2 Sep 2016

Better Not Younger: A Game Of Challenge

better-not-younger-blythe-danner-vicki-archer

Better, not younger.

The more I say it, the more I like it.


This is a game of challenge.

 

It is a challenge not to want to look younger, feel younger, act younger and “be” younger. We know in all honesty we can’t but it doesn’t stop us trying. Even the more confident of us must waiver slightly from time to time. Awareness of what is right, the knowledge of good sense and the wisdom to follow through are not always by our side.


Being better and not younger takes hard work and practise every day.

We have to fight all those clichés that taunt us. The world is stuck on this idea that youth is somehow better and we of the older generation regret ageing and aspire to be more youthful.


Rubbish, I object vehemently and vote for age and wisdom.



Yes, I look in the mirror sometimes and get one almighty fright. Who is that woman looking back? Do I know her? How did she become a grown-up? In Nano seconds, the shock recedes and my focus re-equates to reality, I am the woman I am and the way I look does not define me. I care about being a better version of myself and that involves so much more than surface beauty. Don’t misunderstand, I do want to look fabulous, dress well and walk down the street with a pep in my step and catch an eye or two. I don’t for one minute believe that looking younger at my age will make that happen; it is my inner self, my confidence and what I give back that will reap those rewards.


The flip side of ageing is acceptance. Age is a privilege denied to many and I don’t ever wish to take this for granted. Last week our family lost a very dear friend in tragic circumstances. In perfect health, he was suddenly struck by influenza and gone within 48 hours. No notice and no rhyme or reason for his death; life doing what life does. Growing old means freedom and liberty; age is an honour bestowed on the lucky ones.



How can we be better as mature women?


Most importantly we need to ignore the youth obsessed culture we are surrounded with; this doesn’t mean a lack of understanding or appreciation. Granted, the emphasis is changing and more and more older women are being applauded for their intelligence, beauty and accomplishments. Nevertheless it is difficult not to feel invisible at times. I know that feeling of invisibility, it happens to all of us and creeps up and destabilises us when we let our guards down.


We can work on our self-confidence and surround ourselves with like-minded people. Positive energy is the only energy to engage with. Confidence is like physical exercise it requires practise to be expert. It’s not easy to be confident and even those who appear to have the brightest smiles face insecurity from time to time. Insecurity is natural but letting it overwhelm and define us is dangerous.


If we don’t like something about ourselves, let’s change it. Action and re-action help us be better, more content and grow confidence. We should focus on the positive and attack only those areas we know we can make progress in. Unrealistic expectations are the easiest way to fail and thinking we need to be younger to appear better is a trap for young players.



Growing older and ageing gracefully is a game of challenge.

Every day our minds and bodies are challenged with the expected and the un-expected. Better not younger means rising to those challenges, facing them head on and working through them until we like the outcome.


Better not younger; I am still liking this philosophy. xv




Watch Blythe Danner talk about why she doesn’t date, HERE


images blythe danner

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35 Comments

Taste of France

I’d love to know what Blythe and Gwyneth talk about.
We are responsible for the youth culture. The baby boomers. We might be responsible for changing attitudes about aging. I think what nobody wants is to be infirm, close-minded, difficult, aching, etc. That’s why we work out, why we watch our weight, why we seek new challenges. And that’s good!

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Vicki

Change, challenge and flexibility are the goals.. and yes, totally agree, it is us who should change attitudes about ageing… and I believe we are… :)

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david terry

Dear “Taste of France”…..

I couldn’t, of course, presume to know what Blythe and Gweneth talk about…….but I have a funny feeling (given that I just wrote about both of them) that they don’t spend a lot of their time talking about me…….

Sad, when you come to think about the matter, isn’t it?

Amusedly as ever,
David Terry

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david terry

Oh, goodness……I can distinctly recall when I first became aware of Blythe Danner. I couldn’t have been more than 13 or so (which is to say, in 1974 or so), but I thought she was wonderful and very beautiful (I’d seen her something on PBS….a Eugene O’Neill play, I think?…or was it the movie-version of “The World According to Garp”?).

