Self Portrait 365|115 • You Look So Young


You Look So Young

When I was a child I couldn’t wait to get older. I wanted to be thirteen so I could get my ears pierced, sixteen so I could have boyfriend, seventeen so I could drive and eighteen so I could vote. Even though it seemed to take a long, long time, I reached each milestone as I grew up.

Now I am in the second half of my life, it seems the normal thing to want to look younger. But unlike my earlier quest for maturity, it isn’t going happen no matter how long I wait. In fact, every hour of the day takes me further away from being as young as I once was.

It would seem to me that the reason most women keep colouring their way long after it suits them, is because they fear looking older. “Grey hair is ageing”, they shout, “it will make me look old.”

I wonder what is wrong with getting old, and what the fascination is with staying young. When people offer the compliment “You look so young,” I find it quite bizarre. My body displays the years of my life like a trophy and I am proud of it. I don’t want to look young, I want to look vibrant, alive, interesting, and attractive.

Perhaps what women fear is not being attractive any more, or being invisible. I believe that losing your beauty has nothing to do with how old you are. It’s all about your attitude. Perhaps what women fear is the way some older women become shrinking, wizened, dry shells of who they once were. Those whose energy crackles with disappointment, their smiles forced and empty.

So instead of telling another mature woman she looks so young, perhaps we should change our vocabulary. Older women, who embrace ageing and don’t buy into the myth that youth is the peak of one’s existence, should be called juicy, sexy, warm, glowing, fascinating, striking and adorable.

We don’t care to be called young, when it’s something we don’t value at all.

Do you mourn the loss of your youth or are you happy being the age you are?


About KatieP

Embracing my midlife sexy while exploring modern love & relationships • Devoted to all things beautiful • Master of Arts in creative writing & non-fiction writing

10 thoughts on “Self Portrait 365|115 • You Look So Young

  1. I also find that complimenting a woman with “you look so young” isn’t really much of a compliment at all, it’s basically saying “congrats, you still kinda fit into societies narrow view of beauty”. It really has no bearing on the person being complimented beyond that, like their entire purpose has been to blend in with the young ones and they have no true beauty of their own.

  2. I totally agree with Cel!

    I also think the thing I have the hardest time with is the discrepancy between how I feel and how I look. The gap is getting wider, just like it was when I was a teenager. It reminds me of a comb that’s lost some of its teeth from both ends: the comb wholly inhabits its comb-i-ness in its full-toothed middle.

    The difference between the two times in my life is when I was young and felt “old” I didn’t have anything tangible, no life experience, to back that up, to provide context. Now I feel I have the best of both worlds: although I look older, I feel just as young, but now I have the intelligence and life experiences to feel comfortable and authentic inhabiting both ends of the chronological continuum.

    1. I wonder what you mean when you say you still feel ‘young’?

      I’m guessing you mean vital, enthusiastic, adventurous, and energetic — perhaps even irreverent and mischievous. I understand what you mean (I feel the same way) and I use the same kind of language, but I’m thinking this might be part of the challenge.

      Perhaps we should rethink using the word ‘youth’ as a synonym for aliveness?

      (Hope I don’t sound as though I’m scolding you — these thoughts just occurred to me as I read your comment ♥)

      1. Oh, you are so right on! Yeah, ‘young’ and ‘old’ are what they are: limiting, black and white, exclusive (vs. inclusive), single-faceted (is that even a thing?), shallow, outdated, crutches, easy, lacking creativity, stale. Shall I go on? Time for some new words. Time for more ‘showing’ and less ‘telling’.

  3. What a timely read! I’m currently worrying because it’s my birthday in a couple of months! I a getting old and problem is I really feel old! Maybe I need to work on the latter. 🙂

    1. I wonder what ‘old’ feels like? Perhaps you mean you are feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, or unenthusiastic? If you look at it that way, it’s much easier to reverse your emotional state. We can always do something about how we feel, but trying to hold back the hands of time is a futile and frustrating undertaking.

  4. So I honestly think individuals are biased towards people who they think look attractive.

    I am reading your “The Love Matrix” and I have to say it’s a great educational tool for mental health issues. You are a wonderful technical writer and if you are ever looking to expand your work you may be interested in pursuing writing/assisting with writing instructional materials. I feel you make the empirical palatable!

    So what does section 1 of my comment have to do with section 2? I LOVE your book and I think it’s valid and eye-opening intrinsically. I don’t see many rhetorical/logical fallacies and the work stands on its own (thanks to Toni Morrison for that lesson). However this saying said I think you are BEAUTIFUL (in my aesthetic opinion) and I found the following; I read your book before I saw your picture and I felt “The Love Matrix” was something that could greatly help me. Then I saw your picture and thought she’s so pretty and I love her style! If this works for her then I definitely want to try it since it seems valid and the person so likeable!

    So anyway, since this post was about looks this was my convoluted way of complimenting your appearance and work. I am 29 but I hope I am as gorgeous as you in coming years!

    1. Oh, I reread and I think my use of bias in the first sentence is weak. A better way of explaining this is that people pay more attention to/focus more on people they find attractive. I also would like to clarify that by attractive I am not specifically talking about “sexually attractive” but “pleasant to look upon” as when we look at a flower; enjoying the appearance but not with the desire of any sexual or possessive tones.

      1. Thank you Dawn for such lovely compliments. I am glad you found value in the Love Matrix and that you enjoy my writing.

        As for there being an ‘attractive bias’ – I think you’re right. It is human nature to want to be surrounded with pleasant and beautiful things and that includes other people. But beauty is far wider than we are culturally taught. It is an essence, an attitude, a heart that is wide open in love. We can all achieve that. ♥

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