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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 Comments

  1. I LOVE this post! You are so vulnerable and open and real and lovely! I identify strongly with the whole theme of wanting to age beautifully yet needing to embrace the real physical aspects of aging as well. Dealing with the visible changes in my appearance is a challenge and yet is also a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life itself and helps me to cherish each moment more wholeheartedly. Also, the beauty of my inner self becomes more of my focus each day, although I love to look stylish and hopefully attractive.

    Thank you for your wonderful blog, your inner and outer beauty, your honesty and authentic sharing and empowering.

  2. Thank you for your post today regarding our skin wrinkling through our ages. There is nothing more beautiful than a natural woman and that, my gorgeous blogger, is YOU.

    There is nothing more obvious, sad and ugly as a woman who has “had work” in my opinion. In my life I have tried to follow the Desiderata…..”Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.”

  3. You look marvelous just the way you are. No matter how good the technician or doctor, important facial expressions are lost once the needle and knife are employed. Human beings are trained to read and respond to minute changes in facial expressions. When these are altered or disappear, our ability to connect to each other is impaired. Much as I would love to look better as I age, I’ve decided that Mother Nature knows best. Diet, exercise and “thinking beautiful thoughts,” as my mother used to say, will have to do. Your black outfit is very elegant, as usual.

  4. You are a classic Hollywood beauty queen with off the charts beauty no matter your age. You inspire us all, Judith…through each ensemble and YES wrinkle! You are so youthful and fun…just keep smiling!

  5. I focus on my own wrinkles, but I don’t focus on other people’s wrinkles. We are so much harder on ourselves than we are on anyone else. Your smile is what really makes your photos so captivating.

  6. What a wonderful post! Aging naturally has a beauty all its own, and I think we are on the verge of a general realization of that fact. Thank you for reminding us all that style isn’t just for the young, and neither is creativity. You make stylishness a most enviable accomplishment.

  7. Judith – you have been one of my role models for so many years! You only glow more and more with the widsom of a crone. This article is an example of it. I love you so very much and feel honored to have shared so much time together since 1976 when you first welcomed me into your home.

  8. Oh, Judith! It’s perfection! The entire ensemble is drool-worthy, of course, but it’s your words that capture wholly and irrevocably. “March of time” indeed! I love the analogy of skin to tree and I will hold that in my heart and my head as I begin my own march. Thank you.

  9. Dear Judith, you are beautiful woman and a big inspiration for me…
    I am sending these lines as a gift for you:

    You will hear the thunder and remember me,
    And think: she wanted storms.
    The rim of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
    And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.

    Greetings, Nadia

  10. I think it natural to have conflicting feelings about the visible signs of aging. As I grow older, there are many things I embrace, one being a better understanding and appreciation of self. It may be perceived as wisdom, but more life years does translate to more life experience, and with that comes knowledge. No matter, that I seem to accumulate this so called wisdom by chance, misstep, or repeated challenge. All well and good, but the thing is…I never feel *different* than the child I was. So, seeing myself in the mirror appearing much more mature contradicts my feelings about myself. I don’t dislike what I see; but it is surprising to me!

    You Judith, are beautiful, up close and personal! As Maricel writes, I love how you’ve used a tree, a great symbol of wisdom, as your metaphor for aging.

  11. Your costumes and comments are ageless; this one especially. It is obvious in your words and your face that you are compassionate, gracious, elegant and a true role model. If she were still alive, Geace Kelly would read your blog to see how to dress and act!

  12. WE LOVE YOU for your vulnerability and authenticity. You are a role model for many of us.
    blessings to you for your joie de vivre!

    jane

  13. Yes, it’s the journey, isn’t it? I too shy away from close-ups but you’re inspiring me to face them (no pun!) and accept the changes. You are a beauty, inside and out, and ever will be. Thanks for sharing with Visible Monday, xox.

