Getting Older is a Privilege!

by Katy on June 7, 2012 · 46 comments

The business of aging in America is beyond ridiculous. Botox, fillers, and Spanx are considered the norm, and letting your hair go grey? Fuggedaboutit! And in case you thought these extreme age-defying measures were only for the Real Housewives of Metropolis, a number of women I work with right here in Portland, Oregon go regularly for their Botox injections. And the worst part is that they’re all younger than I am. Women in their early forties, thirties and even their twenties.


I always considered getting older to be an accomplishment and a privilege. Because it means that I didn’t die at an early age.

Selling anti-aging products is a multi-bajillion dollar industry, (It’s true, I have the stats to back that up) yet there’s actually nothing wrong with looking older. Life generally gets better as you age. You become more comfortable with yourself and no longer have to devote mental energy towards teenage trivialities. Sure, you’re still tempted by that cute pair of shoes, but you’re now smart enough to know that multiple pairs of expensive shoes will not better your life.

Right, right?

So just say no to Botox, fillers and feeling bad about no longer being 21-years-old.

Getting older is a privilege!

17 years old and full of life! (That's me on the far left!)

44 years old and still full of life.

Agedly yours,

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Lisa June 7, 2012 at 10:30 am

Katy- You get a big thumbs up for this post! And by the way, you’re still a Spring chicken. I’m nearly 54~!


Katy June 7, 2012 at 10:31 am

It all depends on the company you keep. 🙂



Mary Kate June 7, 2012 at 10:51 am

Ditto (including your/my age).


Jo H. June 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

“Agedly yours” – can I borrow this sign-off? It’s the best 🙂

I am in full agreement with this post 🙂 🙂

Agedly yours,
55 year old reader


Jennifer G. June 7, 2012 at 11:02 am

LOVING THIS! I’ve always said I will just be gray and wrinkly.

I have a lot of similar feelings about the beauty industry in general. I’m 24, so I’m not really exposed to too much anti-aging propaganda, but I know people my age that spend so much money on makeup.

I just don’t get it. I look like what I look like, and I’m happy with that.


EcoCatLady June 7, 2012 at 11:44 am

Love this post! One of my heroes in this respect is Jamie Lee Curtis. I totally LOVE how she let her hair go gray and doesn’t try to “glam it up” all the time. And you know what, she looks FABULOUS!

About 10 years ago she did an untouched photo shoot wearing just panties and a sports bra… and you know what, she looked like a NORMAL PERSON!

I just wish there were more “reality warriors” like her out there.


Katy June 7, 2012 at 11:53 am

I remember that. She is great!



Jessie : Improved June 8, 2012 at 8:20 am

Love Jamie Lee Curtis’s gray hair – I think it looks perfect on her! I also luuuuuuuuuuuuurve that she’s on NCIS right now!!!


EcoCatLady June 8, 2012 at 11:28 am

What’s NCIS?


Diane June 7, 2012 at 11:59 am

I’m right there with you, katy! I am 48 years young and experiencing a mid-life bloom!


Katy June 7, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I love “mid-life bloom!” I’m totally stealing it.



Cate June 7, 2012 at 12:05 pm

I love this, Katy! I’m 22 and I understand being nostalgic for your younger years, but I don’t understand some of the lengths people go to in an effort to recapture them. I also consider getting older to be a privilege, one that I dearly hope to experience.


Linda in Indiana June 7, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Amen, Katy! I am greying and that is what is natural for me. I don’t want to be someone else other than me! Let’s just say, I am older than you and not mention numbers. Thankful for every day that I wake up and am blessed to be able to put my feet on the floor. I am like an old Chevy…lots of miles, I wash it up and clean it up and hope to keep driving it as long as possible. And it has a few dents and bulges…but it is a fun ride!! WooHoo!!!


LIB June 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

HERE HERE! Preach it sista!


Barb June 7, 2012 at 1:02 pm

I totally agree. I will say however, that if you are blessed enough to get to the end of your 50’s, things will hurt sometimes. But I wouldn’t trade the years of my life so far for anything. Neither would I like to go back and relive any of them! I have a great life and I’ll take each part of the journey with gratitude and a sense of humor!


Lili@creativesavv June 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

For the most part, I simply have better things to do with my time, energy and money. Absolutely no botox or cosmetic surgery for me — ouch! Too painful (I don’t do unnecessary pain). For coloring my hair? Well, I’m in my 50s, and it’s still too soon to tell what I’ll want to do when I go grey. I’ll see how I feel when I get there. But whatever I choose, it’ll be for me, not because I want to impress someone else. I think 50+ gives me permission to stop thinking about impressing other people.


