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Beauty has nothing to do with age.

Beautiful women come in all ages. That shouldn’t be a radical statement, but in our absurdly youth-obsessed society, it kinda is. Take one look at our pop culture output and it’s pretty clear where our values lie (with the likes of 25-year-old Victoria’s Secret Angels ahem). Admittedly, these women ARE beautiful. But so are women at every other age.

Why have we bought into this insane, all-encompassing lie that youth and beauty are synonymous and when the first one goes, so does the other?

Beauty has nothing to do with clinging to youth and everything to do with letting the inner you shine through at whatever age you are.

I’m sick of hearing women I know, smart women who should know better, say that a certain decade is a “woman’s best”, or that these are “our best years.” SAYS WHO?! Beautiful women come in every age (and size and shape, but that’s another blog post). When and why did we allow society to put an age limit on loveliness?

In case thousands of years of human history (and The Lion King) weren’t obvious enough, the circle of life is a thing. All living beings are born, they grow up, they bloom, they mature and eventually they die. Women aren’t built to be perpetual girls. And why the hell would we want to be? Life is about advancement, growth, evolution.

Newsflash: NO ONE can maintain their youth forever. Just ask Ponce de Leon. Or Madonna. But making people feel inadequate is a billion dollar industry, so a lot of people have a stake in maintaining the status quo.

Why are we brainwashed to believe that young women are the only beautiful women — when, thanks to the human genome that’s had its way with us for thousands of years — EVERYONE will age? Biology, duh.

The fact is, true beauty is an inner glow. It doesn’t disappear with wrinkles or gray hair or sun spots. It stems from self-love. Women who love themselves own their unique beauty and radiate from the inside out. Not to mention that with age comes wisdom and life experience and empathy — beautiful traits if there ever were any.

Just think of Diane Keaton. Helen Mirren. Byron Katie. Gloria Steinem.

These women are beautiful just as they are. Not because they look like they’re 30. Not because they’re nipped and tucked and injected and stretched into wallpaper like Cassandra in Doctor Who. They’re radiant as they are. At the age they are. They’re unafraid of their decades. Undoubtedly you know women in your own life who embody ageless beauty in such a way.

Alternatively, I see so many women whose original faces are barely discernible — a product of the age of injectables, youth-by-needle and serious self-loathing. To me, there’s nothing sadder than drastically altering your appearance in a futile attempt to cling to the past.

When I’m 80, of course I’d love to be gorgeous. But I want to be a gorgeous 80-year-old. Not an 80-year-old trying desperately to look like a 40-year-old. I hope to be a better person at 80 than every year before — and I want my appearance to reflect that lengthy and well-earned evolution.

Admittedly, I still feel pressure from our youth-obsessed society. It’s almost impossible not to. But I’m fighting it, because I’m not about to buy into the bullshit notion that who I was at 25 is the best I’ll ever be.

Imagine if every woman started owning her beauty AND her age? Imagine if we all loved our bodies? If we all stood proud and confident? If we worshipped our uniqueness and embraced our individual journeys? If we stopped the endless self-flagellation, comparisons and body shaming (of ourselves and others)? If we gracefully accepted the aging process and were proud of ourselves as the years progressed?

The cosmetic surgery industry, based primarily on self-loathing, would go belly up.

C’mon ladies — we can do it. We can own our gorgeousness at 15, 25, 47, 62, 85 — all the way till our temporary vessels fall away. Beauty isn’t about age or youth or lack of wrinkles. It’s about what shines forth from that deep well of wonderful we carry around inside. It’s about self-love and compassion for others and pure, abiding joy. There’s no age limit on that.

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