In any case…..She is, of course, utterly wonderful….and she seems to just get better and better as the years roll by. Have you ever read/heard other (than the one you’ve posted) interviews with her? She’s splendid, and predictably articulate ——-which doesn’t surprise me; weirdly enough, two of my friends are actually longtime NYC friends with her (not, of course, that I’ve ever met her, so I’m not gratuitously name-dropping here),and they both think the world of her.

Danner’s completely consistent poise (try comparing her to her contemporary… the chronically erupting, self-involved, publicity-addicted/seeking, and general hot-mess, Mia Farrow?) is all the more remarkable given that her daughter is one of the most disliked people on the internet. Someday, someone will explain to me why so many people loathe Gwyneth Paltrow; she seems like a perfectly pleasant person to me. It’s not HER fault that she’s pretty, born rich, and has/had two parents who are both talented, successful, & hardworking (one of the things you’ll consistently hear from anyone who’s worked with Danner is that she’s a real trooper when it comes down to the actual work).

At my usual risk of coming-off as an irredeemably old-fashioned, Southerner?…..I have to say that, if someone asked me to name a real lady who also happens to be in show-business, Blythe Danner’s is one of the first two or three names (not that I could think of many more) that would come to mind.

Well…..what fun to come across this posting (and that photograph) of Danner this morning. Thank you, Vicki.

Level Best as Ever,
david terry

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david terry

Dear Jackie, Thanks for the compliment. To answer your question? You can find a feminist (I know, I know…..by me, a guy) dissertation on Thomas Hardy’s female protagonists somewhere in the bowels of Duke University’s library. Other than that?……I suppose (I’ve never googled myself) there are a lot of self-consciously amusing, but REALLY bitchy reviews out there; I used to be the “witty but bitchy” go-to-guy fiction-reviewer for several prominent, USA newspapers and magazines. At least three editors would assign me the review when they disliked the author and wanted a hatchet-job (not that I thought, at the time, that I was doing “hatchet-jobs”, but I was). I think I was at least 40 (which would be 16 years ago) before I finally thought “Oh, this is too EASY….it’s not fun anymore, and it never was nice”. I don’t think I’ve published anything (except for comments on friends’ blogs) in at least 15 years.

I make my living, quite successfully, as an artist/illustrator these days. As I regularly say, it’s a lot easier, quicker, and less stressful to draw the outsides of books than writing the insides of them.

sincerely,

david terry

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Josephine

I so agree with your philosophy and that it takes hard work to be better both physically and mentally. For the physical I do Pilates which is great for the posture. Standing tall and straight is essential as we grow older. For the mental I meditate for 20 minutes every day and would highly recommend it. It takes discipline to take 20 mins out of our day, we are so accustomed to “doing” all the time but it really pays off and over time helps create inner peace and calm.

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Vicki

I’m trying Josephine.. :) It’s one of the hardest things for me.. to slow down!

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Mumbai

You are a little (but great) philosoph. I like how you see this topic from your
point of view and I agree. This morning I discovered an other new spider veine and I blame it on my old legs. So what? Beeing old(er) has a lot of
benefits and I would (very candidly spoken) not like to change it. Every lifespan is worth to live it, learn from it and continue with that acquired experiences. ..and heaven knows what else will come. Therefore I enjoy every day as
well as in any way possible.

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Michelle à Detroit

Superb post, Vicki. It is is a gift to be able to age in good health. Being more acutely aware of the passage of time can be a double edged sword. It’s good if we are able to embrace and use the wisdom that years should bring us, and bad if we haven’t heeded the lessons that life should have taught us. While I dislike the overused buzzwords “curated” and “edited”, these are the perfect terms to descibe the ability to synthesize all that we have learned; to embrace what we love and put aside that which we don’t. There is literally no time to waste!

