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Q: What lessons have you learned from your own mother about aging?

A: This is interesting to me. I love my mom, let me start there. She's a brave woman who's done the best she could with the tools supplied growing up motherless in a poor area of Chicago in 1940. She is 75, and she has never put herself first. To a fault, she has taken care of everyone else in her life before her. I think concentrating on controlling everything around her has an illusion of creating safety. But that left her little time or energy to choose herself. Therefore, she's spent 40 years of not eating right, not exercising, not resting or finding joy beyond ironing till 1 a.m. with a glass of wine. Like many, she's had an emotional connection to food, junk food, and now struggles with joint and muscle issues that make it painful to get around. 

My mom is a beautiful woman. I've always thought this even though she never acted like she was or even believed she was. But the truth is, she has lovely skin and deep brown eyes and when a joyous occasion compels it out, her smile and is glorious and honest. I wish with all my heart that she had spent time taking care of her health, and I'm glad she is doing that now. She's eating healthier and getting on a reasonable exercise program. It's never too late. Recently she told me she wants to get her "chin done." Aging women collectively seem to hate their necks, that's a fact. When I asked her why? She said—and I think this is brilliant—she said: "I don't feel 75. I don't want to look it." So maybe that's at the core of some of our aging issues too. We are aging, we can't stop it, stopping it means death, but inside we still remember our first kiss, our first raise at work, our sexy honeymoons. We don't feel ourselves old, so we don't want to look that way either. I try with conscious effort to take care of myself so my daughter sees the value in her taking care of herself. I want to teach my daughter that she is worthwhile by feeling worthwhile myself.

FROM: Aging Beauty: Cybill Shepherd, Linda Evans and Teri Hatcher
Published on September 30, 2010

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