Ideals change with each phase of life

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

Beauty meant being thin, attractive and “sexy”. Of course, I was looking to marry and have children so being those things helped to insure I’d find a spouse and have children. Although, there were beauties such as Sophia Loren, her self-proclaimed “uneven features”, Audrey Hepburn who wrote that “true beauty comes from her soul” and Helen Hayes whom broke the mold on traditional beauty.  Their presence taught me that true beauty did indeed run more than skin deep.

What does beauty mean to you now?

It is a type of gracefulness, dignity and confidence. The inner person is now more important than the outer shell. Although we are to take good care of ourselves which includes feeling good about ourselves at every stage of life.

If different, why have your ideas about beauty  changed over the years?

I am no longer young and don’t have to be concerned with hooking a husband and having children, been there and done that. Life has it’s phases, just as it should be.  Ideals change with each phase of life. Of course, I still enjoy looking as beautiful as I can and enjoy looking at beautiful people just as I enjoy looking at everything else that is beautiful.

Elizabeth, 55

Grace and Stamina: Eva

What did beauty mean to you when you were in your 20s?

I was in my 20’s from 1973 to 1983. During those years I had two very separate views of beauty.  One was physical beauty and the other was individual beauty.  Physical beauty is very fleeting and belongs to the young.  Back then I thought physical beauty was tall and slender with the hair, nails, and clothing always fresh.  It was my lofty goal.  I was always on a diet and looking for the perfect haircut.  When I finally got there at age 23 it felt great.  I loved it.  The attention was nice and I really liked looking in the mirror.

Then the cruel reality of disease and aging descended upon me.  I learned to accept that the physical beauty of youth fades quickly and we live much longer without it than with it.  Individual beauty is the aging process.  It is the ability to acknowledge and accept beauty in all its forms and ages.

What does beauty mean to you now?

Beauty now still means about the same except I am now on the other side of time and have the wisdom to see beauty through experience.  It is still the same; I am simply no longer in my 20’s. Remaining balanced about the aging process and viewing physical beauty as a small piece of the individual allows me to survive aging with grace and stamina.

Eva P. Balek, 56

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