Time is my friend.....

I was about to answer some tags today but my mind has been diverted by the very touching post Vicki from French Essence wrote recently about the passing of time. Tara from Paris Parfait also posted a slightly similar post a few days ago on the diktats and dictature of beauty and youngism. Reading both posts took me back to my Parisian life some years ago, before settling in Spain. At that time, I was working as a full time designer and running my own little stationary and gifts business. My girlfriends were mostly young and pretty and involved in the arts and fashion world. One of them worked as a model while finishing her studies at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. She was a gorgeous Eurasian girl and I was ever so flattered when people asked whether we were cousins. We were a gang of 5 girls, often meeting up for tea and cakes, dinner parties, dancing, lots of chatting, lots of secrets told and shared...well the usual things girls do. One day, I got a call from my beautiful friend. She said that she just shaved her hair. Her voice was weird. I went to see her immediately. Something was wrong. We had a long conversation in which she confided her sudden fear of not being able to cope any more. She needed the modelling job to sustain herself, pay for her studies and designs. She felt stressed, she was under pressure, she had not been selected for one special designer show and it annoyed her. In a fit of anger, she had cut her beautiful long hair and decided to turn her back on that world. But in spite of her determination, my friend was fragile and didn't find her balance. That day, when we talked she also confessed her obsession of growing old and she was only in her late twenties ! Naturally I worried for her. I wasn't perhaps the best counselor but I tried to convince her that life brings so much at each age.
One month after arriving in Spain, I learnt through a common friend, that she had committed suicide. I was struck and so sad. It also seemed so foolish. At first I was angry at her, then overtime I accepted her choice. This post is for her and to celebrate aging in beauty...

Here below, Brazilian designer Ronaldo Fraga selects models of all ages. Isn't she just beautiful and radiant ?
How about the smile of this charming Indian lady ?
I love the peaceful face of American Indian writer Twylah Nitsch, the grand daughter of the last medecine man of the Seneca tribe
Another beautiful model in her 50s for Swedish brand Gudrun Sjöden
yes ladies, let's seize the day
and...all the days !

A little reading suggestion ? Nabokov's Lolita pastiche by Umberto Eco, a short story titled Nonita which is about a very young man who lusts after very old women. Highly recommended for a shot of rejuvenating good humour !

pics 1, 2, 3 via Simonetta's colorful

pic 4, via another colorful blog, Kendalee's Dance of a painted lady


David Engel said…
Hi Lala,

Hey don't forget the other half of the population. I turned 50 in August. Was laid off in October. I've applied for dozens of jobs I am qualified or over qualified for. Nada. Ne rien. Nothing. Could it be my age? My handsome BUT not youthful greying? I just got back from the store with Just For Men Haircolor. Aging gracfully is not easy. Although something we all should try.

All the best to you as always,

I,too, have been thinking of Vicki's post; in fact , I was on my way to post a comment when I spied your post.
After reading the story about your friends suicide .. . my first thought was of an old Deborah Harry/Blondie song: Die Young-Stay Pretty. Sad to hear of your friends choice, but as one who is a contemporary of these beautiful women you've featured -- - I can tell you that aging with grace takes incredible courage. Some days I'm better at it than others!
Start practicing now, by appreciating who you are in every moment.

willow said…
Sadly, our society, with Hollywood and the fashion industry partly to blame, puts far too much emphasis on youthful beauty and tiny bodies.

I've also been trying to embrace my age with grace, despite all the outside pressures. Not as easy as you might think.

Thought provoking post, Lala.
I love these pictures. The picture of the women in India is beautiful!
Yoli said…
I am so sorry about your friend. How sad and what a waste of a life. We must redifine beauty to our daughters. No mirror or outside element, should ever be given the power to destroy us.
What a sad tale, my castle! I can perfectly understand why she felt that pressure. Sometimes I wonder whether my daughter will feel the same pressure and the answer is yes. I think that pressure has always existed but in latter years with the onset of the internet and the so-called reality shows, it has really mushroomed. Many thanks for your post.

Greetings from London.
paris parfait said…
Lala, that's very sad about your friend. I blame society in which looks are celebrated over all else - when glossy magazines show photos of three women wearing identical dresses and say "Who's hot? Who's not?" it is just so demeaning to women and the remarkable accomplished creatures we are. I think it's very important to celebrate our differences; some of the most brilliant and interesting women I know aren't physical beauties; for that matter, some of the most brilliant and interesting men I know aren't physically attractive, either. Looks are fleeting; each age has its benefits and drawbacks. We must learn to honor our assets - and yes, make the most of our physical assets, but stop beating ourselves up because we don't meet some airbrushed "ideal" imposed by increasingly judgmental society (at least in the US; in Europe, women seem to grow old more gracefully, despite the abundance of lingerie models on virtually every bus stop reminding us we aren't 25 anymore). Yes, let's seize the day, dear Lala! xo
Perhaps I am lucky that I never considered myself particularly pretty, and so I focused on my mind. That has served me well, although I do think about the eventual decline in my mental capacities.

So I write, I read, I sudoko....

