Do you get sentimental about having “lost your looks” when you come across old pics of yourself, even those just a few years old? Has this been a theme with you since you hit your late 20s? If so, consider yourself normal. What a tiny window of time we leave for ourselves to appreciate the intrinsic beauty and downright sexiness of just being a grown woman.
Think of this: When Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart began dating 10 years ago, he was a few years shy of being a bona fide senior citizen, and she was just a few years past the age when one in twelve American women have their first babies. Despite their age chasm—him, 60, and her, 38—research suggests they likely felt equally old. Yup, one 2011 study found that on average, women begin feeling old at age 29 while men don’t have that problem until age 58. Turns out the first gray hair is the most common turning point for women. Men? It’s when they can’t perform as well in the sack.
As women, we tend to be acutely aware of even minute changes to our appearances, reacting to them with the sensitivity of a seismograph. We care about five pounds the way most men care about twenty. We call miniscule lines around our eyes “crow’s feet.” (Good grief, have you ever seen actual crow’s feet!?)
Seismographic self-awareness about changes to our looks—and tying those changes to how we feel—are part of the feminine psychology. Why not use that psychology to your advantage? If one little physical change (like a gray hair) can extinguish your sense of your own sexiness, can’t another one (like the disappearance of a wrinkle) re-ignite it? If a few more sun spots on your hands make you feel like they’re better suited to holding knitting needles than Cosmos, can’t a few less make you feel like doing a cartwheel?