Enjoy the Power and Beauty of Your Youth

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The other day the 40 year old me got out a photo of the 27 year old me as I was teaching a section of my image consulting course which covers what kinds of facial features and shapes best suit very short hair. I wasn’t as taken aback by my Pixie haircut, which was more utilitarian than flattering, as one might imagine. What really struck me was how great my skin looked. I was fresh, tight and dewy and I looked so young . There was not an age spot, sag, crease or wrinkle to be seen. Because I suffered with acne from the ages 13 – 26 until I went on Roaccutane I spent those acne ridden years feeling disfigured and unattractive (and always had hair to hide behind). This haircut was a liberation, it was stepping out from behind my hair curtain – my skin was the best it’s ever been, no longer did people comment on ‘how pretty you’d be if you didn’t have those pimples‘, the kind of advice nobody needs or wants to hear! But when that picture was taken I had felt that I needed to wear bright lipstick to make me look half decent and feminine. I had no idea how great I looked.

As I looked at myself straight in the picture what I saw in myself is that I had not appreciated the power of my youth when I had it. The pixie from the past gave me a message much wiser than her 27 years, “It’s time to start focusing on enjoying the power of your current ‘middle youth’ rather than letting that slip past you all too quickly. “


Truth be told, I don’t feel more than 30 years old in my mind – that is my mental age, which is currently a good 10 years behind my physical age. I am still that young woman in my head, just with a better haircut. Sometimes I look at my children and wonder whose they are, as I’m still way too young to have kids! No matter my denial, I am aging. I am lucky that my body works well, though I really need to start appreciating it more than I do, by exercising it more regularly and feeding it less chocolate (though I do always read thoroughly those studies that tell you chocolate is good for you and full of antioxidants).

Earlier this year I wrote a letter to my body which made me focus on appreciating what my body does for me day-in day-out, as well as the extraordinary things it has done for me during my lifetime so far. Reading my letter again is motivating me to step away from the chocolate, shut down the computer and get off the couch and do something with this wonderful body of mine before it’s too late.


It has made me realise that I need to add to my letter that it’s time to focus daily on seeing the youth, beauty, and vitality I have now and not waiting until later (and when is later anyway?) to appreciate it. It’s the journey, not the destination that really counts. I am only 40, which is not old in the scheme of things, and something I’m reminded of frequently by my lovely, stylish friend Jan who is 19 years my senior.

Do you take charge or your life or are you letting it pass you by?

What does your younger you and present you have to teach you about appreciating yourself?

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18 Comments

  • what a lovely post and beautiful picture.

    it's a truism, but youth is wasted on the young. I remember being in my twenties and I'm pretty sure that I never thought "I am so young!"

    I think about age a lot now (I'm in my 40s, too!) and I'm learning to respect my age. Because the alternative isn't very attractive.

  • Wow, my first reaction was: She has cut her hair!. You have not changed at all! To answer part of the question; yes, I am trying to live every day to its fullest. There will be days when I can´t accomplish a thing. I am trying to accept that too. One day at a time. It is a challenge, I know. When I was young, I could not understand these things. I don´t think that I am wiser now, there are only life experiences that have taught me, about myself, about other people. I try to keep myself in physical working condition.even if it means a bit chocolate every now and then.

  • Look at that lovely young woman, who looks, also, sensitive and kind.

    Yesterday I walked for a few blocks behind a young S. Asian woman in little jean shorts and the simplest tee. Her skin was flawless poured amber, her hair glossy with natural highlights. I admired the effortless beauty of that age, and like you remembered the anxieties and "flaws" I fretted abut at 20!

    My dr., Noreen, refers to "the medicinal application of chocolate" and I do believe it is good for you!

  • Intriguingly, I think your skin looks just as lovely now as it did in your 20s… I am trying to appreciate the body I have now at the age I am now without ascribing too much before or after to it. I can't predict the future and I can't undo the past. I can just be good to myself in the moment. (You can see I'm having a zen day!)

  • I wrote a whole post on that topic. But to sum it up, when young women anguish over their bodies now, I tell them, "You are JUICY! Enjoy."

  • Oft am I by the women told "Poor Anacreon! Thou Grow'st old Look! How thy hairs are falling all!" Whether I grow old or no, By the effects I do not Know; But this I know, without being told, "Tis time to live, if I grow old, "Tis time short pleasures now to take. Of little life the best to make, and manage wisely the last stake.

    By Anacreon, 6th century B.C.

  • Marinka – isn't it just so true! Glad that you're respecting your age too.

    Metscan – thanks so much – Sure I look similar, but my skin is where I see big differences. You may not think you're wise, but I'm sure you are! Enjoy your chocolate!

    Duchesse – I shall be onto that medicinal chocolate along with my medicinal glass of red wine!

    Sal – thanks – bizarre timing of these posts, is there something in the zeitgeist?

    K.Line – love your zen – hope to bottle it and have a bit myself.

    LPC – yes – juicy – what a great word!

    Anon – great quote!

  • For reasons unknown, my skin and shape is waaaay better now than when I was in my 20s. (The only exceptions are my arms, which seem to have aged way faster than the rest of me, and which I am trying to rejuvenate). I think you look GORGEOUS now and then, Imogen 🙂

  • Imogen, I posted something on similar lines only a couple of days ago – less about the face, in my case, but more about appreciating our bodies. I'm glad you're feeling the same way. And, as you should know, you look just as fabulous now as you did then!

  • I actually think you are more beautiful now than at 27! I take one day at a time, for it is all we are given. I'm 34, my body will never again be as it was before 5 kids, and that's ok. It's carried 6 babies, delivered 5 (1 miscarrriage), 4 without medication. Everyone told me "the kids will grow so fast". So, I chose to be a stay at home mom (I homeschool, too) in order to cherish every moment with them. This past year I have lost all but 1 of my grandparents, as well as a beloved soldier in Afghanistan. Wrinkles don't matter. People matter. Love them while you have them.

  • I know exactly how you feel about being a different mental age to your physical age. I'm sure I don't know whose 13yo daughter it is that lives with me, because I only have babies! I'm in absolute denial that the baby in our family is now 9yo!

    I keep looking at myself in the mirror and figuring that this is as good as its going to get. I never though to appreciate it though. Thanks for the heads up!

  • Rosina – you are very lucky!

    Tiffany -I'm off to read your post now!

    Anon – very true – the people in your life are the most important things.

    Tracy – appreciate yourself every day.

  • I also thought you had cut your hair! You look no different today and will probably be able to say that in your 40's and beyond. Such a great post. Why is it we never appreciate ourselves until later? My 30's have been pretty great so far (getting married and having kids!) but I do fret about the fine lines appearing. Thanks for the great reminder to be gentler with ourselves.

  • It's so painful to look at my pictures when I was younger.What I see there is a beautiful girl that is absolutely unaware of her beauty.I even thought I had a few extra kilos ,my hair was not like coming out of an advertisment etc.
    I had so high ,unrealistic standards that I never realized how beautiful i was.Thanks to my husband and the wisdom that comes with aging I enjoy that I'm still beautiful in my 40s and now I know it.

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