What do you see when you look in the mirror?

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I had one of those moments the other day – you know the one where you suddenly look around all your friends and think, “Gosh, why are my friends all so old?”

From the inside looking out, it’s easy to forget that my face has lines too. To be honest, I try not to think about it and taking one’s glasses off before looking in the mirror does wonders for my appearance.

All jokes aside, I swing wildly between thinking I look just the way I always have and… exactly like my mother, which is a good or bad thing depending on my mood.

Comedian Lawrence Mooney once said Australian women seem to give up on their appearance once they hit their 50s, becoming sexless, dowdy and slobbish. I think the point was that we should be more like our European counterparts, who maintain the effort well into their later years.

I wonder somewhat whether Mr Mooney spent much time with over-50s because the ones I know still make quite an effort. Sure, we’re a bit crinkly and saggy these days, but that doesn’t mean we don’t care.

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Whenever I catch my reflection, I always smile. Not because I’m one of those mind-numbingly positive people but because it lifts everything up again. They do say, though, that smiling even when you don’t feel it makes you happier, so it’s multifunctional.

The wonderful blog Advanced Style asked 60-something women how they felt about their appearance as they got older and their replies were illuminating:

“At times I am bothered by the changes that aging brings, as it is difficult not to internalise our culture’s sometimes negative perceptions of older people. However, I believe that we are changing these perceptions so that a 20-year-old and an 80-year-old are both viewed as beautiful, just different,” writes one 67-year old beauty.

“You can’t help wondering why your skin is no longer youthful,” say another. “So I do the best I can and allow myself to accept what I can’t change.”

One lady quips, “Nora Ephron said it best: ‘I feel bad about my neck.'”

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We all know that beauty fades, but in its wake it leaves something you can’t forge, force or inject with a filler: character.

As we get older we grow happier, richer (in one way or another), more confident and content. We have more time, experience and education. That’s worth a few lines here and there, isn’t it?

Tell us, what do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you feel about your ageing appearance?