  14. This is why you are an inspiration – and I don’t use that term lightly, its often applied inappropriately – but you totally are.
    You are beautiful, stylish, intelligent and have a big heart. If there were more women like you who accepted the natural signs of ageing the world would be a much, much happier place.
    The outfit is wonderful and its obvious the camera loves you.
    Thanks for being you and for making Blogland such a fantastic place, my life is a whole lot richer for having you in it. xxxxxxx

  15. This kind of honesty is much more compelling that simply letting the camera show your wrinkles. Examining that long-conditioned reluctance is ultimately more productive, I’m sure, than a one-off post allowing the zoom lens past its usual limits. I’ll definitely be reading and looking as you pursue this project. Thanks for the post!

  16. I do so love your last blog. I turned 60 last summer and 60 always sounded so old. In the last 5 years I noticed a lot of changes to my skin and since my Mom’s and Dad’s skin both were as smooth as silk until they died in their 80s I was hoping for the same experience. It appears that will not be my fate as my skin already looks worse than either of theirs. (Maybe that is 40 years in the Phoenix sun.) At any rate, you are currently more beautiful than most women of any age, so those wrinkles are not hurting you one bit. Enjoy the process and I honor your decision to age naturally. I plan to also.

  17. It’s true, we can believe we OUGHT to think and feel a certain way… But actually achieving that takes some effort, it isn’t easy. We can feel conflicted and ambivalent. But that’s OK too, as we work towards self-acceptance. You write with such grace and honesty, Judith, it’s a pleasure to read your thoughts and ideas. And just as much of a pleasure to see your beautiful face, and marvel at another gorgeous and elegant outfit! You look fabulous. xxxx

  18. I can identify all too well. It’s hard for me (any I suspect most of us) to see evidence of aging in our photos. I’ve also had to push myself to get past what my disability looks like on camera as well, especially on video. But you’re right, we’re not saplings and we needn’t be ashamed of that fact. You always look radiant – not to mention exquisitely dressed – because your beauty is amplified by your lovely character and confident sense of self.
    Thank you for sharing all of these things with us every week!

    Alicia
    spashionista.com

  19. 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 are such wise and wonderful words. I always try love myself, how can I love others otherwise?
    Love and sunshine ALWAYS, dear Judith.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  20. What a universal chord runs through your post! Don’t we all “try” to accept our changing faces as time marches on. I suppose it might be easier for those people who don’t give a darn about their appearance. But, obviously, people who wear rhinestones don’t fit that category!! I too struggle to accept wrinkles, particularly heritary ones — ones that really are not your fault. Anyway, you are beautiful both inside and out, and I’m sure everyone who sees you sees that.

    Much love from England,
    Rose from http://www.foreveronthecatwalkoflife.co.uk

  21. I am happy to say that I feel as you do about not having things done to an aging skin to make it look younger. I am happily a grandmother, for one, and I have no intention of looking like the mother of my teenage grandchildren. You have taken me on an inspiring journey. This week’s beautiful gloves and clutch are speaking to me. I am thrilled to say I like your pumps as much and they are as old as they are. As you have noted, some beautiful things are timeless.

  22. You are so timeless & classic & stylish. Age doesn’t need to figure into that, does it? I always enjoy seeing your posts!

  23. What a great post and what an amazing woman you are, Judith.
    I honestly never knew your age and still cannot believe it.
    Of course we all know there are more important things in life than wrinkles but it is too easy to say “I don’t care about my age and how my body or my skin age…”

    You look absolutely stunning in this black look!!

    Annette | Lady of Style

  24. I love the twirling photo!!! It made me smile. You’re looking fab, this is a stunning look in the all-black. Nobody wants to be airbrushed perfection, we’d all look like mannequins – lines tell a story, and I hope mine are all laughter lines not worry ones! P x

  25. Bravo, Judith the brave one. You are a breath of fresh air, always ringing true (please don’t mind the mixed metaphors). I certainly would never have any ‘work’ done regarding my aging, but it doesn’t mean I’m not affected by it. It’s taken me a couple decades just to accept that it’s happened, happening. And then what? I don’t know. I haven’t given up, but I’m not comfortable with how I look either. I think I probably just try to ignore it, me, the fact that I’ve aged. Or take a nap… Anyway black is beautiful, especially your exquisite ensemble, piece by treasured piece.

