I prefer to age gracefully. For many women, what this usually translates to is “I don’t want to get any work done to my face”. Yes, even in a time where cosmetic surgery is about as common as coffee shops, we’re still feeding into this (outdated) stereotype that it’s wrong for older women (or men) to get a little help.
It’s the thought that by getting plastic surgery or a sprinkling of Botox, we’re somehow cheating on our age. That the whole concept of ‘ageing gracefully’ means you aren’t being graceful about getting older if you prefer a bit of nip & tuck.
But I have always grown up with the idea that you are only as old as you think you are. And if getting some work done will help to reinforce how you feel on the inside (because nothing says “you’re older than you think” than staring in shock at a mirror reflecting tired, lined eyes and a midface that has deflated into your chin) then what’s the harm in that?
Let’s change the concept of ageing gracefully to “ageing however the *bleep* I want!”.
Plastic surgery in older age
As humans, we put a lot of our self-worth, identity, and ego on our faces. It is, after all, the first thing people see when they meet us and talk to us. We spend a great deal of time studying ourselves in mirrors, nitpicking imperfections, obsessing over hairstyles, and critiquing our bodies.
As we get older, the face we have always identified with (the plump, radiant, youthful one) begins to fade away. After that, we’re left with the stark and painful reality – I’m getting older.
They say you’re only as young as you feel, but looks do play a part, with 31.5% of seniors feeling pressured to keep fit for the sake of their looks. Furthermore, over 27% of seniors agree that this pressure is greater now than when they were younger. But despite the pressures, only a small handful of seniors have decided to undergo plastic surgery or cosmetic procedures in order to preserve their youth (4.4%), compared with 5.3% of millennials.
There seems to be a negative bias toward getting plastic surgery when you’re over 50. For the most part, it’s ingrained in our psyches; well-meaning comments from mothers and grandmothers hoping to remind you that you are not your face or body. That you have an innate worth that is far more important than your looks. Which is absolutely true, but our looks can be molded to suit where we are on the inside, too.
Another consideration is women who may be afraid to ‘take the plunge’ and explore cosmetic procedures for fear of judgment, lack of finances, or the worry of experiencing pain.
Regardless of where others stand on the issue, if you think you will feel better if you get some extra help, then drop the shame. Getting plastic surgery can actually be part of your ageing gracefully plan.
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Rethinking graceful ageing
There is nothing wrong with cosmetic surgery. Today, surgeons are highly trained and experienced in performing these procedures, so much so that it is no longer the taboo topic it once was. In fact, there were approximately 1,811,740 cosmetic procedures carried out worldwide in 2018, and that trend continues to rise.
In a day where body positivity and acceptance is part of the modern lexicon, the idea of ageing gracefully can and should include cosmetic surgery among other things.
Not having to apologize for your own choices when it comes to self-improvement should be #1 on tips to ageing gracefully.
But, because we don’t want to endorse purely cosmetic methods to helping age with grace and style, here are some other tried and tested ways to ageing well:
- Exercise daily: Even in old age, daily low-impact exercise such as walking or Pilates helps to improve overall strength, health, and cognitive function (all things needed to keep you feel young!)
- Manage stress: Research has found that stress can actually speed-up the ageing process! Take 5 minutes each day to meditate or ground in an activity that calms you and makes you feel good.
- Eat well: Healthy, glowing skin and functioning bones begins with a healthy diet. Ensure you’re having a diet packed in protein-rich, vitamin-rich foods loaded with healthy fats and minerals.
- Take care of your skin: Keeping a skincare regime, whether you are 15 or 50, will help protect your skin barrier from sun damage and environmental stressors. Always incorporate a good cleanser and moisturiser in your routine, and never leave the house without applying SPF!
- Have fun!: Life is meant to be joyful. One of the biggest anti-ageing tools you can have is simply enjoying life and having fun. This also means being unapologetic about your choices, wants, desires, and goals.
Ageing gracefully is about more than saying no to plastic surgery
Ageing gracefully is really about ageing with grace. This means living a life that is in alignment with your innate beliefs and wants. If you choose to have plastic surgery or any cosmetic procedure, including Botox or laser therapy, because it will help you to feel better about yourself and is in alignment with what you want, then you should have no shame in your choice.
Similarly, those who prefer the old concept of ageing gracefully (without the tweaks!) are also correct in their approach to getting older.
When it comes to ageing, our preferences on how we navigate it are as varied as our interests and likes/dislikes. There is no right or wrong way. Ageing gracefully is about self-love, and doing the things that will perpetuate this love and appreciation for self.