93 Year Old Shares Secrets To Aging Gracefully
Nov 18, 21
Years ago when I was working in a hair and beauty salon I met a very wise and wonderful woman that I will never forget.
This woman was in her 90s, and she was radiant. From the inside out kind of radiant.
It may sound cliche but during her one hour appointment she passed wisdom and knowledge down to me that would forever stick. She didn't really do it intentionally either, it was simply by being herself.
The morning she arrived I was nearing my 21st birthday, I was young and energetic, had a passion for helping people and loved my job. Helping people feel good about themselves always felt like a calling and I had fallen into a career in beauty therapy very easily. The two went together quite nicely I thought, and for a previously very shy girl, connecting with people on an intimate level was becoming more natural. I had already been on my own journey with skin and hormone health issues by this point, so I could easily relate to many of my clients coming in to take care of their skin imperfections, remove excess hair and enhance their appearance to feel more confident in themselves.
Then one day a woman walked in and introduced herself; I instantly felt relaxed. There was something so comforting about her presence as she walked through the salon to the beauty room down the back. She carried herself with such calm confidence. Feeling intrigued by this woman, I couldn't wait to hear her story. I love hearing people's stories; all the different things that have made someone who they are. It's amazing the things you get told while treating and nurturing someone in a private setting.
She was in for a facial package… Which admittedly wasn’t my favorite treatment to perform.
During the initial cleanse I remember thinking “how is her skin this soft?”
I was told about her day, what else she had planned and who had given her this experience. It was a gift from her son and daughter in-law for her birthday. She proudly told me with a big grin on her face that she had just turned 93 years old. Honestly, she didn't look 93 and she certainly didn't seem that old to me. She had a mix of youthful energy and wisdom flowing from her. I don’t think I would have been able to guess her age if I tried.
One of my favorite bits from our conversation was the story of when she went to pick up her great, great grandson from the airport where she had coloured her hair blue for the occasion. Blue. I laughed along with her waiting for the explanation. It was just to make him laugh, she said, and laugh he did. Along with everyone she'd ever told the story to; myself included. I came to realise this woman loved spreading laughter and joy. Perhaps this is where her youthfulness came from. I wondered. To me, she didn’t seem to take herself too seriously.
As I was doing her skin analysis, I could not fault her skin. At 93 years old she had beautiful skin; it was still plump, soft and held moisture well. There was still elasticity present and no major signs of sun damage or imperfections. Of course there were graceful lines from a life well lived, but all together, I'd never seen anything quite like it. Her skin was better than mine, I thought.
Of course I couldn't help but ask what her secret was. How did she keep such gorgeous skin all these years. What did she use?
She laughed when I quizzed her. A kind of empathetic, light laugh. Almost communicating enough in and of itself. There clearly was a lot I didn't know about the world. Heck, there was a lot I didn't know about myself.
“Egg whites and baking soda.”
She had to be joking, surely this was another one of her joy and shock provoking moments. She was a trickster afterall.
Nope. She was serious. For the last however many years it had only ever been egg whites and baking soda on her face. She used that as a mask treatment once or twice a week and every other day she only washed her face gently with water. I was gobsmacked. Here I was using somewhere near fifteen different products and solutions on her face during her treatment. In beauty school I was taught and encouraged to sell products and share how much people couldn't live without them all. I actually felt a little ungrounded when I was faced to question my belief of product knowledge and explain them.
You see, I always struggled with sales unless I genuinely believed the product would add value to someone's life, I couldn't just tell them that they had to have it. Almost every month I was told that there was some new “liquid gold” that people just couldn't live without and this made me feel out of integrity.
I don't share this story to say that everyone should be using her methods on their skin, because it wouldn't be the right fit for everyone; but rather to highlight the fact that sometimes less is more.
The main lesson I took from this wise woman is that youthfulness is not limited to youth; and youthfulness can coexist with wisdom. Infact, to hold on to a lighthearted attitude and some youthfulness as you age is wise indeed. You can age gracefully while not taking yourself so seriously.
Everyone's skin is different, and not everyone needs the exact same remedy. Still, in my experience, there is much to be said for natural, non toxic and simple skincare routines. I began the transition away from many high market products to a simple, natural way of treating my skin many years ago, and I'm so glad I did. For me, it feels so much better. I use less products now than I ever have, I also don't wear makeup regularly anymore. My skin has its normal ups and downs, and I wouldn’t say it magically turned into flawless skin. That simply wouldn't be true. The real thing that changed for me happened more internally; it shows from the inside-out.
We often don't comprehend the power of our own outlook and attitude towards life.One thing that really landed for me over the past few years is that this woman wasn't just her gorgeous skin...
Her radiant self acceptance for who she was and the journey that made her was in her glow.
Her sense of humour and her light hearted youthful view of the world was in her smile.
Her love of bringing and embodying joy could be heard in her laugh.
Her wise outlook of what was really important in life was seen in the depth of her eyes.
And the softness and calm she gave herself and shared with others was present in her skin.
There are many factors that have influence over our external world... And the most impactful is our internal world.