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How many ways are there to age : Should we follow rules on how to age?

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

should we follow rules on ageing image

I always find it amazing that people will behave in a way online that they would not dream (or at least I would hope not) if they were to meet in real life.

This week comments coming through have related to how some people believe women ‘ought’ to age – and how I should present myself as somebody encouraging others to embrace ageing and live their best life over 50.

I have become accustomed to having comments posted on my YouTube channel regarding whether or my eyes are ‘wonky’, the fact my hair is blonde and not grey, I talk too fast  – all probably true, but this week I encountered a new one ‘stop filling your face with BOTOX and see how old you really look in 3 years!’ Vicious – and I might have been upset if in fact I did have BOTOX – as it happens I don’t. Having tried it 5 years ago and discovered that although the wrinkles were softer my eyebrows gave me a constantly ‘surprised’ look – I decided it wasn’t for me!

How we age is question of choice

But supposing I was a fan of BOTOX – surely it is my choice as to whether or not I choose to have it – as long as I am making an informed decision for reasons I am comfortable with. As it happens the video in question was relating to what to wear to work – so it had no relation whatsoever to skincare – so the question of my having had BOTOX or not is irrelevant – and anyone watching can see that my forehead wrinkles and crows feet are visible.

I do think that those beauty bloggers who are recommending skincare products should declare if they have had surgical or non-surgical treatments so that there is an honesty about what can be achieved through use of products as opposed to procedures. Whether or not to have BOTOX is down to personal choice.

I am a founding member of a group called Advocates for Ageing – I take the careers lead while others take the lead in other topics relating to ageing and ageism. This week we came under criticism for some of the founding members colouring their hair and not going grey. The argument was that if we were advocates for ageing we couldn’t be authentic unless we had grey hair.

I assume that I am one of the individuals the criticism is aimed at – I am blonde. As it happens I don’t have grey hair – my hair has become darker as I’ve got older but not grey – yet. I do have highlights to brighten it a little – but I have had highlights since I was eighteen- so choosing to do so has nothing to do with how I feel about my age.  I don’t have the option to go grey as according to my hairdresser I have the odd strand but not enough to notice. But if my hair did happen to be grey – why should I not colour it if it is what works for me. We have had this debate re grey hair previously within the Fab after Fifty community – those who choose to go grey and have found it liberating to do so, and those who don’t prefer to continue, or start to colour their hair. In fact some have said that they feel they cant go grey for fear of discrimination at work – which is another issue. . Again it is all about having the freedom to choose. I have one friend who colours her hair magenta – obviously not her natural hair colour – nor does she ever pretend that it is, but her magenta hair reflects her personality – I cannot imagine her looking any other way.

Ageing is about being confident in our choices

Why do some people believe that there is only one way to present yourself as you age. Surely it is all about being confident in yourself and the choices you make – and we have as many choices in how we style ourselves over 50 as we do under 50.  There seem to be far too many arbitrary rules – women over 50 shouldn’t have long hair, women over 50 shouldn’t wear black, women over 50 shouldn’t wear heels, women over 50 shouldn’t wear bikinis, women over 50 shouldn’t show their knees – the list of rules in terms of how we should age is endless. Personally I think all the ‘rules’ should be ignored . We have lived long enough to have earned the freedom to do what we feel comfortable with – and choose what’s right for us!

In my view there is no room for ‘ageing police’ dictating how we should live.

I would love your thoughts on this!





Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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  1. Meredith Keeve

    December 2, 2019

    The Wandering Parisian would definitely like to chime in here – having become French I am radically opposed to all notions of Dictates. We want, and need, Liberté! The liberty to choose to go grey, or magenta, or to colour our hair any shade we choose.
    Choosing to colour your hair, or wear bright colours, or exotic or imaginative clothing should be an individual right – no matter what your age! We should no more be compelled by anyone to go grey – if we would rather not= than to wear lilac every day because someone thinks it is “age appropriate”.

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