This phrase caught my eye: “Meaningful Beauty.” It’s appealing, isn’t it? Who isn’t drawn by both beauty and meaning? The combination of the two was tantalizing, promising substance, a look at beauty that was beyond skin deep—which only made the actual content of the email all the more ironic.
It was an ad for Cindy Crawford’s wrinkle-erasing skincare line.
Oh yeah Cindy you let me down big time. I may have done some angry typing for a while afterward. But I digress.
Now, I’m not going to pretend that I have always embraced the changes in my appearance as I entered midlife and beyond. Looking in the mirror and seeing those first fine lines, then the deepening of those lines into wrinkles, along with the sagging and other changes in my aging body was never easy. The person I saw in the mirror didn’t match how I felt inside. That isn’t me. And if that isn’t me, who am I?
Who am I if I’m no longer young?
And that gets to the heart of what the anti-aging industry, from skin creams to face lifts, is really promising. A reprieve from having to ask that frightening question. The chance to be who we think we are for just a little bit longer. To be noticed, relevant, visible.
Yet answering that question for ourselves, figuring out who we are when we’re no longer young, can be the most meaningful, liberating, and life-affirming step we ever take.
Nevertheless, are we brave enough to pursue that answer?
It can lead us to fulfilling our purpose on this planet, to awakening our visionary and creating the legacy we were always meant to create but couldn’t until we’d reached this point where experience, wisdom, and the search for meaning all coalesced. But we can’t create this future if we are focused on living in the past.
The anti-aging industry doesn’t offer meaningful beauty. It delays or even stops us from ever finding it. We all struggle with where to draw the line between enhancing our appearance and accepting ourselves as we are.
But let’s not pretend that we are going to find meaning in that jar of eye cream. The less time and energy we spend distracted by the promise of holding on to our youth, the more we can focus our time and energy on what really matters to us, to the people we love, to the world. The more we make the effort to find actual meaningful beauty in ourselves, in who we are now, the closer we get to fulfilling our greatest vision yet.
After all, what kind of vision can we have if we don’t even see ourselves in the mirror clearly?