So much easier (and more fun) that fussing about my "beauty quotient." ; )

I yes, I agree with David, there is definitely age-ism in the workplace so no criticism here on the hair coloring!
ack! I am so embarrassed that I forgot to comment (senility : ) on the tragic loss of your friend. Our society is harsh, and we must work hard to focus on our true worth, which is our birthright.
Hi, we love your blog and would like to invite you to list it in our Blog Directory at www.bigblogcollection.com
Merisi said…
What ragic fate for your friend!
I am sure she must have suffered from more than ordinary anxiety about aging. I have lost more than one friend to mental illnesses. One, a very successful Italian stage actor, with a great career, family, everything, but the severe clinical depression he had suffered all his life grew unbearable one fine evening when he was alone. It was the saddest ending of a life still so full of promise.

There is (at least) one thing I love about European movies: the actresses look like ordinary people, in all shapes and sizes.
M said…
Thank you so much for this post. I am so sorry about your friend...it is quite incredible how much pressure we can feel from the outside, to the point of giving up the only thing we are sure we had been given: our own life.

Those pictures are amazing and I do admire, greatly, the beauty in older ages. And I find it absolutely stupid the way the world seems to have turned its back on being old. Pretty ironic, if we have into account people live more then ever!

I am often struck by the beauty of people who are in their 50´s 60´s 70's and so on. It is beautiful to see and it is a so sad that culturally, society seems to have lost the hability to apreciate it. It is important to talk about this, to celebrate the passing of time, to celebrate our beauty in all ages. I think we are all afraid of changing, but it is also a matter of opening up and look around. If we are able to see and admire that beauty in other people (and in this pictures it is pretty much undeniable) we will be able to see it more clearly in ourselves as well.
SE'LAH... said…
Prayers sent up regarding your loss.

The photos of the women are stunning. I love the cultural aspects you share.
pranksygang said…
thats a gr8 post.. i'm moved by it! the pictures are lovely!
Anonymous said…
First of all, like many others here, I would like to express how sorry I am of your loss.

Your post made me think of my own experiences, and experiences of people that I know. It is just so sad to see that how much pressure we need to deal with to be able to comform to the norms, and to how the world wants to see us. It is indeed difficult not to be what we percive we need to be... Sadly, too many of us loose this battle and give in.

Thank you for this thoughtful entry, and looking forward to the new ones.

Best regards,
Beautiful and soulful post! Thank you!
Helena said…
My only comment: Great post!
Maya said…
What a great post. I'm 48 now and I have come to believe that feeling good is more important than looking good anyway..., so that was an important step (when it comes to aging).
Deborah said…
I am so sorry about your friend. However, this is a lovely tribute to Women. I find aging extremely freeing. I turned 56 this year. I will NOT wear a purple hat, and I still wear my skinny black jeans with heels. Lovely blog. I shall be back for another visit. **blows kisses** Deborah
Mélanie said…
I've just turned 33 years , OK this is is may be in a way a little bit young but I'm happy every year to get older and to be healthy and to be surrounded by poeple I love . The story of your friend is sad but I guess she was not "bien dans sa peau" may be because she was affraid of getting older but my be also about others things
Sara said…
A very thoughtful post, Lala. I'm so sorry that your friend was not able to find help; it can be a cruel world.

I will be 59 this summer....it is not always easy to come to terms with the things you see happening to your body at this age, but on the other hand, it is very good to be alive. We need to support and encourage and love each other because as we all know, the REAL beauty is on the inside where the real person is.

It is not easy to resist society's constant pressure; that is one reason I appreciate blogging so much--it opens up new lines of communication that bring hope and friendship and encouragement.

Thank you for this wonderful tribute to the beauty and worth of women!

Joyce said…
a very beautiful post and all the woman are gorgeous. Thanks- xoxo
It is important to maintain self-preservation, otherwise life(living) has no value.
Self-acceptance is hard but very important too.

I am very sorry about losing your friend.
Ann said…
What a wonderful post. I remembered my Mom who died quite early, there are so many shoulda, coulda, woulda, things that comes to my mind whenever I think of her. I could only wish I can reach old age with grace and wisdom.
Indyeah said…
such a melancholic post Lala:((
and such a brutal truth..:(

((((hugs)))))))I am so sorry to hear about your friend...

love and take care ..
Anonymous said…
A very well-written and timely post. The British actress Lucy Gordon recently took her own life and she was very young as well.

You are absolutely right that there really is something glorious about age and wisdom.
Susana said…
Lovely and touching post, Lala. Society always makes us feel like we need to stay young and beautiful forever... it is just ridiculous!
kendalee said…
What a sad testament to the belief that youth=beauty, that your lovely friend could not face growing older. I don't see it that way but it's not my perceptions that I have to battle with. It's those, who like David mentioned, seem to think that past 40 one is just "past it". Constant reinforcement of this makes it hard to stick to the belief that growing older is something to look forward to. But if we don't live what we believe, then this is never going to change, so I say "hear, hear!" Let's seize ALL the days... :)
Christina said…
That is sad about your friend, I am filled with tears. These women are so beautiful! I feel they could only be brought to such beauty, by the sweet hand of age. It' time to open our eyes and see beauty for what is really is.

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