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aging issues in and out of therapy

Posted by pegasus on August 19, 2011, at 11:38:12

As I age (I'm approaching 50) I'm finding that I have a lot of issues coming up around looking older. I would love to talk about it with my T, but it seems so awkward. It's such a minefield. There's the fact that he's a bit younger than me, and a man, so maybe won't understand well. And then the fact that he probably would avoid any comment on my appearance, which is so critical to these issues, makes me wonder how the conversation could even be productive or helpful. And, of course, I don't want to know what he thinks of my appearance (unless he thinks I'm flawlessly beautiful, which is unlikely). So, I've avoided discussing it with him so far.

But . . . wow, aging is a challenging journey, for sure. I'll go ahead and be shallow, and admit that I've been moderately attractive until recently, and it's *really* hard to see myself losing that. Apparently, I have relied, consciously and not, on being pretty, sexy, etc. in the way I've related to people. Seeing myself less pretty, less sexy, I find that I feel less grounded in relating to people. I wonder how they take my drooping body, and ever more deeply lined face. I simply don't know how to relate to people as a "the aging woman", when for so long I was (in terms of internal and external identity) "the lovely young lady".

I try really hard to see it as an opportunity for personal growth. I mean, I do believe that aging is a useful experience that, if we can find a way to learn the lessons it teaches, can make us better people. I know that finding a way to fully value myself without physical attractiveness will be a huge positive accomplishment for me. And . . . I also see how older women are less valued in a sort of knee jerk way in our society (I do it myself!).

I try to identify with positive images of older women, such as the nurturing mother, and the experienced elder. But the truth is, I just don't identify with those much (yet?).

I spent 15 minutes at the pharmacy yesterday looking at all of the anti-aging potions. Often, I feel that I need to do what I can to slow down the wrinkles. But the sheer quantity of options, and the expense, are intimidating. I walked away with nothing, resolved to just keep using my usual soap, moisturizer, sunscreen routine. And to find a way to live positively with the fact that I'm going to keep looking older and older, and that looking older means being less attractive, which means being more ignored/dismissed/minimized by some.

I'd appreciate any companionship, support, or suggestions anyone has on this.

- p




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