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I have been blogging for almost four years, and over this period of time I have watched myself travel from the age of  67 to 71.  I seldom look back at my posts from the past, but when I do, I notice the changes that happen with growing older.  I post what I perceive to be flattering photos, based on my how I’m feeling at the time and my comfort level.  I don’t photoshop my skin; I do use iPhoto edit to crop, brighten and reduce the shadows of an image when necessary.

I have decided not to intervene in the aging process with cosmetic surgery or fillers. It’s a personal choice, and I don’t judge those who decide differently.  Feelings of judgement cause stress, which is hard on the skin and hair.

What’s up with all of this self disclosure?

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During our last photoshoot, Daniel spontaneously took a few close-ups, which had me thinking about why I feel uncomfortable publishing an image that tells the story of the march of time across my face.  The lines and skin changes caused by aging that appear in different places when I smile or don’t smile.

If I am to mirror the tree that appears beautiful no matter its length of life, am I contributing to the denial of my age by feeling comfortable only with photos that portray my skin from a distance?  Close-ups make me feel vulnerable, exposed, unmasked, transparent.

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If I am to consciously love myself as a crone, why not let the camera tell the truth? The bark of an older tree appears different from the surface of a sapling.  A sapling I am not!

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My inner ageist dislikes the skin changes that appear with aging.  My inner activist loves them.  After all, I’m alive, and that is a privilege.  All I have to do is count the number of loved ones who have disappeared from the orbit that is my life.  The number is increasing and I don’t expect that to change, but rather escalate.

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The issue is complex and just telling myself that the changes of aging are beautiful does not make it happen.  My brain makes sure of that!  The beliefs about myself don’t magically go away without internal work.  Every day!  Many times I fall short of the expectations I have of myself in this process, as I become aware of the collaborations by numerous inner and outer saboteurs.

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I am committed to the strategies of mastery over self-love and self-worth as much as I’m determined to make this summer the year of the garden.  Why hold back in either area, as they both contribute to my quality of life and the amount of energy, compassion, and love that I have to give.  Consider this image of my back yard to be the “before photo,” as I throw caution to the wind.

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My crone feet are embraced and adorned with vintage black suede peep toe heeled slingbacks that are about the same age as The SC.  Everything that I’m wearing in this post is vintage and was purchased at estate sales over the years.

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Photos By Daniel

This study in black with rhinestones would not be complete without the intermittent rhinestones on the seams of my hose, repeated by similar embellishment on the outer aspects of my long black gloves.  The smallest detail can make an outfit sing or change the trajectory of a life.

I’m taking my black ensemble with a bit of sparkle over to Patti’s Visible Monday HERE at Not Dead Yet Style.  The blogging crowd is of great support, as we play together across the planet.  Thank you Patti, for making this party happen!

On another very important note, Vote For Vix for Vintage Personality 2014 HERE!  The Vintage Vixen is one of the most spectacular bloggers in every way possible and very much deserves this award.

I’m taking my totally vintage ensemble over to the gorgeous Bella’s Secondhand First link-up party at The Citizen Rosebud HERE and I’m joining Sacramento’s Share-in-Style gathering at Mis Papelicos HERE even though I’m not in red.  I wouldn’t want to miss out on the fun!  And I wouldn’t miss Sheila’s Shoe Shine #2 at Ephemera HERE. My vintage pumps are enjoying her high-spirited party!

73 Responses to “The March Of Time Across My Face”

  1. Lynn

    I have been struggling with this very issue. As a budding entrepreneur I realize that I need to post pictures of myself but I am uncomfortable with that.

    Part of that is just being a little bit more aware of how to move in front of the camera – subtle shifts in posture or the lift of a chin – things that good models understand.

    The other part is dealing with my own insecurities as well as external “conditioning” – marketing that preys on these insecurities (“more youthful skin”) to get us to part with our money (let’s face it – their claims usually don’t work).

