I turn 49 in July. To my 86-year-old Dad, I’m a spring chicken. To my 19-year old-nephew, I’m ancient. To me, I’m middle-aged. I hope to have many more working years, exciting adventures, happy days, and fabulous style moments ahead of me. 

Like most people in this stage of life, I’ve done some soul searching about the physical aging process. I used to think that it was all about looking younger. After all, we live in a world that favours youth and young beauty. These days I think about it differently. I want to age without the pressure of wanting to look younger than my age. I want to age naturally. I want to feel good about my age, and grateful for what it has given me.

Nineteen years ago my Mum unexpectedly died at 59. She wasn’t able to enjoy a long life. That tragic family event puts things into perspective. It is not about looking a certain age. It is about enjoying the life we are given, at every age.

I want to rise above the thought that looking older is the enemy. I want to ignore the anti-aging messages that I’m bombarded with daily in the fashion, beauty and entertainment world. I want to relax into and embrace the physical effects of aging with peace in my heart.

I have been guilty of sometimes saying she or he “looks good for their age”. I want to stop saying that and thinking that way. The signs of age are signs of experience, wisdom and rites of passage. They represent a different kind of beauty.

I will continue to cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate and moisturize my dry skin. I will wear make-up and style my hair. I will indulge in the occasional facials, manicures and pedicures. I will work out in my own way, as long as I can, with lots of walking and vinyasa yoga classes. These things are about being relaxed, healthy, confident and polished, at whatever age I am. 

I will continue to have fun with fashion and style, because I enjoy it! It’s a hobby, and an unstressful component of my life. I have the power to pick and choose from the buffet of trends every season, and wear them my way. Individualism is the strongest trend of all, and I’ll continue sporting my signature looks until I’m bored with them, and not because they are no longer on-trend or I’m “too old” to wear them.

My Mum, who would have turned 78 this year, isn’t here to inspire me with her thoughts on the physical aging process. But I am surrounded by inspirational clients, friends and family members who are older than me. They are confident, unaffected, at peace with how they look, don’t compare and despair, and continue to have fun with fashion. Above all, they are getting on with what life has to offer, together with the people and pets that mean most to them. That’s empowering.