The Moment That Changed How I View Aging And Beauty Forever

Who should we go to for wisdom? Our grandmothers.

a woman with gray hair smiling in a kitchen adamkaz from Getty Images Signature

At the end of the summer, sitting in my favorite coffee shop in Toronto’s trendy Yorkville, I suddenly found myself mesmerized by the faces of the women in front of me.

They were so perfect. Not one flaw, bump, wrinkle. Their makeup was also perfect. Their eyelashes long enough to sweep the floor with, their lips botoxed out into space.

I found myself wondering, how many hours a day does it take to look like that? And what is it all for?


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Maybe to impress the "Perfect Boyfriend" — yes, there is one somewhere in the world.

But I suddenly felt sad. I remembered some of the words from my own book "LoveSense" — about how Botox freezes our faces so that we cannot communicate properly with others through our facial expressions or even pick up the emotional cues outlined in others' faces by imitating their message and feeling it in our bodies.

Appearance is all it seems, and we all aspire to plastic perfection.

Then I remembered my grandmother. At 80 she was joyous, funny, rude, kind — and full of wrinkles. I loved her face — every line of it.




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It seems as though we do not see the beauty in a face that reflects a life lived.

Instead, we see signs of aging as something to be denied and avoided — almost shameful.

So, I came back to Victoria and told my hairdresser that since my natural hair color was pure white, we would no longer color it red.


When she took the towel off my head that day I screamed — who was this white-haired woman?

She is who I am now, and I have earned every white hair and every wrinkle on my face. I refuse the plastic perfection creed.

Dr. Sue Johnson on agingPhoto: Plume Creative from Getty Images

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I listened to a famous feminist from the UK talking and someone asked her who we should go to for wisdom in this age of crazy tsunamis of information and marketing where norms change overnight. I loved her answer.

She said — “Our grandmothers."



Our indigenous peoples honor their elders and see the magic and history in their faces. What a lovely idea.


Let us love our wrinkles. Who needs the façade of eternal youth and perfection?

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Dr. Sue Johnson is the Director of the International Center for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy, focused on studying the tapestry of human connection and emotions.