Like RIP Van Winkle, I fell asleep and apparently woke up 20 years later. I don’t feel 20 years older, but there have been a few tell tale signs. Why cry over the inevitable? I can let myself get all paranoid and obsessed with the fountain of youth (fillers and surgery), or I can choose to inhabit my “more mature self” with grace, and a sense of humor. I’m not making any long-term promises, but I am trying my level best to do the latter.

From fast men and cars to the comfort of luxury sedans

From fast men and cars to the comfort of luxury sedans

1). The first sign of aging came when I realized I wanted to date the guy with the comfortable luxury sedan over the one with the sexy sports car. Getting in and out of the cars (and the relationships) were starting to require too much effort. Sports cars are just such high maintenance!

Julie Anne Rhodes in Versace

Julie Anne Rhodes in Versace

2). Then the hangovers started getting longer even if the hemlines didn’t, so it was time for a change. I went from VIP entrances in Versace to service entrances in my apron. Going from hiring the staff to being the staff had it’s own set of life lessons, and the realization that I am the boss after all. Being directly responsible for my own success was emancipating! No more Cinderella, I’ll be buying those Versace frocks, instead of borrowing.

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes at Madison Square Gardens

Bifocals? I'm still rocking out at concerts!

3). Just days after my 40th birthday (which was mildly traumatizing in itself), my opthamologist unceremoniously  announced “you need bifocals my dear.” You could have knocked me over with a feather! Granny spectacles are NOT my style, so I promptly splurged an extra $200.00 for the progressive lenses with the invisible bifocal line. What? That isn’t cheating – it is non-invasive correction.

Perfectly plucked brows

Perfectly plucked brows can be a challenge

4). Then I started growing a little grey here and there. The hair is easy to deal with thanks to my new best friend Clairol. However, the brows are a different story. Mother nature’s private little joke. First she plays with the eyesight, then she has me growing stray eyebrows I can’t find. Now I have to fork over more money to a beautician to pluck them for me. This growing older can be an expensive business!

Julie Anne Rhodes applying eye make-up

Whose eyes are these?

5). Oh, but it does get weirder still. I feel like I’m applying make-up to a strangers’ face these days. As everything begins to  move south, my eyes appear to be a totally different shape than they used to be, but…

Julie Anne Rhodes photo by JennKL
Julie Anne Rhodes photo by JennKL

… growing older has it’s advantages too. Along with the years comes a comfort in knowing exactly who I am, and actually liking the woman I am today. I’ve managed to carve out a fabulous life for myself on my own terms, and a career that continually challenges me to learn and grow in new directions. That excites me almost as much as realizing that with age comes experience, and experience can be dead sexy. In fact, I chose the untouched photo to share with you above, because I’ve decided (for now), I want to wear my wrinkles well. My recipe for accepting life (and age) gracefully? Learn to like a little of the sour with the sweet – like this recipe:

Homemade Honey-Mustrad Dressing for the summer

Homemade Honey-Mustrad Dressing, because summer is on it's way!

Homemade Honey-Mustard Salad Dressing

Sometimes taking the sour with sweet can be very pleasant, especially when it packs a bite from Dijon mustard as well! This tangy, sweet and savory salad dressing is remarkably easy to whip up, and brightens any summer salad. Premium members are in the know. They used it in my lentil quinoa salad recipe on the last weekly menu plan. Want more great recipes and menu ideas? Join now, and save both time and money with the Personal Chef Approach™.

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/3 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

In a large bowl, mix the honey and mustard, adjusting to taste. Add the celery seeds, curry powder and white vinegar and mix well. Whisk continuously as you add the olive oil in a slow drizzle until the dressing has emulsified.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve cold or at room temperature tossed with greens of your liking. I love this tossed with spinach and topped with honey-pecan chicken strips to round off the meal.

PS. So where do you find the humor with getting older?

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  • May 30, 2012
    10:50 am

    LOVE this post!

    Getting older has really hit Merrill and me. Just recently we realized how ‘boring’ we’ve become, lol!

