Are you afraid of growing old? (The Basic Laws of Graceful Aging)

Are you afraid of growing old? (The Basic Laws of Graceful Aging)

Jul 13, 2016

In the last few days I’ve attended events that made me think about growing old. One was the Press Launch of Radiant Grace, a night cream by Human Nature held at the spa of GK Enchanted Farm. The other one was the 50th birthday celebration of lay preacher Bo Sanchez at no less than the Araneta Coliseum.*

Radiant Grace Launch
When 2012 Social Entrepreneur of the Year awardee Anna Meloto Wilk invited me to the launch of their new product, I said yes and was excited to have an overnight stay at
Iasis Spa located inside the GK (Gawad Kalinga) Enchanted Farm in Bulacan. Yes, they now have a wholeness spa that offers integrative healing inside the 36 hectare property.

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It was a happy reunion with Tito Tony (Meloto), one of the successful Pinoy men I featured in my first book Raising Pinoy Boys. He was his usual charismatic self with compelling stories about why it is imperative that we should all help the poor. He told me stories about how Mr. Schwab of the Schwab Foundation said, “It’s the first time that a father and daughter are named the Social Entrepreneur of the Year one after another!” Tony Meloto received the award from said foundation in 2010 while Anna in 2012. After a refreshing merienda of the organic products of their in-house social entrepreneurs, we had a tour of the Enchanted Farm guided by Billie, an Atenean turned social entrepreneur and owner of Kabutehan, a mushroom farm.

                Left to right: The author with Gawad Kalinga’s Tony Meloto; Human Nature’s Anna Meloto Wilk
Tour of the farm.
                                                                                  Tour of the farm.

I took a quick shower after the tour then headed to the dinner area where another feast of organic food, mostly sourced from the Enchanted Farm, was waiting. This was followed by the press launch.

Left to right:  Organic feast, The press launch after dinner.
                                                      Left to right:  Organic feast, The press launch after dinner.

What was interesting about this beauty product launch was that it wasn’t the usual skin-deep type of conversation. In fact, their campaign defines beauty not as self-absorbed but one with compassion, serves the least, last and lost. It is not measured by perfection but by grace.

After discussing the product and its campaign, the three of us – Janina, Marie and I -were invited on stage to share our views on beauty and life in general.

Left to Right: Women featured during the press launch of Radiant Grace – Janina Ibazeta Dizon, the author, Marie Cavosora.
Left to Right: Women featured during the press launch of Radiant Grace – Janina Dizon Ibazeta, the author, Marie Cavosora.

Janina Dizon Ibazeta, who’s also the product model, shared her experiences of being a marketing career woman who decided to leave her work to devote more time to her two young daughters. While taking care of her kids, she now operates a food franchise and she’s discovering a different kind of fulfillment meeting people from all walks of life, and of course, spending more time with her babies.

When it was my turn I started by echoing Janina’s crossroads when baby number two was born, “There must be something about the second baby, because that’s when I also felt…” Of course, you know my story of giving up my investment-banking career to become a full-time homemaker.

The funny thing was that when Marie Cavosora, who studied in the US and pursued her career abroad including an exciting advertising stint at BBDO New York, took her turn, she said, “Well Rose and Janina had their awakening after their second baby. I don’t have children but my awakening came after my second marriage!” Everyone laughed! She fell in love all over again, this time with her country of birth so she moved back to the Philippines and is now a social entrepreneur carrying the brand name Calaboo. We enjoyed her cheeses with wine during the cocktails.

The three of us – women in their 30s (Janina), 40s (Marie), 50s (yours truly) – shared our views on beauty during the launch.

Left photo: Wowie Meloto Gonzales, Chris Fuster Lazatin, Marie Cavosora, Anna Meloto Wilk, the autor Right photo: The author with Tony Meloto, a French intern and Thomas Graham, a British journalist who wrote the book The Genius of the Poor (an Englishman’s Life-changing Journey in the Philippines), both decided to live in the Philippines as social entrepreneurs at the Enchanted Farm.
Left photo: Wowie Meloto Gonzales, Chris Fuster Lazatin, Marie Cavosora, Anna Meloto Wilk, the author
Right photo: The author with Tony Meloto, a French intern and Thomas Graham, a British journalist who wrote the book The Genius of the Poor (an Englishman’s Life-changing Journey in the Philippines), both decided to live in the Philippines as social entrepreneurs at the Enchanted Farm.

Shocked by my age
Maybe I subconsciously chose to wear my gold top, which I bought from a temple during my first trip to Bangkok back in the ‘90s to emphasize my age. I wear my age (51) like a crown, seriously. And it surprised a lot of the people in the audience. One visiting European said, “Well, you’re able to hide your age well, good for you!” I’ve never “hidden” it and I sometimes wonder why it’s so prevalent, especially among women, to do so. Maybe because there’s too much pressure and obsession with staying and looking young. Sometimes a lot of women resort to drastic measures like surgery, injections, etc. just to look young. I’m not saying that it’s bad to do these things but maybe they should be administered with utmost caution, and assessed a hundred times before going under the knife. I really admire this surgeon who said, “A surgery is a surgery, and it goes with some risks. So why have one if you don’t need it?” In fact, come to think of it, most of the lifts I see are only good on photo but scary in person. So why not just ask someone to photoshop your picture and avoid the risks of a surgery and also the risk of looking like a scary mannequin in person?

I long for the day when we will all look kindly at fine lines as memories of both laughter and tears we went through all these years that made us the stronger women that we are now, the sun spots as the great time we spent outdoors with our loved ones. I long for the day when we will perceive these lines, sun spots and other blemishes in the same way we look at the beautiful patina of old wooden furniture.

