Posted: Sep 19, 2013 11:00 AM
As someone who always looked young for her age, I embraced the notion of growing old gracefully. Then I passed 40, and everything (literally) went downhill. My mother taught me a lot, but she never prepared me for this!

Mom taught me how to tie my shoes, and how to spell and how to behave like a lady. She walked with me through my pregnancies and offered priceless baby and childcare advice. But she never told me about getting older.

I can understand why. It's like when my daughter asked if her shots were going to hurt, and I couldn't bring myself to say, "Yes." It's sort of like that…

So I'm sharing these hard-learned aging lessons as a public service to you under-40 gals, just in case your moms are keeping you in the dark, too.

Hairs migrate

One day you'll find a gray hair on your head, but trust me when I tell you this: Graying is the least of your hair woes.

pink tweezers

My once perfect eyebrows, full and shapely, are disappearing for no apparent reason. I try to fill them in with eyebrow pencils, but it's just not the same. I couldn't imagine where those little hairs had gone...

...and then I found them. On my chin. I have all kinds of hairs growing from my chin and neck. These hairs appear overnight out of nowhere but can be as long as three inches. How is that even possible?

(If I absolutely must address gray hair, then let me just say this: Stop the bikini waxes before it's too late. One day, the hair that grows back will not be your "natural" color.)

Clothes shrink

One day, I discovered that every shirt in my closet was too tight — tight enough to stop the circulation in my arms! Did I accidentally launder my clothes with too-hot a water or too-high a heat?

Shopping for new clothes doesn't help because the people in those foreign countries who are manufacturing our clothes must be tiny — not hearty, normal-size people like us Americans. (For future reference: A size 10 from Bangladesh is the same as the shrunken size 4 in your closet.)

You look tired

And I don't mean that figuratively. I truly look tired because my 48-year-old face is creasing and sagging and shadowing. No makeup tricks can lift these jowls or crepe-y eyelids.

Are my bones shrinking or are those too-tight clothes making me look all shriveled up?

My changing posture contributes to this tired appearance. Are my bones shrinking or are those too-tight clothes making me look all shriveled up?

Or do I look tired because I am tired? No matter how many hours of sleep I get each night, I am eternally exhausted. I watch active young people and wonder if I ever had that kind of energy.

I'm so tired that I'd rather fall into bed than relax in a nice hot bath, which doesn't really matter anyway because…

Perfumes fail

perfume bottleI smell different. Not in a basic-hygiene sort of way, but rather in my attempts to smell "pretty." My aging skin must have developed a barrier of some kind because it takes about 25 layers — shower gel, body lotion, powder, deodorant, spray and lip balm — of my favorite scent to "stick" to me in a lasting and meaningful way.

Peace reigns

Getting older brings more than the dreaded hairy, beefy, tired, old lady-smelling changes. It also brings a sense of peace. I'm not as slender or pretty as I once may have been, but I'm happier than ever.

As time passes and outward beauty begins to fade, beautiful things are happening within. Age truly brings wisdom and contentment and the realization that fussing over eyebrows and shirt sizes really doesn't matter at all!

More wisdom on aging

How to look forever young
How to feel forever young
Blame it on the hormones