Friday, February 7, 2014

Day 7 - Forever Young ?



Why do we think it is not natural to look your age ? 
How is it unnatural and a negative thing to grow older and thus, look older ?

Why is it that if someone "looks young for their age" we feel it is a good thing, while if a person is actually showing their age, we make comments such as "she/he is not aging well" ?


Take Christie Brinkley for instance. The woman just turned 60 and while it cannot be denied she is beautiful, she has always been beautiful and it is evident her genes are the main reason for this - yet, she is praised for her looks as if she deserves a Nobel for her "achievement". She is clearly a freak of nature, but by lifting her to a pedestal, what kind of message are we sending to young girls who are still growing up - or to those 60 year olds who actually look 60 and now feel rotten for it ?  
Brinkley, a gorgeous woman at any age

I'm not saying I'm immune to changes that age brings myself - of course it is somewhat baffling to realize that your body is deteriorating with time, and I am the first to admit that I'm rather vain - I want to look nice and pretty ! I do notice it when my eyes look puffy some mornings, and that it's evident I'd have a head full of silver highlights if I let my natural hair color take over. I also vowed many years ago that I'll never again cut my hair really, really short - because it instantly ages me ! So no, I'm definitely not immune, and cannot claim that I have zero negative thoughts about ageing myself. But,  maybe because I have no fear of dying, I am not that hung up on my age or how my face looks in the mirror - and I find myself becoming more and more bothered about the way society makes us believe that we should be able to stop ageing. I think you can look nice and pretty at any age - your age shouldn't dictate your beauty or how you feel about yourself !

Quite surprisingly, the older I get, the better I seem to feel about myself. On some level I feel like I enjoy getting older -- there are a lot of things you can let go of with age. I feel I am growing in so many other areas (I hope !) - I will turn 46 in March, and I am happy about it - no lie ! Yes, I do use anti-age creams for moisturizing, but I'd like to think I use them because there are certain creams that are for certain age groups. Or am I fooling myself ? All I can say is I don't think I expect these creams to really do anything anti-age to me and/or make me look younger; I just think it's rational to use skin care that is meant for your age group...as opposed to using products that are directed at teenagers or someone in their 20's. 

Why do we even call products anti-age ? Wouldn't it be more productive and sensible to just call them by their brand name, and then perhaps include it in the small print that this and this product is meant for people over 50 or under 30, for instance ? Sure, your body and skin need different things when they change over the years - but isn't it ridiculous to think that anything "anti-age" can really turn back the clock ? And more to the point, why do we feel like turning back the time is something to chase at all ?
 

You know those occasions when someone comments your photo, say, on Facebook - or when they meet you in person after a long while, saying: "Oh my, you haven't changed at all in 15 years ! What is your secret ?" or "I swear you are getting younger and younger every year !" Why do we say things like this. like it's something to applaud for if a person who's 50 looks like he's 38 or whatever ? Isn't it embarrassing that people even feel the need to say things like this out loud, isn't it insulting in some ways - like, well, you really are quite old but because being old is considered a bad thing, and being young is considered a good thing, I'll just throw in a couple of comments about how young you look.

While I understand that comments like that are mostly meant as compliments, and might even be sincere, they do make me quite uncomfortable. It speaks of the assumption that I am trying to preserve my youth and I must be praised for (apparently) succeeding in this globally appreciated "task".
I also get irritated because I want to scream: why can I not get old ? Why is it not okay to look 45 if I am indeed 45 ??  I can take a compliment, and it IS nice to receive compliments, sure - but why can't it be just "that's a nice photo of you" or "you look beautiful" instead of trying to bring youth in to it ?

Another thing is today's job market. I'm 45 and have been trying to find a new job for nearly a year. I never even considered the fact that my age might play a role on whether or not I land a job when I started looking last year -- but now it has occurred to me that wow, it could well be the case -- should I add a disclaimer in my job application saying I am youthful and energetic even though I'm in my 40's...so that I'll appeal more to employers ? Please say it isn't so !

Cameron Diaz -whom I admire for her ability to take care of her body by exercising consistently- has published a book called The Body Book. I don't have opinions on the book because I haven't read it (yet), but while I was reading one of her interviews for promoting the book and her view of life, I came across something she said -- and I think this is absolutely brilliant.


Cameron says:

''I wish that women would let other women age gracefully and allow them to get older and know that as we get older, we become wiser.''

''There's no such thing as anti-aging. There's no such thing as turning back the hands of time, and it makes me crazy that we live in a society where that's sold to women - that we're supposed to believe that if we're getting older, we've failed somehow, that we have failed by not staying young.''

 ''I don't want to look like I did when I was 25. I like the way that I look now better than when I was 25. I can't help that other people may be uncomfortable with that, but that's not my responsibility to make them feel okay with the fact that I'm getting older. I'm okay with it. I like it.'' 


I think we are just generally afraid of physical deterioration because it reminds us of death. When we see wrinkles and notice yet another gray hair on our head, these are proof that our days on this planet are less and less. This realization makes most of us uneasy and we do everything we can to slow the process, trying to somehow defeat the impending death - and the "younger" we look, the more confident we feel that there's still plenty of time and perhaps we'll stay forever young. It is only human to feel this way, of course....but it is also just a lie...a beautiful lie that we have been tricked to believe in - and when we realize we're not succeeding in keeping up that lie, we feel like we've failed. That's pretty sad.



Still beautiful

Day 7 Exercise: walking 1 hour ( + ranting half an hour :)

6 comments:

  1. Like you I'm single and about to turn 46 in March. I started following your blog because I relate to a lot of what you write, and it's nice not to feel so alone in my situation. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful photos of your island. And here's to finding the best in each day and to retaining youthful optimism.

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    1. Thank you so much !! Sometimes I feel I'm going through these things by myself, so first of all it is "therapy" to be able to dump it all here...but more importantly, if even one person feels they can relate -- that's amazing...so I'm very glad you do; and thanks for reading !
      P.S. I can't believe we're almost exactly the same age....(my bday is on 24th).
      Have an amazing day <3

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  2. Mine's the 15th. I love to write too and can understand it would be therapeutic for you.

    It's become a bit of a tradition for me to 'run away' on my birthday and spend it out of town. I'm doing that again this year but it's actually really nice. To get on the road and leave your day to day life behind is a great stress reliever and it brings a fresh perspective. Wishing you a very happy birthday for the 24th.

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    1. Sounds great ! I haven't been able to do anything special for my birthday in years now for financial reasons, but I still thoroughly enjoy the day every year - it's like a fresh start :)

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  3. PS I'm no longer on Facebook and I don't miss it at all. Honestly. Just saying :)

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    1. Good for you :-D I have no desire to leave permanently, just taking a break.

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Comments are more than welcome - kommentit tervetulleita :)