Middle-aged Asian woman reading a book at home.

What people don’t tell us about aging is that it hits everything, everywhere, all at once. We’re slender, nimble, and glowing one day, and perpetually bloated and achy the next. If only there was a comprehensive manual to navigating all these changes, but, alas, all we have are beauty standards telling us that aging like fine wine is the – only – way to go. But what does that mean, anyway?

Why Are We Obsessed With Youthfulness?

Having oily, , I looked forward to the promise of decreased sebum production. Magazines told me this came with age, and it did, but with strings attached. Immediately upon hitting my 40s, my complexion changed. I no longer had chronic breakouts or had any need for blotting paper or . Lo and behold, I was oil-free.

This made me happy until I realized my face had dried. So much for aging like fine wine. My forehead developed and I had frown lines that made me look upset. While I embraced my new , I had to adjust my skincare routine to address the changes in my complexion. At this point, panic had set in: I was getting old. And so rapidly, it seemed.

I can’t say I am obsessed with staying young. A part of me has embraced my new body and its little quirks, but I would also be lying if I said I do not wish to stay young-looking forever. The fact that being carded in my 40s gave me a high is proof I’m not immune to fixating on youth.

Maybe it’s nostalgia. Maybe it’s regret. I look at 10-year-old photos of myself and think, “I wasn’t actually fat back then,” or “My skin didn’t look so bad after all.” Maybe the yearning to stay youthful comes from my failure to love myself enough when I was.

Is “Aging Like Fine Wine” a Healthier Mindset?

The idea of “aging like fine wine” sounds like the healthier, self-loving alternative to resisting aging, but is it? It’s what people say about attractive older women (or men) who don't show signs of excessive Botox or wear , like Andie McDowell, Dawn Zulueta, or lately, Pamela Anderson – but where’s the inclusivity in that? These are categorically beautiful women who happen to have aged. As the phrase suggests, the wine was already fine to begin with.

The fact that there is an alternative (that is, NOT aging like fine wine)implies the existence of defeat. If you do not work hard enough, eat well enough, exercise enough, or sleep enough, you will not age beautifully. Again, the pressure to attain the unattainable is on us. But the truth is, only fine wine can age like fine wine. Where does that leave the rest of us?

Don't Frown Upon “Maintenance”

That said, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to look and feel good while embracing aging. Adjusting your means being aware of your needs, which is good for your well-being.

For example, swap the zit cream for POND'S Age Miracle Ultimate Youth Day Serum to address the early signs of aging. Switch to Cream Silk Triple Keratin Rescue Ultimate Hair Fall Defiance Ultra Conditioner because you will experience (it’s a normal part of aging). Finally, use a gentle and skin-caring deodorant like Dove Radiant + Care Deodorant Dry Serum 3% Niacinamide 10x Collagen Deep Renew to keep your underarms smooth and supple.

Let Women Age in Peace

I am delulu enough to believe that “fine” is a relative term and nobody can define it for me. I guess that’s another thing that comes with growing older: some degree of wisdom and a whole lot of IDGAF. Other perks include having stability,tried-and-true relationships, a wealth of experiences, and if you’re lucky, an area of expertise to harp on about at parties.

Getting older is continuing to live, so who cares about aging like fine wine? Let me be a whisky sour or a bitter sake. I’ll age my own way, thank you.