The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.Robert Frost
I got an interesting message yesterday from a fellow entrepreneur, which I am sure was well intentioned.
I’ll pop it here for you:
HI Nicole, how are things? You know I love you and your work right? Just wanted to let you know that your looking tired and old all of a sudden. Here are a few suggestions that might help you look and feel better. A tint to cover up your greys. A salon color would be best but I guess you could use box dye. Spray tan will give your skin a healthy glow. Once again, salon best but you could use a cream or spray at home. Using Preparation H and concealer will help with eye bags. And consider getting a little botox for your forehead crease. We are how people judge us! Keep smashing it! Lots of love, K
We are how people judge us, right?
Actually, no. I am not how people judge me. And you are not how people judge you! Someone else’s opinion is not who you are.
Who am I? I am my values. I am my actions. I am my body, my mind and my soul. I am who I am when no-one is looking. I am who I am when I am on my own. I am the same person who looks in the mirror and who also turns up to work with you. What you see is what you get. I am over fifty now. I suffer from chronic illness. I am aging. And yes, right now, I am tired. Why? I am busier than I have ever been, supporting my community – many of whom are in crisis. I’m putting in big days. I’m sometimes up half the night. I’m looking after myself but even so, sometimes I look how I feel. Tired. It has been a war-zone for many, and I have been shoulder-to-shoulder with them. It has been unrelenting for me and my team, and I don’t expect that to change any time soon. As I age I have found that I worry less about how I look, and instead I think more about turning up for you, about creating resources to help you cope, and about leading and guiding my community well.
I don’t mind that I no longer look twenty. I am glad to be the age I am, and grateful for the privilege of becoming older. With age has come experience, and hard-won wisdom. Life has left her mark on me. I’m good with that.
At the end of the day all I really care about is that I am a good person, that I treat others well, live by my values, and that I might make a positive difference through my work.
If you choose to dye your hair, or use Botox, or do anything at all to make yourself look or feel younger, I support you in that. I hope you do it because it makes you happy and not because you think you will be judged badly if you don’t.
I’m happy to look my age. I am not afraid of aging – it is not a disease, it is not disempowering, it is not some kind of shameful affliction. I just don’t understand this cult of youth. Why do I need to look young in order to be marketable or taken seriously? I would hope that if you are coming to me for guidance and advice that my age and experience will count for something. The older I get, the more experienced I am at what I do. I have thousands and thousands of hours of experience. That is not time wasted. And yes, that time shows in my crows feet and grey hairs and my laugh lines.
If I judged myself purely on looking young, I could not help but be disappointed with myself as I aged. I could not help but be left unsatisfied. I would be forever scrabbling to spray tan myself, or Botox myself, or whatever else could perhaps delay the inevitable. I would never be able to feel comfortable in my skin, to truly love and accept myself, or to have the energy and focus to direct my internal resources toward more worthy goals.
So, thanks, K, for your suggestions, but I’m fine just the way I am.
Love, laughter, wrinkles and grey hairs, Nicole xx