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At a certain age, taking a selfie takes bravery

And I’m not brave! Inspired by the selfies that various women took of themselves and shared as part of My Aging Face, an online project developed by Allyn Rippin at the Athens Community Council on Aging, I tapped my iPhone camera the other day to reverse the lens, and then quickly tapped it back again. Yikes! It’s so hard not to critique ourselves as we age.  

Allyn, barely in her 40s, has the right idea though. Take the selfie and think long and hard about what you see – maybe you won’t be so critical of yourself, and you’ll find a way to appreciate what your face conveys about the life you’ve lived. Here’s a selection of those selfies and how each woman feels about what she sees. Be inspired – try it and think about it.

PS. Best of luck to our previous editor, Tracy Coley, who has decided she needs to finish her family memoir as she promised herself when she retired.

I don’t always feel good about my aging face, especially since the pandemic. I feel some of the lines have deepened, more grey dances on my head and my face can appear a little thicker at times. So I got a haircut. But not any haircut. A cute, short, scraggly haircut that feels young and scary for me. I took this picture just after the cut. At my age, I am starting to feel like I can do anything with my looks, and it doesn’t matter. So why not go all the way and do something really crazy? Why not scare myself into feeling and looking beautiful?

As I age, I see more and more of my mother’s face when I look in the mirror. When I was young, I tried so hard, sometimes perhaps too hard, to assert my individuality, though I was often told that I looked and sounded like her. Now that fact is a bit bittersweet as I miss her very much, and regret important conversations that we might have had as well as missing the conversations we did have and the laughter we shared. Mothers and daughters: relationships fraught with the tensions of each needing her own space, each shaping the other in some way, each often a mystery to the other. When I see her in my face, I am happy to see her, and I hope she knew that I am grateful for all that she gave me and all that she taught me.

Get up early and keep yourself going. Even if it’s very few steps at a time. The more you lay in the bed, the more it affects your health. I believe in trying to go and help someone else. It’s something I’ve enjoyed all my life. Always help each other.

Growing up as a child in my grandmother’s house, I was taught that a child was to be seen and not heard. I had to eat what was put before me, and my style was whatever the adults thought was appropriate. For me, aging is good because now as an adult I can take the masks off. I’m enjoying my freedom. The freedom of “me.” I’m 60 and enjoying life. I am free to dress in my style, eat whatever I want, and I have a mountain of built-up opinions that sometimes come out at the wrong time, and I just say “Oh, well.” Getting older means that I don’t have to walk around holding my stomach in because who cares if I have a pouch. I’m just thankful to be alive and walking around with my 3 1/2-inch heels on and saying to myself, “hello gorgeous.” I glory in my 60 years because Psalms 139 tells me that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

I remember my mother saying, sometime in her 80s, “I may be old, but I still feel like a young girl on the inside.” I share with her that enduring spirit of youth, for in many ways I am still that same person. Yet my portrait against an old tree reveals more about the kinship I feel now with these quiet sages. I seek their wisdom as fellow inhabitants of the vast universe, acknowledging my own that has come only through time and experience. My bark is as wizened as theirs, but it is spring and my sap, too, is rising.

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