Barb @ 1SentenceDiary June 7, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Awesome new photo, Katy, with the boys. I love it. And thanks for not making fun of my leg-warmers. 🙂 It was 1985!


Robin June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

I loved the leg warmers!!


Diane June 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm

I consider it a privilege to be healthy and happy at 68!


ellie June 7, 2012 at 1:57 pm

I second this, Diane – at my age of 77!


Barbara June 8, 2012 at 8:51 am

I third that at age 64.


NMPatricia June 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I think you are just getting better and better.


Lilypad June 7, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Are we doing good things for the people around us and the planet we live on? That’s what we should be concerned with and what those billions of dollars should be spent on. I’m 45 and I’ve been going gray, albeit slowly, since age 19. It’s maybe 25% gray now, the rest is a dark brown that I’ve always loved (and this was hard growing up during the 70’s when all the Barbies were blondes!) so I don’t color it. I’ve saved thousands of dollars (and hours stuck in a salon chair) over the years by just accepting that my hair is partially gray and I hope it goes completely, silvery gray when I’m older—I love how that looks, and I always compliment women who are rocking that look. As for my skin, yes, there are some wrinkles but I don’t worry about them—I don’t even use any moisturizer and would not pay for any fancy creams promising to turn back the clock. My skin is still somewhat oily and I make my own cleanser from organic Castile soup, honey, rose water, and lavender oil. And after just undergoing a “minor” biopsy procedure (results were thankfully benign) that was plenty painful enough, I would NEVER subject myself to real surgery for some dumb reason like thinking it would make me look younger. Yikes! Besides, silly photos and embarrassing your kids are what keeps us moms young, eh?


Maureen June 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm

My husband convinced me last year to go gray. Every 2 weeks I was putting chemicals on my scalp to hide the skunk line. I ham happy, happy, happy to report that I am white on top with gray under. And you know what? I don’t worry about how my hair looks anymore and I’m not spending money to put chemicals on my head! I’ve received so many complements on my hair now. And I’m only 51. But look around everyone, there’s a lot more younger people that are letting their grays go. And it’s wonderful to see.


A Frugal Spinster June 7, 2012 at 4:43 pm

When I was a young teen my grandmother (50years old at the time)and I went to the beauty shop together for haircuts. I still remember the beautitian complimenting my Grandmother on her snow white hair. Until that moment I had never given it any thought Grandma was just Grandma, but that day I realized that she did indeed have beautiful white hair. I looked forward for years to the day my hair would also be snowy white (but alas at age 60 all I have is a dusting of snow around my temples.)


Elaine in Ark June 8, 2012 at 6:52 am

Great drifts from small snowflakes grow! Don’t give up hope yet.

I know because I’m originally from Wisconsin, where a forecast of “flurries” usually means a lot of snow shoveling.


Naomi June 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Awesome post Katie.
I would love to go a bravely, naturally grey. My hair started greying at 21, but sadly not yet turned into the beautiful silver that looks so lovely. But reading all the posts above I am inspired to give it a try. And good on the celebrities like Jamie Lee Cutris who show the real world that even they don’t look like their pictures in the magazines, let alone the rest of us.
As long as we are healthy and happy that’s all that should matter.


Rachel C June 7, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Hi Katy!
After coloring my hair for about eight long years of expense and wasted time at the salon, I started envying all the gorgeous silver hair on ‘some’ ladies. Of course, my stylist tried to talk me out of it – after all, she would be losing money. But I ignored her advice and cut it short and let the gray grow out – and it looks fabulous: silvery salt & pepper! I’m so mad at myself for coloring my hair all those years! Going gray gracefully at 53!


Renee CA June 8, 2012 at 3:21 am

At 63 I am totally gray and get many compliments on my hair which I keep in a classic bob. Not planning on any surgery, but……I must say I am glad there are options out there. My sister-in-law has no chin as the skin on her neck looks like it has detached. I don’t care if she does anything about it, but I know I would have it fixed if it were me. And maybe super droopy eyes as well. At least it would be a long term fix unlike fillers for wrinkles. We all age differently depending on several factors. In this day and age, it’s good to know there are competent dermatologists and surgeons that can help us, should we choose that route.


Marcelle June 8, 2012 at 3:30 am

“I always considered getting older to be an accomplishment and a privilege. Because it means that I didn’t die at an early age.”

So true!

When my uncle turned 50 he was pretty depressed about it and I told him: “But it’s better than the alternative!” He didn’t seem to care for my reasoning.


Linda from Mass June 8, 2012 at 4:10 am

I whole heartedly agree!!!!! Great post. I hate when an older actress goes on a talk show and someone says, “This is what 60 looks like!” Of course, they forget to say…”With plastic surgery and botox.”