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david terry

I really appreciated your comment, “Michelle a Detroit”. I wish that Vicki could find a way to add a “like” icon/button to the responses…….there are some very wise and articulate women (and, just occasionally, men) writing them.

sincerely, david terry

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Mimi Gregor

I think that it’s very important that we redefine what it means to look attractive and chic, and not play by the “kiddie’s” rules. Paul and I are acquainted with a “posse” of 60-somethings who still try to look and dress like the “girls” from Sex and the City: dresses that are both low-cut, short, oh, yes — and tight… long but poufy, layered hair… obvious work done on their faces and boobs. They don’t succeed in looking “sexy”; they carry too heavy an air of desperation about them. Desperate is NEVER sexy.

Indeed, I think that it’s counter-productive to try for “sexy”, or even “pretty” after a certain age. BUT! One can ALWAYS be chic! Or attractive. Or powerful. Or all of the above. We really have to choose the adjectives we are trying to be with more discernment.

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Diana Ferguson

Well said ,Mimi and Terry, and thank you, Vicki, for this thoughtful post. I hate the MDL look most of all, that and the overbotoxed look of some people, men and women!

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Wendi

Oh my, Cheers to Women Of A Certain Age(lessness)! However, I have just started to date a gentleman after several years of stepping out of the dating scene and I cannot tell you the glow it puts on your face and the song in your heart! I just celebrated the big 6-0 and I really hope that there is love beyond this milestone (or millstone :=))….remember Frank crooning that love is better the second (or third or fourth!) time around!

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Stephanie

Love Love Love! ❤️ My mother was always older than most of my friends mother’s. But, there was always a youthfulness about her. I never thought of her as beautiful until my minister came to the funeral home and said what a beautiful woman she was. It was from that day forward I looked at my Mother differently. I believe it was her confidence and caring of others that gave her the inner and outer beauty that shined show brightly in her later years. By no means do I think I am beautiful but from my Mother I believe that I carry a little bit of her Sparkle with me everyday! I also think there is nothing more Beautiful that those women in their Golden Years who walk with that inner Confidence! One can spot these Beauties a mile away…
So…I accept the challenge to walk confidently into the future and to “smell the roses” everyday! Thank you Vicki for another wonderful post and reminding your readers we are never too old to better ourselves; and “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

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Karen from Oxford

Youth really is a state of mind. I recently turned 56 but in my mind I don’t feel any age so growing older feels irrelevant to me. I have relished my years because I’ve been more fortunate than many. I’m aware that my skin is ageing and my hair is becoming more silver as the years roll by but, hey, it’s my authentic self and I am not interested in looking like an older woman who is trying to look younger. I have too much self respect for that and because it is perfectly natural. I love clothes, makeup, yoga, eating well and enjoying the occasional glass of wine, especially over the last two weeks holidaying with my lovely family. My husband and I take such pleasure in the company of our daughters (both in their twenties now) and their friends – the chatter, the laughter – all of this helps to keep us young at heart.
I’m terribly sorry about your friend. No time to say goodbye. I think that’s why it’s so important to share the feelings we have for those close to us while we’re all still together.

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Linda B

Thank you, yet again, for putting into words so beautifully what I am striving for! It is just such a great support to read how you put things.

All the best to you, Vicki!
Linda

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M.Lane

Vicki a MARVELOUS post and one with which I wholeheartedly agree. In the USA in particular we are fully in the clutches of the “forever young” movement. If you have a chance, I adore a great little book dealing with this….”Travels with Epicurus” by Daniel Klein. No wonder why I love this book! Again, thanks for a message that is so very much needed.

ML

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Mona Turner

Wonderful post Vicki! Aging gracefully is my goal. I challenge myself everyday. My morning begins with yoga to set the day. I really try to be mindful of my thoughts and actions throughout the day. I think that lovely thoughts keep our face and bodies soft. Blythe Danner is a prime example.

