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Workshops and resources for women over 50

A Lesson from Hillary Clinton

Today’s Chicago Tribune had a good article about Hillary Clinton and her speaking engagements. What caught my attention wasn’t the content but the photo that accompanied the article. I didn’t recognize her! She looked so much older!

My first thoughts were how the Secretary of State job had taken its toll. Then, looking more closely, I realized she simply is getting older. Gravity is taking its toll on her eyes and her face. Her hairstyle is subdued, suit is impeccably classic. Mature. Hillary is mature. I think that’s a good term to describe her.

She’s not frumpy, she’s not old. She’s certainly not out-dated or dowdy, drab or dull. She’s mature, seasoned, even more sophisticated. Grown-up.

I put the photo away and came back a few hours later and looked at it again, this time not looking at the Hillary Clinton I know of, but as a total stranger. Neutral. No idea who she is. And thought “what do I think of this woman? What characteristics would I assign to her?”

The woman in this photo is experienced, smart, very real (no face-lift here!) with wise eyes. I would trust her to be truthful and fair. She reminds me a little of Madeleine Albright, another highly respected stateswoman. I realized how we project how people SHOULD look based on how they’ve looked in the past. The normal aging process, especially for women, is not something we readily accept in appearance.

I’ve been a bit saddened lately when I look in the mirror. I’ve caught myself not knowing who that woman was in the mirror! That can’t be me! She’s not cute/sexy/trendy/etc. any more!

We all have these phases where our hair suddenly looks flat, our skin flat and our eyes flat. Or something along those lines. I’ll change my clothes to see if a different color or neckline helps. My next reaction is “its time for the cosmetics counter”, when I realize I just did that a couple months ago. Hair salon? Yep, did that, too. Maybe it’s time I look at myself differently.

So I did the Hillary Clinton test and looked at myself in the mirror as purely objectively as I could. I didn’t look for outlandish wayward eyebrow hairs or to see if my nose is getting bigger like I usually do. (I KNOW I’m going to grow into the “family nose” – just waiting for it to happen!) I looked at who that mature person in the mirror might be.

I’ve got to admit, it’s hard to do. We know too much about that mirror image. We know who she USED to be and who she SHOULD be. And, truly, some of this comes through.

Who I saw in my mirror is a woman with an interesting face and clear bright eyes. She’s engaged, probably a good listener and straight shooter who is fun. There aren’t many worry lines, so I’m thinking she’s pretty easy going, confident and kind. I think I’d like this person. Oh, and she is a bit mature!

Take a look in your mirror and see if you can see through all we do to hide our real selves. And see all the good things that woman is! Feel free to share who you found!

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