It occurred to me at a party I was at the other day that I am looking a lot older than some of the other women my age. I was standing with a group of women who are all into botox and fillers and eye lifts and I looked at least 10 years older if not more. These women looked gorgeous, fresh faced, open eyed and youthful. But. Is it right? Of course I strongly believe in each to their own but it’s putting lots of pressure on all the rest of us to hang on to our youthful looks. I certainly considered rushing down to the nearest clinic to have a quick face lift in order to look as gorgeous as they did. Which way is it going to go I wonder? Are we all going to fight against the inevitable or are we going to somehow find the strength of character to believe that wrinkles and saggy bits are perfectly acceptable. Am I confident enough to find the inner strength required not to care – when I’m in the fitness industry? Hmmm. Not sure. The media don’t help our cause at all, focusing only on the youthful face and body as the one desirable image, but perhaps, with all the bad press about fillers going on at the moment we can attempt to turn it all around.
So whilst we are not yet quite at the being “old” stage, I am reading a book about ageing in the baby boomer generation called “The Warmth of the heart prevents your body from rusting” which is one of the most lovely titles for a book that I have ever come across. It is going to persuade me to reconsider our options. Why are we all so scared of ageing? What is the desire to stay looking young all about? Essentially we are the first generation to undertake this extended ageing process because we are expected to live a lot longer than even our parents. Therefore, we have no points of reference and will need to make it up as we go along. So. What are we going to do? Keep trying to look younger? Keep going under the knife? Keep being obsessed with skin deep beauty? Really?? Why aren’t we embracing our new found freedom to live longer and age gracefully more successfully? How can we accept the decline of our bodies if we do not stop looking at ourselves and instead see the world around us and marvel at it? Do more things that aren’t all about ourselves?
In the book the author notes that finding the right balance is not easy for our society. We have a terrible opinion of old age – “the words ‘decline’, ‘horror’ and ‘affliction’ that spring to our lips speak volumes about the disgust and fear that the sufferings of ageing and death inspire in us”.
She suggests that instead we need to “tackle old age with humour – even deride it”. She says that old age is neither a complete disaster nor a golden age. “It is an age that is just as rich and as worthy of being lived as all the others – an age that is exciting to live, with it’s joys and difficulties” as long as we can find the means to live it well, making it a time or growth rather than a time of decline. Seeing that time as a “unique opportunity to discover aspects of ourselves that we did not know, to see, to feel and to love in a new way. Instead of becoming embittered, unattractive old people, we can hope to surround ourselves with joy and human warmth”.
Come on girls….time to take a stand and begin to start enjoying ageing both naturally and disgracefully.