  26. A beautiful woman is still a beautiful woman when she is older. What you see is the aging process. We who didn’t know you a decade or two ago only see a beautiful woman.
    I sometimes look at my aunt, who is your age, and wonder if my mother (her identical twin) would look the same if she hadn’t died 18 years ago. I also wonder what I will look like, if I reach my aunt’s age, now that I’m approaching the age my mother was when she died, but I find it difficult to imagine, even though I see my mother, and some of myself, in my aunt’s still beautiful face. But I have decided to celebrate every birthday, and try to see the beauty in my own face, whatever my age. And I am glad there are beautiful role models like you to look up to.

  27. Beautifully written , knowing that ageing is indeed such a priveledge but accepting the challenges it brings is an ongoing challenge, requiring much self talk.Your beauty coupled with a wise and caring soul shines through in every single post. The vintage outfit a perfect partner. Enjoy your summer in the garden.

  28. You are beautiful inside and out. I’ve also experienced that disconnect between my current face and how I looked a few years ago. Love the twirly skirt picture!!

  29. Time wouldn’t dare march across your face – tap dance, skip? maybe. If this is BEFORE, the during and after will be who knows what?

    This post makes me wonder how often we are truly still. When life is in motion we are blurs, especially when we’re twirling. I may see what you see but my sense of you is defined by your movement through space. But thank you for voicing this struggle. I definitely have it as well but it’s much easier to work through when I am empowered by your words and actions.

    Beauty everywhere here, in and out – and love that vintage with diamonds.

  30. One expects words of wisdom from The Crone. The word I seized upon in this post was ‘vulnerable.’

    Ageism is insidious! One dons garments and applies make-up as armor and war paint to do battle abroad, but how to confront the enemy bare-faced in a mirror? Keep writing words of strength for us, dear Judith, for there ageism has already slipped through the defenses of self-esteem and lies ready to attack on a particularly gloomy morning.

    Good coffee helps. So do rhinestones when diamonds are not available.

  31. Thank you for this inspiring and enlightening post, Judith. As time marches across my face, I am reminded of something my 20 year old son said to me recently-“I’m so glad you haven’t had anything ‘done’ to your face. Wrinkles tell such a story of one’s life. They are all YOUR stories, Mom and no one else’s “

  32. I have been blogging too (kinda)for four years………I am a bit younger then you but have been noticing the same thing going on with me!I am at that age where I can not jump into the bed of a pick up truck or down for that matter……when did that happen?Can’t say I enjoy the changes too much but as another commenter said aging is a PRIVELDGE and I hope to see a lot more changes!You do a terrific job with your VINTAGE pieces.I had a Vintage shop but closed it last June………after 12 years of loving what I did.Jump into that GARDEN…….it will make you so happy!See my garden at http://www.vintagehenhouse.com.Just know I knew zero, zip about gardening and look what happened!
    KEEP BLOGGING…………I’m with YOU no injections ,no treatments……just maybe a cream or two or three!WE EARNED THOSE LINES.Plus, it looks so much better then the woman with a facelift.

  33. You are so beautiful and elegant. You inspire me and give me the idea of how to dress and live. I enjoy reading your articles – they are so inspiring.

  34. What we need is mature women who are great fashion role models instead of the models and actresses the world admires currently. Mature beauty such as yours should be valued. Thank you for being willing to show us that mature beauty! Loved your post!

  35. The dress, the gloves, the shoes, the hat…each piece is perfection, dear Judith; and together they are even more divine!! Somehow, we are always our own worst critic, aren’t we?? Where others see beauty, we tend to see only the imperfections…and I know it isn’t just an age-related thing. I wish I knew the solution!!

    http://www.StyleIsMyPudding.com

  36. So honest and beautiful. When all around me are having facelifts, I’m made to feel insecure and inferior in some way. Your honesty and kiss ass attitude, is empowering. Thank you …thank you!

  37. I so get what you are saying. I don’t photoshop my lines either, but I don’t like them. Brain wrestling. You look adorable in this outfit. A bit black for spring but beautiful. Love the picture with the swirling skirt. Happy gardening.
    Greetje

  38. Thank you for being honest, inspiring and brave! Beauty does not end with time or age. You are a great example of that. We are the same age, and I applaud you from Norway!

