Let’s reflect for a moment.
At the beginning of last year, I pondered what 2020 would bring like so many of us. After the last few years of trouble and strife, coming to the end of a decade held excitement and anticipation. Of course, this is something we humans do. We aim to start afresh. It’s a way of coping. We reassure ourselves with renewal. We make resolutions. We set goals. We make plans. Of course, life tends to get in the way of these plans, but we’re still hopeful.
There is no doubt life had its way with us in 2020 and most surely caused us to stumble over what we were hoping for.
But despite the massive hurdles 2020 presented us. Life still went on. And we persevered.
For some of us, with great sadness and loss and for that, we are all sorry, and none of us will forget the sorrow of 2020.
Our perspective on life is forever changed. But, this was not the temporary change of heart that comes as the clock ticks past midnight but a perspective that can only come through lived experiences.
In 2020 we had no choice but to find a way to move forward despite the true perils we were facing. But face it, we did; collectively. We were and still are in this together.
Perhaps that may be the greatest gift 2020 could leave us. We are in this together. Despite our isolation, 2020 was not the time to close the shutters on each other.
Most of us understood this. It has been a gift.
And we still marked the milestones of life.
Like birthdays, another chance to reflect, check your goals and hopefully manifest a few of your dreams.
Or the anniversary of a union between two people. It presents us with the opportunity to take a long look back, and if we like what we looked back on, hopefully, we will move forward together.
Or the birth of a child or the coming of age of that same child. A milestone to be proud of.
And naturally, looking back, it’s helpful if we’re not too critical. After all, we all struggle; we all make mistakes, and none of us knows whether we’re doing it right. So, try not to be too hard on yourself or too critical.
And, when you see photos of the person you were? Try to recognise YOU in the picture.
I often reflect on my career in the beauty industry. I’ve spent a lot of time convincing people like you that skincare is important. You’ll often hear (or read) me saying. Your future skin will thank you!! Which is true. I’ve not just been saying it to you but myself. But, over the years, as I’ve said those words, it’s been this far-off future sitting comfortably in my imagination.
In my mind, the commitment to caring for my skin and the choices and actions I’ve taken has been worth it. But I’ve never been entirely sure. I was too young to know and hadn’t arrived at my future. Even at 40. I didn’t think I’d come to that moment of my skin saying. Why, thank you, Julie. Good Job!!
But turning 60 in 2020? Yep. I finally heard that voice in my head. My future skin finally said. THANK YOU.
The coming of age.
This curious thing happens when you’re on the eve of a significant birthday. The audible gasp.Yep, and the expression that follows when you tell people you’re on the cusp of a milestone birthday.
Or are they just being polite? Either way, it’s a definite gasp. Have you ever heard it?
Of course, you hope the shocking gasp is because you look great for your age!! I know. Vanity. In the era of pro-ageing, I could beat myself up about my vanity. But no, I’ll leave that to someone else.
I’ll tell myself it’s more than vanity. It’s anchored to my self-esteem; I can feel the confidence of age while remaining somewhat visible in the world.
Sadly, becoming invisible is especially true for women as we age. I know. It shouldn’t be this way. But, as a largely patriarchal society, we still have a long way to go.
Ageing and ageism might be the last frontier for feminism, and even though things are changing, it still feels an awful lot like a man’s world.
Just look around. You won’t have to look too far.
The advertisement where we marvel out how good [insert beautiful ageing actress] looks for her age. Is the same wonder and amazement held for George Clooney? At 59? Is anyone saying oh, wow! He’s still so hot? Did anyone bat an eyelid over the age of his wife Amal at 42? Of course not.
Richard Gere is married to a woman 30 years his junior, Robert Redford. 20 years his junior. Alec Baldwin, at 62, has just fathered his 5th child with his wife, Hilaria, at 36.
I’ve not heard much about the age gap in these relationships; have you? Of course, society might frown a little, but generally, these men will escape scrutiny. And that’s how it should be. Why should they be scrutinised? If it’s true love, they know the pain that awaits them. And, when all is said and done, it’s their life to live.