I am just not that vain to go through all that. I do color my hair at home but some day I will take the plunge and no longer do that. I have a friend who constantly tells me not to go grey. But, I just don’t think their is anything wrong with it.

I’m 46 and proud of it!!!


Alison June 8, 2012 at 4:16 am

I totally agree with you. When my grandmother went to have her hair dyed for the first time, her stylist told her to “grow old gracefully.” I feel like that’s what I want to do: grow old gracefully. No kicking and screaming.


Pamela June 8, 2012 at 4:43 am

Anything that requires needles in my face or surgery is something I’ll pass on. Besides, people who get plastic surgery don’t look younger, they just look. . .smooth.


Maryanne June 8, 2012 at 5:19 am

Love this! I am 40, and I can’t think of a single friend around my age who doesn’t color her hair! I quit about 5 years ago and I get tons of compliments on my super-short, graying hair. All of my wrinkles are just places where smiles have been (as Jimmy Buffet says haha). People always tell me I don’t look 40, but I think it’s because I don’t smoke or scowl- grouchy living will age you terribly over time, I think! I did celebrate turning thirty-nine by taking up running for the first time ever, and I ran a half-marathon a week after turning 40. Hoping to run a full marathon for my 50th birthday! Let the younger ones worry about impressing others!


Yankeegal June 8, 2012 at 6:22 am

I love this post! I turn 50 this year and I don’t mind the wrinkles or grey hairs-I have earned every one! All of these comments have made my day!


Elaine in Ark June 8, 2012 at 7:03 am

Some things that can help you look younger:

Genetics (you can’t do a darn thing about that, though)
No Smoking
No Drug Use (of the illegal variety)
Moderate Drinking
Sunblock and/or Large Floppy Hats
Wearing Eyeglasses If You Need Them
Smiling! (as the poster above said, these are good wrinkles)


Jessie : Improved June 8, 2012 at 8:23 am

I turned 30 last year and to be honest, I was looking forward to it. I think growing older comes with respect and privilege that’s hard to get when you’re younger. They only thing I think I would ever do to myself is an eyelift – I have a family history of droopy eyes to the point that some of my older relatives can barely even keep them open anymore! It’s more of a functional than a cosmetic fix. 😉


Linda H. June 8, 2012 at 8:45 am

YAY! Love this post. I’m 41 and stopped dying my hair about 10 years ago. I’ve been going grey since my twenties. I have to say it was a great decision. I get compliments on my (very) silver hair all the time and women come up to me and say, “I wish I could stop dying my hair.” I always tell them how liberating it is. And Botox? No way. Can’t be a healthy thing…Sometimes the anti-aging attempts actually make women look older. You look gorgeous, by the way! 😉


Katy June 8, 2012 at 9:04 am

Aww, thank you. You sound rather gorgeous yourself!



Jean June 8, 2012 at 9:21 am

Thank you Katy!!! At 57, I have chosen not to color my hair for both the expense factor (if I have extra funds to treat myself, they will be spent on something perennial for my garden or something I crave at the fabric store, either of which will bring me pleasure far longer than a dye job) and the hassle factor (because I would rather spend my precious free time in my garden or my sewing room than in the beauty shop!) I confess to using a store brand eye cream–but would feel guilty spending money on Botox or plastic surgery. Jamie Lee Curtis probably had no idea she would become a heroine to generations of women by aging gracefully!


Alison June 8, 2012 at 10:14 am

Thankyou Katy!!!! I totally agree….botox schmotox…..each wrinkle is an honour!!


elleadi June 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

Thanks for this great post. I couldn’t agree more!


Cate June 8, 2012 at 12:41 pm

YAY!!! Love this post…I am 46 and very happy about it. I love every grey hair that I get because they are course and wiry unlike my fine non-grey hair…the prettiest thing is a happy face and a healthy body…that’s what I shoot for!


Angela June 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Last year I read about a woman who spends $11,000 A MONTH for her “maintenance”, which includes MINK eyelashes!!!!!!!!! That is nothing but conceited plastic barbie vanity excess to the extreme.


marie June 11, 2012 at 8:08 am

I feel stronger, after hearing about aging gracefully. I’m 52 and stopped coloring my hair. No skunk lines, as I’m blonder. When I think maybe just one more coloring, I decide to wait another day. Botox is not an option I would want to take.
I believe this celebritys like Goldie Hawn and such, think they look great, but I think it’s sad. There’s more to life than constant maintenance. Gardens to grow, trails to hike, books to read!!!!


jeanine June 13, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I won’t be doing botox, but I will not e.v.e.r. be without my Spanx.


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