Appreciating Being in the Sixties

By Catherine Gildiner's

It is hard to appreciate myself when I am a woman in my 60s with white hair and wrinkles. I live in a society that worships youth and a good amount of my friends are getting plastic surgery, liposuction, and botox. I sometimes feel sorely tempted to follow suit.

Yet in Japan the older you are, the more you are respected. It is really only in North America where we are fixated on the youthful spot in life’s journey. I am learning to accept myself as I am.

I look in the mirror and realize that I had my day in the sun. (thus the wrinkles!). It was great to have been a tall blonde with lots of attention, but now I am at a different time of life. If I can't accept different stages it means that none of the stages that I have passed through have been satisfactory. I would be fixated on a bygone era. 

Each one of these wrinkles is a memory—–The sports injuries, the childbirth of twins, the worry about children, and the hard work from a rewarding career as a psychologist. Life’s toil is cumulative and each patient I had, I worked hard on.

Each time I write a book or an essay for publication, it takes something out of me; however, all of that work has been the joy of my life. If it shows on my face then so be it. My wrinkles are a road map of my cumulative years of interacting with the world.

The other reason I am learning to accept aging, hopefully gracefully, is that I have more to give the world than a pulled face and perky breasts. My looks are only a small part of who I am.

Catherine Gildiner's second memoir, _After the Falls: Coming of Age in the Sixties_, will be published in November by Viking.


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