I just learned about the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.  If you’re unfamiliar with it, wabi-sabi is the art of finding beauty in imperfection. 

A wealth of literature shows that the extreme value placed on youth and physical perfection in our culture extracts a huge cost on girls and women.   The quest to hold on to our youth as measured by our physical appearance can be summarized by the recent cover of People Magazine that featured Christie Brinkley looking unnaturally flawless.   Even looking great on that cover, the accompanying article still noted the fact that she was embarrassed to pose in a bikini.   Imagine that, having to apologize for not wearing a bikini on the cover of national magazine at the age of 60!

While embracing the freedom, beauty and vitality of youth is worthwhile, the chase to hold on to that youth can cause us to miss out on the different type of freedom, beauty and vitality that accompanies getting older.

This is where wabi-sabi comes in.  My search taught me that “wabi” means having harmony, peace, tranquility and balance.  “Sabi” means “the bloom of time” and taking pleasure in how things age, fade, and change with time.

I want women to be celebrated for all their internal strength and lessons learned from life lived.  Imagine looking at your 75 year old self and seeing the beauty in your wrinkled face because it represents life lived, not just the easy parts of life we put on Facebook, but the real parts that have suffered loss, heartbreak and pain.  Smiling at those wrinkles instead of filling them with botox would be powerful indeed.

Imagine looking at the softness of your belly and thinking about how you grew life or were a soft place to cuddle for a loved one.  Instead of focusing on the superficial image reflected in the dressing room mirror, let’s put more stock in the image reflected back to us in the eyes of loved ones.

Let’s leave youth for the youth – it’s their time to celebrate that experience.  We have wisdom and strength from life lived and that is truly beautiful.   I’m not giving up my make-up just yet, but I’d rather be known for being interesting than pretty any day.  Join me in celebrating how interesting we’ve become as we age and change.