great many things funny, most especially the stupid stuff I do. And I do plenty of stupid stuff, which means I am laughing regularly. Good. That means my body is filled with endorphins. Laugh lines are deepening, like rivers gathering force from all the streams and tributaries that join it on the way down a mountainside.

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=0b887n_0Y9QyeC500A river on the way in the MK Wilderness Julia Hubbel

Just like life. Gathering time, gathering stories, gathering wrinkles.

Big rivers are powerful. Like a well-aged face, a well-lived life, and a heart full of character.

I hope I get there some day.

I like my aging face.

Do you like yours?

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