    Merrill will text me on a Friday afternoon saying, “TV LATER!! WHOO HOO!” Just sitting and watching tv together, simple things, brings us a lot of happiness.

    When we were younger, it was all about finding a babysitter so we could run to NY and club hop.

    We’re enjoying the simple things like playing with the kids, asking them their dreams (for example, Raven told me her dream is to become a mom with three daughters and two sons. Just so that they can all call me ‘grandma’.)

    The humor for me is not so much finding the stray eyebrow hairs (which yes, is challenging!) but it’s more about the hairs coming out in places I NEVER wanted to see – my chin!!

    I was plucking a hair from my chin one morning and of course Raven walks in at that precise moment, looks at me, grabs Merrill’s can of shaving cream and says, “Mommy, here. Use this. And Papa’s razor is over there.”

    So that was definitely a sign that middle age is here.

    And I truly appreciate the untouched photo – you look beautiful. Very natural. And your personality shines through.

    I strive to have that confidence!

    Reply
    • May 30, 2012
      4:53 pm

      When I was at my all time low, I asked a woman I admired how one builds self esteem, and her reply was “by doing esteemable acts.” Confidence is a component of self esteem, therefore a constant work in progress for all of us.

      “Self-esteem allows people to face life with more confidence, benevolence and optimism, and thus easily reach their goals and self-actualize.[12] It allows oneself to be more ambitious, but not with respect to possessions or success, but with respect to what one can experience emotionally, creatively and spiritually. To develop self-esteem is to widen the capacity to be happy; self-esteem allows people to be convinced they deserve happiness.[12] Understanding this is fundamental, and universally beneficial, since the development of positive self-esteem increases the capacity to treat other people with respect, benevolence and goodwill, thus favoring rich interpersonal relationships and avoiding destructive ones.” – Wikipedia

      Reply
      • June 2, 2012
        11:24 am

        “I asked a woman I admired how one builds self esteem, and her reply was ‘by doing esteemable acts.’”
        I LOVE THIS! I am stealing this <3

  • May 30, 2012
    11:27 am

    I became slightly depressed when I was waiting for my cousin the hairstylist to cut and colour my hair (with its share of greys) and I said “I don’t want to look like some cougar” then realized I am the age of a cougar! She laughed and said I’d fit in perfectly with her 20 year old friends and I quickly declined… I remember that chick at the clubs and I wasn’t about to be her! That’s not saying I intend on always acting my age.

    Both of you look absolutely stunning at all times but what I adore most is the people you are and your talent.

    Reply
    • May 30, 2012
      5:02 pm

      I did a radio show with a well known actor a year or two my junior. He growled at me with “come hither eyes” implying I was a cougar. I was enraged, but according to him, the definition of cougar does not have to be a 50 year old woman with a 25 year old man – it’s with any man younger than yourself, therefore I was a cougar at the age of 23 (my ex was 20 when we met). I still loathe that demeaning terminology!

      Nothing can put a little sass back into your step quicker than a little hair color and a great cut – good move Rachel!

      Reply
      • May 31, 2012
        9:06 am

        I am not a fan of the term either but I guess it’s more how some “ladies” act than age difference. I think the actor was trying to make himself feel better by implying that. It was my wish on each birthday to wake up one morning looking like Audrey Hepburn. You are following her footsteps in the gracefully moving through birth dates :)

  • May 30, 2012
    11:38 am

    My theory about aging is that it’s better than the other option! But, I do admit that, like you, I don’t feel any older, but (at 41) I’m starting to notice little things. Like the lines around my eyes that are starting to no longer fade when I stop smiling were a shock. Also, my arm is almost not long enough for me to read anymore, so reading glasses are not far off.

    As for plastic surgery and other forms of help, First, You are GORGEOUS. (what eye cream do you use??) But, if you do choose to get a bit of help here and there, please, please, don’t over do it.

    Here in S. Florida (I’m sure in CA too) there are MANY women who look like they are perpetually standing in a windtunnel. Or they have that look of unending surprise. And Mick Jagger lips. Horrifying.