If it’s not hurting or harming anyone else, be with whomever, you please. Love and respect are the most critical aspects of any relationship, and age should be irrelevant. Surely?
Really, who cares?
Well, it turns out I do.
I care because the same standard is not held for women.
Why is a woman under so much scrutiny for the same thing? Even by other women? The judgements of other women may be the harshest of all.
French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte? Do you think Brigitte, at 67, has suffered the ire of society’s cruelty and judgement for marrying a man 25 years younger than her? Yes, most certainly. I’m sure she’s heard; not just an audible but a screeching gasp of shock.
In Brigitte Macron’s own words…
“Of course, we have breakfast together, me and my wrinkles, him with his youth, but it’s like that. If I did not make that choice, I would have missed out on my life. I had a lot of happiness with my children and, at the same time, felt I had to live ‘this love’ as Prevert used to say, to be fully happy.”
It takes a fearless, powerful and confident woman to let the spotlight of public scrutiny shine brightly in her face, in her life—ageism writ large without flinching or running to the nearest cosmetic physician.
Why do we endure double standards?
Like it or not, youthfulness is still the prize. I think it always will be, and we might be hardwired that way. Sure, we’ve made a little progress. Thanks to a handful of trailblazers, an actress over 50 can still be hopeful the work will keep coming her way.
So, when someone says, you look mighty fine for your age. Take the damn compliment. If you’ve invested in how you look and think it’s all paid off, then be proud of it.
And, when I say you’ve invested in your skin, I don’t mean in cosmetic surgery or anti-ageing injectable enhancements. Although if it’s what you want, then it’s excellent! Invest. If you’re in the care of someone who can make improvements with a deft hand and subtlety rather than a reinvented version of your former self that you don’t quite know or recognise anymore. Well then, I say go for it!
If it makes you happy. If it gives your career longevity? Do it. If it improves your confidence and self-esteem? Then definitely do it.
For me, it’s always been about the health of my skin. Everything else to enhance your appearance is just the icing on your birthday cake.
Your investment could be as simple as an excellent moisturiser with a vitamin A ester and a broad-spectrum sunscreen, or it could be a more advanced routine. How much you want to spend is totally up to you.
But whichever way you go, high-quality skincare is a perfect place to start.
Sure, you could say, to hell with all that, I’m proud of every wrinkle. I’ve earned them!! I know, me too. But I still want healthy skin, and I still want it to glow, and I want it to look bright and radiant, not blotchy and tired.
So when someone says you like mighty fine for your age. Take the damn compliment. If you’ve invested in how you look and you think it’s all beginning to pay off, then be proud of it!
Is it too late for you?
Have you thought it’s too late for you? Is the damage done? Is it Irreversible? Nothing will work for you? Your future skin didn’t thank you, and you don’t care.
Sure, you might think all of those thoughts. I’ve certainly heard you say it many times, and I’ve also heard you say you don’t care when I suspect you do.
Just for a moment, recognise that you probably care, and it’s never too late to improve your skin’s health and appearance.
Okay, maybe you’ve spent too much time in the sun. Maybe there was a time you just lived in the moment and didn’t even think about your future skin. I know, and I get it.
But no matter how old you are now, your future skin will be very grateful for just a few small steps in the right direction.
What will 2021 bring?
After a year like 2020, even the best-laid plans can and will be thrown into disarray. If we learnt anything in 2020, we learnt to pivot.
But of one thing, we can be sure; we will be another year older. Wiser, no doubt, more resilient, let’s hope. Optimistic? If we can be.
My wish? We stop rushing about and take more time for ourselves.
And, not just say these things, but do them and mean it and let it all play out and see what happens.
And finally, acknowledge that missing out is not to be feared and might be quite okay sometimes.
Those are my hopes for 2021 and beyond.
And how about better skin?
Yep, if you want it; your future skin has been heard to say. Start now, and do it today.
But maybe you need a little help getting started. Heading into a new decade might be the perfect time to reassess, reboot and start investing in yourself.
You might also like this article I wrote a while back on how to Future Proof Your Skin.
And lastly, my best wishes to you for a big, beautiful, happy and healthy 2021.
Stay safe, and I’ll see you next time,