2 Mar 2016

“Better” Not Younger: The Ageing Philosophy

sophie marceau, better not younger, vickiarcher.com


Better not younger?

This is my philosophy on ageing.

Something worries me about ageing and it is certainly not the process for I have come to terms with this some time ago. What really bothers me is the popular idea that to age well we must appear younger; younger in looks, in body and even in mind. Who decided that ageing well means we should automatically strive to look younger?

I don’t want to look “younger, I have decided as I age I want to be better.

Better in the overall sense; in the way I think, I move, I look. I want to take advantage of the years and put to use not only the experiences but also the mistakes. Maturity is something to be cherished and celebrated, not something to hide and push under the covers.

I don’t really want to look like a 30 year old but I do wish I had worked it better back then. You never know what you had until it’s gone.

This is the one piece of advice I have shared with my daughters, to revel in how they look now and celebrate their youth and beauty.

It goes without saying the physical changes of maturity are confronting at times. The grey hair on a bad day is enough to have me calling the colourist and begging for “younger”. So far I have resisted but it is not painless.

Who doesn’t look in the mirror and wonder who is that person looking back? When I see myself truly, with bright lights and magnification, I take a deep breath and remember all that has happened to be here in the first place; the good, the bad and the in-between. I hold that thought.

It doesn’t mean I like the reflection, hardly ever, but I do strive to see a better version of my younger self and not a younger version of my older self.

There is a big difference.



We cannot blame marketing and advertising for trying a seductive sell.

Who hasn’t fallen under the ten-years-younger spell? I know I have and repeatedly. When I try beauty treatments and the latest this and that I look for the benefits that make me feel better and I don’t delude myself that the years can vanish with the application of even the most scientifically developed creams. I will happily run, skip and jump towards “glowing”, “dewy” and “hydrated”; a reduction in years, not so willingly.

The key to ageing is staying on course; finding our own path.

It is easier said than done as life is as merciless as it is miraculous and has a habit of reminding us we aren’t getting any younger. That’s ok with me because my new mantra is “better not younger”.

I will be featuring women in this new series, “better not younger” who have followed this way of thinking, women who have only improved with maturity.

I would love your suggestions, to know the women you admire for their transition through the years.

Let’s work towards better in every way we can. Are you with me? xv


images of french actress, sophie marceau

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Taste of France

Maintenance–taking care of one’s hair, using sun block, exercise, eating healthy, sleeping enough–is the answer for most women. My grandma, who admittedly was in the sun a lot as she gardened, always looked 10-15 years younger because she was active. She acted younger. That affects one’s attitude/mental health as well as physical health. It results in good posture, vitality and smiles, which make anybody look more beautiful.
Meanwhile, the ever-cheeky New York magazine had a great piece on why older stars no longer look like they’ve had work.

Esther George

Hi Vicki, I really admire Vanessa Redgrave for her grace and beauty. I admit I could have, should have, looked after myself better I am approaching 60 I find it daunting some time. I don’t mind the grey hair or the wrinkles, I just want to have healthy grey hair and dewy skin (I’m not asking for much, am I?). Like you my advice to my daughter and my son don’t waste your youth. Thank you for sharing beauty. Till next time, regards Esther from Sydney.


I completely agree with you, Vicki.
I had my 50th birthday last year, and I decided to make a conscious decision to embrace getting older. I am now in my 9th month of letting my hair go gray, and most days I am happy with my decision. Here’s to getting better every year!



AMEN to That. What a wonderful post, Vicki. I do admire mature women who embrace their authentic self – whatever that may look like. They are not pretending to be younger , they look so comfortable in their skin and they exude joy and self-confidence. I Love that. It’s a conscious mental attitude. I am embracing each and every white hair that pops up on my head. At first, I did panic a few times and made a mad dash to the colorist, but not any more. I decided one day that I would give my whites a chance and it has been a couple years now and am loving my new look. I am almost wanting more of them – doesn’t that sound strange?! As for women I admire who are embracing their journey with ageing, there are quite a number of them. I shall start with the oldest – Betty White – her candid humour puts things into perspective ( she once said age doesn’t matter, it’s where your head’s at that matters.). I also admire Isabella Rossellini, Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren. I am sure I am forgetting some. As for men – Clint Eastwood. Enjoy the journey Dear Vicki with healthy doses of laughter whenever and as much as possible ( good exercise for the facial muscles.).


I’m not sure why women feel that their tresses must be completely dyed or just grey, there are so many options for a soft, natural blended look.
Age gracefully – it doesn’t mean letting it all go and just happen. Taking care of our skin and body begins with a healthy lifestyle; no amount of botox, filler or contouring makeup can cover up neglect.
I am impressed by so many women who have weathered the storms of life and look vibrant without the plastic .
I am so impressed with Helen Mirren (who is fabulous at 70). I just saw images of her on set for Collateral Beauty, and the comments were about how she looked perky in some of the pictures and how in others she lost her ‘sprightly demeanor’. Sadly those comments were written by a female journalist and is a reflection of why women feel the need to always impress.