    I think they look ridiculous. People who age gracefully look beautiful.

    Reply
    • May 30, 2012
      5:07 pm

      So far I’m with you Cheryl – I find the overdone women terrifying (that puts me off more than anything else), and I do subscribe to the French philosophy that experience is sexy, but then I amy change my mind if every things suddenly drops dramatically. Not boxing myself into that corner, since we value different things at different ages.

      Not that I’m into giving free endorsements, but my parents sold NuSkin for a while, so I’ve always used it, and do swear by it.

      Reply
  • May 30, 2012
    11:39 am

    I am younger than you (I’m 43) and I’ve been covering white (not gray *white*) hair for years now *plus* I have way more wrinkles than you! (this is trying to make you feel better but I don’t know if it’s working LOL). You have been blessed with a gorgeous bone structure and features, you’ll never look *old*! Thank you for posting the photo!

    Reply
    • May 30, 2012
      5:09 pm

      Never say never Kim, but thank you – I was lucky when they were passing out genes. I think living in damp, rainy London helped as well, plus I’ve always drunk at least 1-2 litres of water a day. Hydrating from the inside really does help.

      Reply
  • May 30, 2012
    2:11 pm

    Very inspiring and made me feel a lot better about being well into my forties. I can relate! Also, there are the cute dresses I wore at 25 that look silly on me now. And the neck waddle…

    Thank you for this post!

    Reply
  • May 30, 2012
    5:15 pm

    I think we are too easily led into believing we are past our sell by dates due to society. The biggest part of that battle is just not buying into it. We should always tell ourselves who we are and want to be, rather than letting exterior influences dictate it.

    We all get the neck waddle (or turkey gobble as I call it) eventually. That’s why I’m not ruling out my options when, and if, I feel surgery may be necessary. I’m just hoping I can stay comfortable enough in my own skin not to warrant it.

    Reply
    • December 27, 2012
      9:43 am

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      Reply
  • May 31, 2012
    10:55 am

    Having worked in healthcare for what feels like forever… the key thing to remember if you decide to do anything elective (surgical or otherwise) is that you have the right to ask a lot of questions up front about what the ‘final product’ will be (look, feel, recovery time, possible complications, etc). I’ve worked with enough surgeons of all specialties to know that many of them are lousy when it comes to interpersonal communication, so it’s on you (the patient) to take an active role in your own plan so that everyone’s on the same page.

    As for 41-year-old me (who started going grey at 28)… I could see a point in time where a little something could be done (lipo? breast lift?), but it won’t be anytime soon. Now a nice relaxing vacation… that I can see happening (if my husband and son let me get a few moments peace).

    Reply
    • June 1, 2012
      11:52 am

      Oooh, the nice relaxing vacation sounds MUCH better than fillers or surgery to me any day.

      Reply
  • June 1, 2012
    10:30 am

    Your photo looks fantastic! You are amazing with or without make-up, but what is wonderful about the ‘au naturel’ photo is that I see so much happieness in your eyes. You know who you are and are not afraid to celebrate you being you. I’m trying to make myself believe that my grey hair, wrinkles and so on all add character. But, maybe I could do with a little less character. I’m 56, look every day of it and that’s okay. One of the perks is discounts that I now qualify for at certain stores. While it would be nice to get out and about a bit more, I’m easily satisfied by just going out for a coffee and to people watch. Maybe age has brought about a certain amount of learning to enjoy simpler things. I never get tired of watching Molly flip her water bowl over, ending up with a very wet head in the process. Instead of wanting to go out to eat, I enjoy cooking, learning, enjoying new recipes. The joy of art came to me late in life, within the past few years in fact. I never had time to explore, artistically speaking, and spending time in my studio makes me realize that if I had done this earlier in life, I likely wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much as I do now. Here’s to learning to enjoy life, regardless of our age. Every age is wonderful if we set out to enjoy life at all the stages we pass through.

    Reply
  • June 1, 2012
    11:56 am

    Well put Ruthee!

