Joy is the best make-up in the world – that and good lighting!
~ Anne Lamott

We are who we are.
~ Author unknown

June 9, 2015

Some years ago – looking at myself in the mirror I thought – hmm… “You are getting older Audrey”. This is simply a fact of life. And that’s OK but I would be less than honest if I did not say I felt somewhat dismayed about the lines on my face; age marks on my skin; hair turning gray and thinning; added pounds; and so on. And appearances are paired with those experiences that remind you of your age: someone offering a seat on the subway; the salesperson at the Running Room asking if I want a large faced watch upon my request to purchase a running watch; and coming to terms with the fact that I cannot run as fast as I used to. You know the story.

And yet there is something wonderful about this stage of life. Beauty has little to do with smooth skin or glossy hair. We all have seen women who look so well put together: flawless skin, perfect make-up; tight abs; fashionably dressed (yada yada). But it is all about what is on the outside. We may sigh at those who are both well put together and wise. But how many of them are there?

At the risk of sounding cliché, beauty is a quality that emanates from within. I remember seeing it in my mother’s face when she smiled. Or when she would laugh at something funny with one of her grandchildren. My mother-in-law Corrie looked positively radiant at her 40th wedding anniversary. Both women looked beautiful I believe, because they experienced a sense of joy and contentment. Neither would likely have made the cover of Vogue. No one would describe them as wealthy in terms of material possessions but neither Kay (my mother) nor Corrie (my mother-in-law) would say they lacked for anything. One observation I did make about the two of them was that once their children were older – in post-secondary or had left home – they were especially happy with life. They were at a stage where they had a certain independence – an ability to come and go, untethered to many of the family responsibilities that they willingly had taken on but which imposed a set of limitations. And that contentment was reflected in their faces.

I have also seen beauty in the faces of my running buddies on Saturday mornings despite the fact that most rolled out of bed early and then ran a number of kilometres. All of us with our badges of honour (stretch marks; laugh lines; thickening in the waist) and taking care of ourselves. How refreshing! Forget the botox, the starvation diets of liquid goop, the trying to fit into clothes designed for 18 year olds. We look amazing as we are! And to the women in my life I say: You look fabulous! This is what beautiful looks like!

 

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