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Becoming Seventy: Real Beauty That Lasts

MsDora, former teacher and counselor, is fascinated by the prospect of joyful aging. She explores and shares habits of happy seniors.

The above quote is often credited to the late film and fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993), because she quoted it so much. However, these lines originated in the book, In One Era and Out the Other, by the late Sam Levenson (1911-1980). His beauty challenge is appropriate for any age. He commends:

Not attractive lips, but the kindness in the words the speak;
Not lovely eyes, but their insight that sees value in others;
Not a slim figure, but compassion and generosity in sharing a meal;
Not beautiful hair, but the absence of false pride to let a child touch it;
Not physical poise, but the confidence it manifests.

It is the acceptance of this perspective that encourages older folk like me to believe that we can be beautiful beyond seventy and throughout our old age. The key is to stop focusing on the fading physical features, while pursuing and sharing the wisdom that comes with maturity—something all beautiful seventy-year olds and older are expected to do for as long as possible.

Poem: Beauty with Wisdom Will Last

My beauty will last as long as I live;
No dwindling of charm you will see.
I have found a way to boost my appeal
As the years take their toll on me.
I’ll point to the aging signs as they come,
As trophies I’ve brought from the past:
As lessons I’ve learned and lessons I’ve taught;
For beauty with wisdom will last.

My wrinkles will teach the beauty of smiles
That as they leave their marks on the skin;
They also make merry marks on the hearts
Of those who keep them stored within.
Bags under my eyes will prove that I’ve watched
History, pleasant and aghast;
Bags laden with knowledge makes it only fair
That beauty with wisdom will last.

Folks will not see the long sag on my arms.
How could they in my embrace?
They’ll feel the full strength of my fearless squeeze
Then we’ll look at each other’s face.
If they raise their sights to the gray in my hair;
I’ll tell of life’s stresses real fast,
And how wisdom kept me looking well,
So beauty with wisdom will last.

I’ll lean on my cane when my feet are tired,
And walk far and fast as I can;
Meeting new people and sharing their strength
Is part of my wise-beauty plan.
My aged lips will not get any thinner;
They’ll fly full like a ship’s foremast
Cheering the young to live wisely and well,
So their beauty with wisdom can last.

I’ll wear trendy shades to offset the sun’s rays,
And help me be able to see
The beautiful figures, poises and gaits
Which remind me what I used to be.
I’ll recall what wisdom taught me back then
Before my features lost their blast;
That years cannot change loveliness inside
Which makes beauty with wisdom last.

Photo by Wendell Weithers

Photo by Wendell Weithers

I'll tell my children and their children too,
Of the struggles which kept me strong;
I'll write for them, beautiful words of love
Which they can make into song;
For I know their beauty is influenced by
The beauty they see in me;
Lord, help me display Your beauty and grace
So they can safely follow me.

My beauty will last till the day I die,
Not because of human skill;
But because when my wisdom and beauty grow less,
I trust God my lack to fill.
The challenge for all my good friends and me
When the vote of age is cast,
Is to balance good looks with godly wit;
Then beauty with wisdom will last.

  • Becoming Seventy: Looking Back at Past Decades
    Revisiting past decades boosts our sense of appreciation. The brief reflections will encourage us, as well as those who have passed seventy, to embrace the privilege of future birthdays with joy.
  • Becoming Seventy: Five Reasons to Celebrate
    Near the top of the hill, we make a preliminary gratitude list, beginning with: The View from the Mountaintop, The Mountain Guides, The Scars, Strength: Outer and Inner, and The Supernatural.
  • Becoming Seventy: The Age of New Beginnings
    Times have changed. Today's average woman in her seventieth year is still becoming old, although her grandmother at that same age was already very old. We look briefly at some issues in her new world.

© 2011 Dora Weithers

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