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Ann-maree

I really loved this post but it did raise questions I’ve been pondering as well. My mother always referred to not looking ” like mutton dressed as lamb” and as she passed away before I was out of my 20’s I tended to take that mantra shopping with me for the next 30 years. It is only now that I look at women who may not follow the idea of growing old gracefully and who seem confident and happy. Perhaps I have actually never had that level of confidence. I guess what I’m trying to say is I agree wholeheartedly for myself but appreciate that what ever makes a woman happy with herself and able to face the world is surely only a positive as well.

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Vicki

Yes.. life should be very much “each to his own” and fashion, worn with confidence, is no exception. Look at Iris Apfel.. perfect example..

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Trish

I agree with you 100% Vicki. I am about to turn 67 and don’t feel “old” at all. Life just gets better.

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Alison

Wonderful thoughts Vicki, I applaud you. In a perfect world we could all rise to the challenge but sadly there are some areas of all our lives no matter how hard we try the reality is a little different. I am 62 years of age with a sharp mind, young and modern at heart, short, slightly overweight, have great skin and hair, a cancer survivor and work full time in the legal field surrounded all day by wrinkle free ‘bright young things’ with trim waists who look great in a pencil skirt and jacket . I am respected for my knowledge and my company is sought after socially so where do I feel I fall down? My wardrobe! I live in hot humid Brisbane where the stores seem to cater for only women whose arms don’t sag, who don’t have a tummy or are plus size. I believe retailers think the only women allowed to cover their arms are plus sized. I can afford to shop for the better labels yet I have so much trouble finding suitable clothes for not only business but for a dressy weekend too. I have a wardrobe full of little cardigans and boleros but who wants to wear a knit in 35 degrees? Jackets they are fine in air conditioning but who wants to sit at their desk all day in a jacket? Many of the dressy kaftan type tops make me look much bigger than I really am. The overseas online shopping I have tried is hit and miss with the sizing so there is the problem of returns. I just want my clothes to flatter and to look well put together and stylish befitting my role in the company and lifestyle in general. Our clothes are so much a part of the person we present to the world and how we are perceived. They have the ability to boost or destroy our confidence.

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Vicki

Totally agree, Alison.. There is a shortfall with clothing that suits warm and oftentimes humid weather. I have that problem when I am back in Sydney in the summer.
I am going to try and think up some brands and ideas for you … :)

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Billie-Jo

This really is inspiring. I am a busy Mum with 3 children, one of which still under 10. I am fast approaching my 50th Birthday and beginning to feel invisible! At work and amongst other younger women I know, Looking in the mirror in exactly the way you write. However I promised myself that by the time that Big Birthday arrived I would have redefined myself and started to think differently about who I am. A little weight loss, a little bit fitter and this blog post has certainly helped to keep me inspired to be better, Not Younger. Thank you Vicki X

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Anita Rivera

Good morning Vicki! I came here the other day when your post just went up, but my WIFI service had just crashed. I am here again to enjoy this conversation.

I totally agree that we are becoming better. It also is imperative that we show the world that we are more beautiful now, but to teach the world through our acceptance of age, that age is a new beginning of wisdom. There’s that word again: WISDOM. It never goes out of fashion. Enjoy your day!

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Mary Beth Grady

Hello. I’ve been following your blog for years and have enjoyed it immensely as well as have received much good information. I have a couple of questions. Can you recommend something with an SPF of 30 or more to put on my skin when I’m going out but don’t want a foundation look. Something moisturizing with a little color, but light. I don’t plan to put anything else on my face. Also, do you use a separate eye serum and do you recommend another serum other than the Filorga Meso +? Thank you.

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Vicki

Hello Mary Beth,

I use the Giorgio Armani BB or CC cream.. it has enough coverage and protection. I find my face and neck never get burnt when I wear this and so I pretty much wear it all year round. In the evening I might wear more coverage.. but the bb/cc is almost enough. The bb is only in one colour.. the cc has various shades. My recommendation is to go down one shade in strength for a more natural and even finish.

For serums,
I like the Clarins one very much and also the serum from Valmont.

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