But I’m still vain.
Honestly, I care about the way I look. And I notice that I have become more conscious as I get older. And I think it’s just right. The fresh look of a twenty year old who can just wash her face with soap and water and put a little lip gloss can no longer be achieved on a fifty-year-old face.  At the very least, you have to put on some pressed powder, curl those eyelashes, put some blush and lipstick.

When I’m asked how I manage to look the way I do, my official answer is always, “I married a good man!” While that is true, there are some other things we can all watch out for, especially if we don’t want to undergo aggressive procedures. Here are my Basic Laws of Aging Gracefully.

  1. Easy on the EYEBROWS. I had thick eyebrows and I grew up during the era of Brooke Shields so I managed to go through pagdadalaga without tweezing them. It was only when I already had my three sons that I first started to tweeze out some of them and there’s a funny story about it. One Halloween party, I decided to wear an orange top, black pants and a witch’s hat. When the photos were developed and printed (take note, film camera was still the standard), I wondered, “Did I use black eyebrow pencil to come up with witch-thick-eyebrows?” And when I realized I didn’t, that was the only time I considered going to the salon for help because it’s not everyday that we attend Halloween parties! But here’s the positive outcome. Whenever I get my make-up done by a professional artist, I always get compliments for my thick eyebrows, especially from the funny gay artists, “Tita, buti na lang hindi mo inabuso at inubos ang kilay mo! Mas mukha kang bata! Yong mga nag-pluck to death, nagtampo ang mga kilay, so ayun, may I tattoo naman sila ngayon!” So word of caution: Do not over-pluck your eyebrows!
  1. Clear SKIN. A flawless skin is everyone’s dream. Although most of it goes with genetic lottery, you can help maintain its youthful glow by drinking lots of water, eating well, not smoking and only taking alcohol moderately, again with lots of water. Sun screen is a must. (I confess I’m a bit remiss on this.) When pimples come out, be gentle and refrain from squeezing them. Use mild soap and get enough sleep. Put on night cream with natural ingredients before going to bed. Exercise to stimulate perspiration. Visit your derma but don’t over do it. I observe a lot of middle-aged women always sporting that “bagong derma” It’s red and super thin, shiny and very delicate looking skin. It’s like chemical peel has become a habit. I wonder what long-term effect that would have when they reach their 60s onwards? Of course, the botox and hydrogel look are also a bit disturbing that I personally prefer leaving some creases on. Think of Audrey Hepburn in her last few photos, wrinkled but still beautiful.
  1. TEETH. Another telltale sign of aging are discolored and unkempt teeth. So avoid smoking and when you drink tea often, make sure you brush your teeth well. Floss at least once a day and visit your dentist at least twice a year.
  1. Healthy HAIR. Keeping your hair healthy in the tone of your natural color may be the best bet for middle-aged women. Yes, you may use tints to hide the white hair but do not deviate too much from your natural color. I’m not a fan of the agua-oxigenada (hydrogen peroxide) look, nor am I happy with the jet-black tone for octogenarians. If your hair could only talk, maybe it would scream, “Enough!” Go for occasional hot oil but please do not overdo treatments. Imagine the residue build up that’s happening on your scalp. Don’t overdo your haircut as well. Let your hair grow a little and help it gain back its luster. Remember this is your crowning glory.
  1. Watch your WAISTLINE. If you watch your waistline, there is no need to watch your weight. You should have an acceptable “standard deviation” smiley-163510_640 from your original measurement of waistline. For mommies, aspire for one to two inches only. Do not buy clothes when you go beyond those boundaries. If you do this, you will be forced to improve the quality and quantity of your food intake once you notice that you look like suman every morning when you put on your clothes. If you’re now at a deviation way too far from the original and would justify, “I’m not vain, I’d rather have thick waste line than be miserable!” may I remind you that our midsection is the ultimate predictor of our health. It should not go beyond our height divided by 2. (Example: If you’re 5 ft. tall, that’s 60 inches. Your waistline should not go beyond 30 inches.) Otherwise, you are at risk of developing many diseases. So, keep that measuring tape handy in your dressing room, and remember nobody gets fat overnight!

Healthy diet and regular exercise are already presupposed in keeping these five in their best condition – SKIN, TEETH, HAIR, EYEBROWS and WAISTLINE. So we now go to the most important basic law of graceful aging. It is not exterior but definitely affects our looks the most.

  1. Focus on INNER GROWTH. Nurture great relationships. Always have a project going on. Life should be a series of exciting projects that all point to the general direction of your purpose. Come to think of it, in the phrase growing old, the operative word should be growing. That means things are still happening. Yes, we see the obvious signs of aging outside and society has hypnotized us to put a premium on the youthful look. But maybe, if we focus more on the changes that’s happening inside – the wisdom, the patience, the lightheartedness, the care for others and other developments, then the natural physical changes outside will be associated more with the positive things happening within us and we will all see the beauty in the patina of the aging person.

Cheers to aging gracefully!


*Bo’s celebration and turning 50 in general will come out in a separate article.


  1. Marvin Fausto and I will give a talk to the TGFI Singapore chapter on the Psychology of Money scheduled on July 30, 2016. Inquire with your TGFI Singapore leaders Rex Holgado and company.IMG_3218
  2. Watch out for my FQ talks in cooperation with Security Bank. Dates and venues to be announced.

Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom. 

ATTRIBUTIONS: Photos from Human Nature, the author, IASIS facebook and, put together to help deliver the message of the article.