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Why Midlife Women Give Up on Looking Good

Three conversations. Over the past three weeks. All women who are 58 (the age was really random and surprising).  Each one looked tired and appeared to have given up on their appearance.  All made jokes about how they were old.

In fact, as I sat with a group of ladies 45+ at a business reception, we began to discuss how we selected our attire for the evening.  One of the three above said, “Well, it doesn’t matter for me what I wear, I am the oldest at this table.”   Surprised by her comment, I immediately asked her age.  When she replied 58, everyone agreed how that is not old and then I said, “I am the oldest at the table.”  She had trouble believing I was over sixty and began to make many excuses why she had given up.  I know those excuses well.  I made them at the age of 48!  These are the excuses which somehow help us to live with how we look and do nothing to improve it. The excuses do not, however, erase the emotional pain felt deep inside while looking in the mirror or when attending an event, or even worse, avoiding attending events from lack of confidence.

Why Midlife Women Give Up on Looking Good

Here are the lines I hear the most:

  1. Self-care doesn’t stop the inevitable. Aging is going to happen, so I need to just accept it and let it happen.
  2. Self-care is expensive.
  3. Self-care is unnatural.
  4. Self-care is not on the priorities list right now, other people are more important.
  5. Self-care is overwhelming. I do not know where to begin or have the time to find out.

Excuses held me back from living life to its fullest and enjoying each moment.  I am thankful I moved past the excuses and began to do something at age 50…it is hard to believe that was 12 years ago.  Because aging is inevitable, I do not have a perfect body and never will.  But, I care for it now and I do not allow the problems to keep me from doing my best to feel confident.  When I write “self-care,” I mean health, wellness, vision, dreams, fashion, beauty, and all things which keep us going strong.

Here are just a few of my own challenges:  failing eyesight; ripped earlobe so I no longer can wear earrings unless they are clips and those hurt; hammer toes; thinning eyebrows; aging hands with huge veins; thinning skin on arms; wrinkles on face; gray hair I am not ready to accept; and I still need to lose weight predominantly for health reasons.  That’s a long list, but I do not live in this list and use it as an excuse to give up.  I get up every day and take care of myself.  I want to look and feel my best as I go through the remainder of this short life.

What excuses are you using not to care for yourself and gain confidence no matter your age? It is time to throw those excuses out the window and stop ridiculing ourselves with humor when we are in groups.  Go see the movie, The Intern.” The most confident person in the business was the seventy-year-old.  He did what he had to in order to enjoy his life… from working to exercise to relationships to wardrobe to standing by his values. This character was developed as a person who mattered. I Matter…and so do you.

What excuses are you making today?

Thanks for stopping by the Joy Boutique…have a great week.

Pamela Lutrell

Pamela Lutrell began her blog, over50feeling40, July 2010 with a desire to encourage women over 50 to walk in strength, confidence and joy. Of course, head turning style makes each day fun!

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Friday 5th of August 2016

Hi Pamela!

I know I am late to comment but I relate in almost every way to your story with the exception I am also a recovering binge eater.

I have totally morphed from being a total sloth, 100 pounds heavier, depressed, aging rapidly and feeling pretty hopeless. I am so grateful that I turned it around and yes, for aesthetics but more for health- who wants to go into their 60s looking awful and feeling worse?

I am so happy I found this post- it inspires me anew! Best, Elizabeth

PS My mother is 90 and still colors her hair, won't leave the house without lipstick and receives more compliments than women a fraction of her age- she cares and it shows!

Debby Gies

Thursday 1st of October 2015

I don't believe we have to give up on ourselves because we've reached a certain age. Vanity is what motivates me to look the best I can every time I walk out the door. Grey hair? I keep it vibrant red. I've always worn makeup when going out and will remain doing so until I leave this earth. My taste in clothes can sometimes be loud and eclectic and I don't plan on changing (I'm 56). Attitude counts for a lot and remembering to keep loving yourself.


Thursday 1st of October 2015

I find it hard to believe that women would give up self-care just because you're older. These excuses, while I guess are understandable, are silly. Were you perfect when you were young? Hardly! I had a laundry list of issues when I was young. My hair was never right, I didn't know how to dress well, wear makeup, I was painfully shy and I had skinny legs with keratosis pilaris. Now, I'm much more confident, I found my fashion look (boho/classic with funky jewelry), my hair is in flowing dreadlocks, I wear minimal makeup well, and I am slightly overweight I know how to dress to look thinner – and I'm working on being thinner by eating better and exercising. I'm 48. I'm a woman, and I can't imagine ever giving up on my femininity, that stays with you no matter what you age. My advice is to find a prominent woman your age in the media or your community who is well put together, confident and sensual. Whatever she's doing, you do. I look to women like Viola Davis, Cecily Tyson, Rachel Welch, Joan Collins and the inimitable Sophia Loren. Beautiful older women who are alive, sensual, feminine and powerful. They are who I want to be. I imagine in the next 20 years being healthy, vital, wearing lovely scarves and jewelry, drinking good wine and travelling the world and making a difference in it!

Suzanne Stavert

Thursday 1st of October 2015

Pam, you are a ROCKSTAR! Thank you for saying this out loud and for the other ladies' fantastic replies. We need to be grateful for a healthy body and mind and understand that we are able to ENJOY the second half of life. It is our choice. If you don't like something about yourself, work on it! Get off the couch and understand how beautiful you are! My dear friend just passed away from ALS at 55 years old. Do you think she would give have given anything to have one more day in her (former) midlife healthy body? She had no choice, we do. Thanks Pam -

Tish Young

Wednesday 30th of September 2015

I think the place to start is a good salon and a beautician you trust. They have so many answers about hair, skin and nails. Then throw out any clothes that make you feel bad. Buy just a couple of basics you feel good about. But, always, always, engage with people and activities that you enjoy, and surround yourself with positive people.

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