    Lisbet

  39. If you, dear SC put something orange or red or pink on your thin body, you will change your mood. Under black hat your mind is working sharply and realistically, but if you put something blight you will fill open-minded and the realism will be moved a little bit. Nothing is black or white, there are not 50 but 50 thousand shadows of gray. If you have filling for NOW and HERE you will be happy. Believe me. And take care of your back court. Flowers can do a magic.
    Loving your posts and pictures,
    Maja from drowned and flooded Serbia.

  40. First of all, you always have such panache with pulling together complementary pieces! The repeating rhinestones are lovely,popping up in unexpected places.

    I also tend to choose photos that hide the wrinkles and jowls and loose skin, but I also want to be honest. I think that when women are seen realistically and still looking beautiful (like you), it makes everyone more comfortable with the signs of aging. That’s what I love about blogging – there are older women staying visible and vibrant!

  41. Hi Judith. I’ve been a fan of yours for awhile now but I rarely comment because I felt that I was not “posh” enough for you (those high school insecurities just never go away, do they?) But this is such a lovely post that I just have to join in. I just crossed over the line into my 60’s and I am so self-conscious about my aging face and bod and my awareness that I am becoming invisible. I live in Southern California, land of the perpetual teen-ager. Cosmetic surgery everywhere. I went to a party recently where I was the only female who had not had “work” done. And some of these girls were in their 40’s! But I grew up in Montana where most people just age naturally and they embrace it. They keep hiking and laughing, plowing snow and keeping it real though not particularly fashionable. You are so gorgeous both inside and out. Glamorous and beautiful, with your fabulous shoes planted firmly on the ground. Thank you for being a role model in every sense of the word.

  42. It is a tricky question. I tend not to take very close up photos ideally focusing on the outfit I am wearing as opposed to the quality of my skin. I do sometimes notice the slight scaring on the tip of my nose where I have had a BCC removed.
    I always find a smile helps. Photographing in the evenings when the light is softer also helps.
    I think if the overall look is chic people rarely notice the details.

  43. This is such a touchy subject for me these days – thank you for articulating the ambivalence so beautifully. After seeing the number of terrible plastic surgery faces that are all over the media, at this time I feel like I would never go under the knife, but that may change. It can be scary to see the marks that time has left across your skin, especially your face, and I have noticed it much more in my photos for my blog from the last year or two. I won’t deny that it makes me somewhat sad, especially as I never felt that I was attractive, or felt good in my own skin until maybe the last decade or so.

    A beautiful woman with good bone structure, who takes care of herself will always be beautiful. Especially when she chooses clothing that is elegant and beautiful and that fits her body, like you do. This is such a gorgeous outfit, right down to every last detail. I love the twirl-able skirt.

    Thanks for continuing to provide wise and inspiring insights on the emotional and physical impact of ageing.

  44. This is a wonderful post. I am 47 but I relate to much of what you say. After all, aging is a process, so while my 75 year old self will probably look at me in my forties and ask what I complained about, the me in my forties tends to look at the self of the twenties or thirties and sigh over the changes. It’s so hard not to do that.

    I am often told I look younger than my age and I am never really sure how that makes me feel. For one thing I don’t really know if it’s true though I suspect I might be pulling off a 5-10 years younger look at least at first glance. Or is it that women don’t look much different between the ages of 35 and 45? Anyhow, I cannot really decide if I want to be thrilled to look younger or if I want to embrace my age and be a fantastic looking 47. And just what does that mean anyhow?

    You look fantastic however you decide to embrace your age. I don’t think anyone expects a woman to have flawless skin in real life, no matter what her age, but the marks of living are different for us at different ages, whether it’s pimples, freckles, wrinkles or scars, they all show that we are real.

  45. Hi! I have just read your post, and I find it is wonderful!! The passing on the time changes the body, but beauty has nothing to do with age!
    You are a wonderful lady and your face ir really graceful…

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