    While age and the lessons learned have brought me more peace and contentment, I can honestly say I’ve never been happier, looking in the mirror I still focus on the “faults” because I don’t measure up to media standards. I think it is up to all of us to start redefining beauty – starting with acceptance and appreciation for ourselves. Because how we feel inside will be reflected outside.

  2. Bella Q

    I’m not sure if I’ve commented already- forgive me if I’m repeating myself. You truly are my inspiration on how to aim towards dignity, elegance and authentic stylish self-hood, Judith. I’ve been whining about feeling and looking old and losing my power but I see you- so vibrant and beautiful and honest. I can stop wingeing and take a moment to refocus on the joy of traveling through time. Each wrinkle maybe not the loveliest, but a reminder of the beautiful journey. Thank you for the reminder.

  3. Crystal

    One of your greatest hits, Judith. I was actually happy about my first wrinkles. I thought they added character. What brings me less joy are the things that fall: eyelids and cheeks. But even at that, I’m trying to cope and not yearn for what I once had because I’m so much better as a person with age. Thanks for giving voice to this passage in such a way that inspires and encourages your sisters.
    We love you!

  4. Sylvia @ 40PlusStyle

    How wonderful that you write about this topic and showing that it is a complex issue for you too. Even though you choose to age naturally it is never easy and it is always hard to look in the mirror and see another wrinkle or shadow appear upon your face. Or to get questions if there is something wrong with you due to the depressive expression on face caused by drooping skin and darker circles. I believe that natural aging faces are beautiful though and you are certainly a perfect example of that! Beautiful post and outfit as always!

  5. Vicki aka Vix

    Time has not marched across your face, m’dear, but has done a Nureyev leap! No tread marks whatsoever, and all have commented on not only your physical beauty but the transparency of the beauty of your spirit which shines through. May God keep you natural and winsome as She delights in you! I must wear boots (thank Dr. Martens for making them varied and stylish) for my wimpy ankles which must support a bod more titanium than flesh-and-blood, I think. On the voyage (6 hrs. with mandatory 2 hr. break walkabouts) from my successful Xray appt. with orthopedic doc, a lady called to me in the parking lot, “Love your outfit!” I can’t pull off the shoes with ensembles, so I brighten them considerably, yesterday wearing flamingo tights with flowered Docs and a gypsy Fair Trade ensemble. No more sophistication for my post-polio bod, but you can bet that when I get to the wheelchair stage, I will be embellished, as will the chair which will do wheelies! You are inspiring to me as well as many others to work with what we’ve got!

  6. Carol

    “The sun setting is no less beautiful than the sun rising.”

    These words from an ad in the Denver Post of years ago stick with me. Perhaps you saw them?

  7. Jan Graham-McMillen

    We sure go through it as we age, don’t we! Such inspiration here, Judith. You are wearing your years so beautifully … you know we all think that, and there’s just no doubt you are a gorgeous creature at all your ages. I’m liking your little smile lines on your cheeks … I like mine too, actually. I’m not so brave as to be happy with close up photos, and our camera widens me the closer it gets! That’s my photo-phobia. Since I’ve cut my hair, it’s been liberating about my neck and ageing skin there … no hiding it now, but I’m not minding it like I thought. I’m just happy to have what little neck I do have being seen for a change. Visible! Imperfect, but visible.
    Thank you, Judith, for your very thoughtful post. I’ve cut and pasted your observation “The smallest detail can make an outfit sing or change the trajectory of a life” in my collection of fashion quotes by people I admire … you’re in haute company, my dear, and seem quite at home there!
    I’ve had a completely rotten and difficult week, and you’ve made me feel a great deal better with your own observation of your evolution.

  8. Mrs D from Hello The Mushroom

    Beautiful post, a great reflection on how it feels like to deal with looking older. You look beautiful and your outfit is adorable!

    PS: I included HAT ATTACK on my list of blog hops and link parties!

    http://www.hellothemushroom.com/2014/05/22/blog-hops-and-linkups-blogging-tips/

    Lots of hugs, beautiful lady!