“… I do strive to see a better version of my younger self and not a younger version of my older self.” LOVE this! What wonderful advice. Thank you, V!


We should remind ourselves that not everyone gets to be old. That puts everything into perspective. Be happy!

Bernadette Geraghty

Yes! Yes! Yes! My mantra is Be the Rose. Be in full bloom no matter who you are. Loving and living as well as we can each moment. Not wasting time but being present to it. Thank you for the beauty you share. You are inspiring.


Great topic. I want to age well, in all aspects. I think socializing is so important as we get older. I also think attitude and learning is more important than any skin care treatment! Although I love those too. :)

Two women I really like right now are from the show Madam Secretary: Bebe Neuwirth (58 yrs.)and Tea Leoni (50yrs.).

Janie C

What a great article. I am 46 and very proud of my age. As in your article, I want to be better, not younger. I want to grow older with grace, glamour, dignity and wisdom. I’ve always looked up to older women and continue to do so. I look to those that inspire me and make me think about the person I want to be as I get “better”. Thank you for sharing.

Linda B

Vicki, I love this post! As always, you have hit the nail on the head. I know these things, but seeing them in your words makes me more awake to them. . . .In many ways, I do feel like a much better self, imbued with the lessons learned over the years of life experience. There is the inner part of this–hopefully an accumulation of wisdom—and also an outer piece–the development of my own sense of style and beauty that I never had when I was younger. I am truly more myself than I ever was, and if that includes a few gray hairs and wrinkles, bring it on.


Hi Vicki,

I love this post but am thrown off by the photographs of a young woman who’s probably not focused on issues of aging. I would have loved to have seen photographs that represent yourself and the women this is relevant to. And…I love what you have to say. Thanks so much.


Dear Vicky you have formulated extremly well the issue of aging and preserving ourselves”,better version of my younger self”.Looking for more discussion on this subject. I myself I am 69 and never wanted to be artificial looking woman nor I wanted to look old and to forget how lovely I was 30-40 years ago.This is what you mean?
Kind regards Susana


Hi Vicki. Loved the article you wrote. My mum is 97 and looks fabulous. She is cute and funny and is passionate about crocheting. She loves going out and sometimes breaks out in a song and dance. Have been writing a book about her life and through the process I realised that she is the same beautiful girl that she was when she was little. The same spirit. She is joyful – that makes a big difference. Thank you. Best wishes, Olympia.

Anita Rivera

I wholeheartedly agree, Vicki! This is what I’ve been saying in my pithy poetry for a few years now. What makes me better these days is not looking younger, but FEELING YOUNGER due to wisdom. Wisdom opens your mind. Wisdom opens your eyes to see things never seen before. Result? A better human being. Not a prettier version of myself, but a better mind, a better soul ready to take on more challenges of life and its cycles. BLESS YOU!


I’m all for embracing getting older, as long as it isn’t used as an excuse for letting ourselves go. Winning the genetic lottery has a lot to do with it. The rest is, let’s face it, ongoing WORK. Maintaining our health through proper nutrition and exercise is the cornerstone. If we can do that, maintaining our looks is just the cherry on top.

Sheila Irwin

What a wonderful post! I have followed your blog for awhile now Vicki, but have never been moved to comment until now. I love what you’ve said here and hope that I can look at aging that way in my life (easier said than done, I know). And for me, no woman has aged more gracefully or looks more beautiful than Helen Mirren. My husband constantly comments on how great she looks, and he’s only 50!

Thanks for such an inspiring and interesting blog. As a new blogger myself, I know how hard it is to come up with new, well-written posts every week and my hat is off to you!


Leslie in Oregon

Yes, I am with you. To me becoming a better person does not include looking younger than I am. I strive to truly embrace my age…and that includes acknowledging the fact that getting older means incurring greater risk of illness and infirmity and doing all I can to maximize my health.
When someone tells me that I look younger than my age, I tell them that while I know they mean well, I cannot consider their statement a compliment. We cannot expect the ageism that saturates our culture to change unless we ourselves model a different attitude, acknowledging and reflecting the fact that every year of life is a gift.

Anne Hamper

Please can we have a photo of YOU Vicki. I want to see the grey hair – I colour mine (aged 67) and it makes me feel “better”.


What a great article! Thank you for writing about an issue so many of us struggle with inwardly, and put on our “mature, happy” face for the rest of the world. Catherine Deneuve has been my inspiration throughout my life. Her natural beauty and femininity are inspirational. I will be turning 56 in a few months and, although I have been very fortunate, the signs of aging are beginning to show. I sometimes consider plastic surgery, but I know that’s my ego talking, not my soul. I believe, as women, our self-worth has always been equated to how date-able we are. Because society puts so much pressure on us, to be attractive to men, we feel invisible when men are no longer engaging, flirting, and most of all — looking at us. How do we, as aging women, find that sweet spot? That place between being uncomfortable that men are giving us so much attention, and uncomfortable when we are no longer receiving any attention. It may be impossible for our generation, but if we should fill the minds of our younger counter-parts with the importance of valuing, respecting and understanding the impact their lives have on the world — not on men.


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