April 9, 2022

Aging is a Privilege: how to Grow Old in a Culture that is Obsessed with Antiaging.

“This word ‘antiaging’ has to be struck. I am pro-aging.”

This quote by Jamie Lee Curtis is straightforward, honest, real, and most certainly, something I can get behind. In a society in which beauty is held to the highest standard and women are indirectly told not to age, this statement definitely struck a chord with me, and I love every bit of it.

Yes, the beauty concept, especially for women, has not changed since ancient Egypt. There has always been a trend or certain look describing the favored body type or beauty features, in general. They change all the time: from Ancient Egypt’s slender, narrow shoulders, and symmetrical facial features to the Renaissance’s rounded stomach, full hips, and pale skin to Hollywood’s hour-glass figure, and to today’s post-modern beauty, which includes flat stomachs, skinny (in a healthy way) figure, and youthful appearance, no matter the actual age of the person.

We gush over 20-year-olds who pose without make-up, as if it is miraculous to have youthful skin at that age! Remember when you were in your 20s? I bet your skin didn’t require a lot of maintenance either, besides hormonal breakouts (for most). Society looks toward the “beautiful people” and holds them to some higher standard, something we all need to acquire and strive for, and so, we search endlessly for the tincture, lotion, or secret tonic to not only achieve this “perfect” look but to maintain it permanently.

Teens’ and adolescents’ mental health (yes, and adults) has declined due to social media posts of influencers with “perfect” bodies, hair, outfits, and lavish lifestyles. Still, we follow those seemingly perfect persons anyway, regardless of how inferior they make us feel. We are consumed by jealousy, envy, and make ourselves feel small because it seems impossible to keep up with those beauty standards. However, we need to realize that the pictures or reels only capture a split moment in time, not their actual 24-hours of every day in the year.

When we are young, we can’t wait to grow older in order to finally do all the things we’ve been told we are “too young” for. We hear “go travel” and “experience the world” while you are young, but when we go off and actually do “all the things” and come back with told and untold stories, now at an older age, we are sometimes confronted with “what happened to you”? Our bodies and faces visually carry and display our lives’ joys, pains, grief, and struggles, but now, were are faced with another dilemma: apparently, we were not supposed to change visually? As in, get older and wiser, but still look like we are in our 2os or 30s.

I’m confused! Are you?

It is a bit strange that a culture of “he/she died too young” has an obsession with antiaging.

Why bother, really? Just like fashion, the beauty concept and products will always change. It’s hard enough to just be human and do all the right things, let alone to be perfectly imperfect beautiful, one who measures up to societal determined standards. It’s exhausting! Let’s go back to “normal” and be our beautiful, natural, authentic, not caring-what-everyone-else-thinks-self.

Having ”crow’s feet” means you have a life filled with laughter and joy, scars (visible or invisible) are signs of overcoming difficult situations, wrinkles means you are gracefully living through experiences (good and bad) and have actual emotions expressed openly for anyone to see. What is wrong with that? Nothing.

Aging is a privilege. We don’t all get to grow old, please remind yourself of this fact. Emotions and life’s turmoil’s are part of the human experience. I am not saying to withhold from or refuse to take care of yourself; growing older gracefully means just that, right? Taking care of your body, mind, and soul without the conformity of any given beauty standard, especially the ones that include putting foreign objects into your body to look like a mannequin. Turning oneself into a plastic, smooth and even faceless persona is not natural or normal in most parts of the world. In fact, age is often a status symbol all by itself. So, celebrate each year you are given the privilege of another birthday.

Nowadays, we all get criticized for anything and everything we do, anyway. Sad, I know. Therefore, just be your own beautiful self and “carry on.” If we constantly worry about how others perceive us and our natural looks, then are we truly living our life or theirs? Are we living up to Their expectations and measures, or ours?

I know, this is a hot topic and each person has their own ideal of what beautiful means to them.

Do what makes you happy. But truly do what makes YOU happy, not what you think will make others chuffed when they look at you.


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