    Reply
  • June 2, 2012
    11:20 am

    I had my recent eye appointment, and the doctor patted my shoulder when I complained about my night vision decreasing. He said, “Old eyes, sweetie. It’s just age.” And…ouch!

    I’m also finding gray eyebrow hairs, even if I haven’t seen any on my head (probably a byproduct of all the coloring products soaked into it every 6 weeks.) And the wrinkles. Oh my word.

    But I have never felt more confident or attractive as a woman. Age has given me a boost in self-esteem that nothing would have given me at 20. I am delighted for the beauty of youth that I see everywhere, and so glad I had my turn at it, but now…it’s someone else’s turn to be young, and my turn to be–whatever this wrinkly, saggy, slower-moving thing is that I am. Awesome! It’s my turn to be Awesome! ;)

    You’ve always been an arresting beauty. You always will be.

    Reply
  • June 2, 2012
    2:15 pm

    Agreed Lane! “It’s my turn to be Awesome!”

    Reply
  • June 2, 2012
    7:38 pm

    I LOVE being in my ’40′s. Best decade yet. I have more confidence than ever and appreciate so many more simple moments. BTW, always looking for salad dressings and your beautiful photo on TS caught my attention.

    Reply
    • June 3, 2012
      10:15 am

      You are so right on Sarah! Thank you for stopping by, and when I get the time – I was thinking of doing a whole post on homemade salad dressings – they’re so easy to make, and so much better for you without all the chemicals added to the store bought kind, it is silly we don’t make our own all the time.

      Reply
  • June 2, 2012
    9:27 pm

    Please tell your sister Patty hello from an old 1984 DU college friend. You right informative articles and great recipes.Thanks and keep on rocking!

    Reply
  • June 4, 2012
    12:31 pm

    Dear julie anne, you are spot on. I am not forty, but almost 39. And used to be a model too . I was reminiscing in my blog about those times,(http://www.candicederooij.blogspot.nl/2012/04/me-reminiscing.html) .
    But hell i am an architect and mother now and why dwell to much on aging. It is better to enjoy life.
    And it seems you enjoy your life very much.

    Greetings from holland

    Reply
  • June 9, 2012
    5:14 pm

    What a lift your article gave me! It’s wonderful to hear your positive, humourous outlook on life and maturing. I’m 46 in a couple of months time and sometimes wonder how it crept up on me so fast, though I feel so much better about myself now than I did 20 years ago. I decided to make some changes to my life after my mother died, aged 59, following a 6 year battle with cancer. Far too young and a sad reminder to make the most of the time we have. I now have my own little business, designing and making jewellery and though it will never make me rich, I love being creative after 20+ years working in offices. I believe it was Rosalind Russell who said ‘Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic’ and I love it when I hear of other women who live by that maxim too xx

    Reply
  • June 9, 2012
    10:15 pm

    All I can say Jewels is that you look smashing with or without makeup.

    Reply
  • December 24, 2012
    9:42 am

    The untouched photo is my fav! You are gorgeous at any age! That’s because you have a kind heart and it shows through. Great post, great attitude! As I’m losing weight (90 lbs now!), I realize under all the fat I’ve aged. It’s been tough but I’m working on accepting it. For the first time in my life I look my age. Lol! You know what? It’s fine! As long as we don’t feel old in our hearts we are never truly old, though. Merry Christmas, Jewels!

    Reply
    • December 24, 2012
      10:05 am

      Hey Simone – as my brother-in-law says – “getting old sucks, but it beats the alternative!”

      I think we are our own hardest critics, and you probably look much younger than you think, CONGRATS on all that weight loss! Do you feel much better? That’s what matters!

      Reply
  • December 24, 2012
    9:47 am

    Amazing.. I thought I was the only one noticing that my eyes are an entirely different shape than they were just 5 years ago! Thank you for writing this and commiserating with the rest of us over 40s…. but I will say I feel more confident and comfortable in my skin than I have my entire life!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2013
    1:35 pm

    Judging from all the responses you have certainly touched a nerve Jewels. Having said that I’d so much rather be Tina Turner (at any age) than Miley Cyrus now!

    Reply

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