7. Replace Anti-Aging with Healthy Aging
The words "healthy aging" have always made a lot more sense than "anti-aging," the catchphrase that has become so popular in the media and cosmetic industry. What does anti-aging mean anyway? How do women feel when they are told that the key to looking beautiful is equated with not getting older? As a model, there is enormous focus on keeping the aging process from showing on your face and body. Plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures have become common practice for women in the public eye to ensure a youthful look. Women who talk about feeling and looking attractive as they age focus more on prolonging the health of their bodies and skin rather than stopping the clock by trying to "fix" themselves. They adapt to the changes they see. In the end, feeling attractive is based on how you experience your looks, no matter what you do or don't do to your face and body.
8. See Yourself as an Example for the Next Generation
Perhaps the best tip I heard from the women who age gracefully is that they see themselves as role models for the next generation. They feel a responsibility to demonstrate that being attractive at midlife is not only a possibility, but that the meaning of beauty can be broadened and deepened with age. These are women who don't panic as their looks change, so their bodies and faces appear calm and relaxed. At social and professional gatherings, they show the kind of poise and grace they want their daughters and younger colleagues to emulate. They say they owe it to themselves and others to look forward optimistically to the years that lie ahead so that they pass on that kind of confidence to others. Strength and beauty is reflected proudly on their faces and bodies for all to see.
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Vivian Diller, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Diller was a professional dancer before she became a professional model, represented by Wilhelmina, appearing in Glamour, Seventeen, national print ads and TV commercials. After completing her PhD in clinical psychology, she went on to do postdoctoral training in psychoanalysis at NYU. She has written articles on beauty, aging, eating disorders, models and dancers and served as a consultant to a major cosmetic company interested in promoting age-related beauty products. Her book FACE IT: What Women Really Feel As Their Looks Change (2010), written with Jill Muir-Sukenick, PhD and edited by Michele Willens, is a psychological guide to help women deal with the emotions brought on by their changing appearances. For more information, please visit VivianDiller.com.