Whenever I hop on a plane and leave South Florida, something happens when I arrive at my new and exciting destination. I see them. They’re everywhere! I call them REAL DEALS.
They are people who age naturally with ease and grace.
In Denver, Vancouver, or many other places I’ve traveled, all the seats in the shuttle bus face each other. It’s here where it becomes apparent that something is drastically different.
People are GORGEOUS. And they’re aging naturally. Their silver hair, the tales their faces tell, the speckling of wrinkles, character lines and the charming “hummingbirds” feet on either side of their eyes… It’s an expression of life!
I LOVE natural beauty. There’s a REAL finesse in the untouched-ables. They inspire me. It’s unaltered aging in its purest form.
I’m ecstatic to witness this triumph. It’s sexy. Older couples with tufts of gray, strong posture and lean muscle is picturesque! I see my friend Nancy often, and when I ran into her and her husband at the market the other day, they stood out. They display the ease of aging that people dream about.
Body Awe’s Natural Beauty Series compares two different approaches to aging and the way we care for our bodies: The conventional approach which is driven by external influences, and the natural approach which is driven by your internal self.
The conventional approach suggests we should look a certain way. This is where social and cultural influences become a big part of how we see ourselves physically. We feel that we should alter or remove something on our bodies to look more like what is considered “acceptable” beauty.
The natural approach, however, teaches us to celebrate our true selves. It suggests we make alterations to our inner selves. It encourages us to appreciate our natural beauty vs. trying to meet the physical ideals that are projected upon us.
Plastic Illustration by Kimberly K. Taylor-Pestell
People all over the world spend billions of dollars a year on makeup and plastic surgery because of these cultural influences.
South Florida is Endless Summer. Everyday is a delight for the eyes, senses, and spirit. It’s also a youthful place. People are more body conscious here.
Makes sense. Coastal cities in southern Florida are warm and sunny almost year-round. People wear less clothing.
In addition to all the plastic surgeons in the area, there’s a gym on every corner. You can get a professional blowout for your hair—at salons that do only that—7-days a week. In-and-out services like laser hair removal, chemical peels, botox and collagen injections are also abundant.
It’s not my intention to give all these things a bad rap. Vanity can be a good thing. There’s joy in feeling attractive. And it motivates us to change unhealthy habits into healthy behaviors.
It’s the shallow side of vanity that we need to be aware of. Does it come from a place of self-love, or a place of self-loathing? I understand if it makes you feel good, and your intentions are clean, do it. But… you have to LOVE YOURSELF FIRST. An operation on the outside isn’t always the answer. You’ll work smarter from the inside out.
Making a change to your external appearance won’t do anything if you haven’t done the internal work.
And part of that is loving yourself in a big way. Unconditionally.
As adult women—aunts, moms, teachers, managers, coaches—we have a responsibility to be kind to those women younger than us and show them how we love ourselves, even as we age. It’s so much harder now with social media and the addictive nature of external validation. It takes us further away from our true selves and what we’re put on this earth to contribute.
We’re all born the way we are. And that may not look like a glossy magazine. Or a “swipe right”.
Love and embrace YOU. Exactly the way you are. Make sure you’ve done the hard work on the inside first. If you’re not constantly trying to live up to other people’s standards, it’s easier to focus on your own.
“I think your whole life shows on your face, and you should be proud of that.”