I’m not sick, nor am I planning to become that way. But I feel oddly connected to those that have The Virus; to those that think they might have it; and to those concerned about getting it. I’m not connecting to the communal sense of worry or even fear of this dis-ease, but to the way it’s altered our perceptions. People in every corner of the world — regardless of age, sex, or economic status — are changing how we think and act. What matters, in the Age of Covid 19? More specifically, how am I tuning-in (now), to How I Look and How I Feel about my body, my health, my beauty and my general sense of wellbeing?

Joan Lunden

Yesterday I read an interview with a woman who’s been a global personality for decades (she’s in her 70’s now, a recent cancer-survivor). She was (and is) very photogenic, in a wholesome kind of way. No one in the world of media has, to my knowledge, ever had a harsh thing to say about her or her “brand”. An Influencer, back way before the term became a critical marker of success.

She’s written a new book, this celebrity, expressing her beliefs about beauty and the aging process. As I read about her own experiences (“aging-out” of broadcast television) and revelations, I reflected on my own path. Struggles with how Time exacts its toll on my energy and stamina. The need to work much harder to stay toned and fit and moisturized. Dealing with the way my body, in its wisdom, reacts to stress: with greater sensitivity and speed.

As women, we struggle with body-image issues our entire lives. These concerns only amplify as we age (no matter how ‘fit’ we feel or look). Which is why it was so refreshing to hear this celebrity call out and normalize — from her mega-star pedestal — age-related surprises we all confront. As I continued reading (the “peace” she’s made with a thicker waistline, for instance), I was of two minds.

While we’ve all been in quarrantine, I’ve created my own Comfort Zone of diet, excercise and beauty regimens. For example: there is virtually no woman on the planet, I told myself, that is getting the hair-care she wants right now. Elastics and barrettes are my friends. I’m well past the ‘hair’ thing. I’m also less strict with myself about ‘carb-loading’ and not necessarily following that up with a vigorous resistance workout. Maybe I do; maybe I don’t.

Relaxing my routines to adjust to the realities we all live with now only makes sense. People are dying of this thing. How petty my own concerns (messy hair and new ‘bulges’ under my leggings) are, in the big scheme of things. On the other hand, I find myself holding tight to the beliefs I’ve always had about my health, my beauty, and the way both have the power to define my self-image. There are ‘constants’ worth clinging to; not the least of which is the need for self-reminders. Normalcy will return. I will, at some point, want to put on a bathing suit and not cringe as I look in the full-length mirror.

I may be taking a temporary hiatus from what I know — intellectually — I need to do, in order to maintain my own sense of what aging-well means. But, for however long that hiatus is, I’m not going to surrender fully to bad habits and wrong-thinking. I’ve come too far, and learned too much about my own health, happiness and personal fulfillment to let anything — even a horrific contagion — push me off my path.

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