  9. Lovely Links: 5/23/14 - Already Pretty | Where style meets body image

    […] I am to mirror the tree that appears beautiful no matter its length of life, am I contributing to the denial of my age by feeling comfortable only with photos that portray my sk… Close-ups make me feel vulnerable, exposed, unmasked, […]

  10. Annoné

    Thank you so much for this post. It really struck a chord with me as I have been struggling with my facial wrinkles as I age – I am 64. I’ve always been proud of my skin and like to think I look younger than my age (self deception?). But sometimes when I catch myself in the mirror I notice deep wrinkles in my face. And I have to acknowledge that they are there. I don’t want to have surgery or fillers (I couldn’t afford them regularly anyway). But your post gave me comfort and made me think that it’s time to grow up. There are more important things in life – and I am alive!

  11. Lisbet

    I think we older women have to start a campaign, beginning today, as we look in the mirror: “Old is beautiful!” We need to straighten our necks and look right out at the world, not to let us enslave by the Only-the-young-is-beautiful- hysteria.

    We need to be free, now! And feel our inner and outer beauty for all that it is worth!

    Power to the Crones of the world!

    Lisbet

  12. Rebecca

    This is such a beautiful and much appreciated post, dear Judith. I am only a couple of years younger than you and feel all of the same emotions when looking at my face in photos or the mirror. I applaud your honesty and willingness to share the journey with us.
    On another note, I don’t count out minor tweaks if that is what you want. However, I think the current obsession with fillers has lead to some really freakish faces (I won’t mention names!)
    I love your blog so much and have always learned a lot from it.

  13. Beata B

    Dear Judith! You look absolutely gorgeous in this black outfit:)
    Hugs Beata

    http://www.fashionadventuresatanyage.com

  14. Coco

    Excuse me madam, are you Ms. Hepburn? I’m breathtaken by your infinite charm. Chapeu.
    Baci,
    Coco
    Coco et La vie en rose / Bloglovin / Facebook
    International giveaway: win a sparkle made in Italy

  15. Rosy

    This is a beautiful message! I totally agree with you, the beauty isn´t measured for skin wrinkles , but yes for the feelings you clear out. You are beautiful, my dear friend!

  16. Sheila (of Ephemera)

    You are spectacularly beautiful, Judith! I love this post, as I begin to wrestle with my own aging body (grey hair, wrinkles, non-taut skin, much sagging everywhere!). Thank you for linking up to Shoe Shine as well, busy lady!

  17. Stacey

    You look so amazing for your age … I can only hope that I can rock style like you when I get old!

  18. Ariane

    Hi Judith,

    Since my accident, aging is not an issue, so priviliged to be alive, i was lucky-

    Arianexo

  19. Tish

    “The smallest detail can make an outfit sing or change the trajectory of a life!” I luv that and your fabulous outfits ~ rock on big sista!

  20. Anonymous

    And you are an amazing 71 years young!

    Thank God there are bloggers who will highlight fashion and style from all ages and body types ~

  21. Anonymous

    And I just wanted to add to the chorus – you look absolutely beautiful. Even more so with the lines.

  22. Virginia

    My mother is not a role model for aging well. No angst in my heart, but to find a guide down that path, I must look further afield. So, please, continue to show your real self, wrinkles and all. For when I see these pictures, I see what the future may hold for me: a life fully and joyfully lived, embraced with ALL that comes with it.

  23. Jean

    It is everything you’ve just expressed so well, the pendulum swing of acceptance and gratitude on one side, and on the other side the surprise of catching a glimpse of the “matron” in the window as [I] walk by. In the middle is a muddle of feeling waaay too self absorbed (shame on me) and yearning to create art through personal style.

    Recently that negative “voice” has started harping on the size of my ears! Like when did THAT happen?!!!! Yes, utterly ridiculous. 🙂

    You look beyond lovely here. When I think of women that are beautiful, I love the gamut. It’s also the gestalt, the energy that we bring. But we know that, don’t we? All the more reason to share stories and truths, through blogging and beyond. You inspire so many, and I’m grateful to be one of them. XXXOOO

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