We have completely lost our grasp on reality. We no longer have any real idea of what "age" looks like. I was looking at a photo of an older female performer that a work mate posted and realized that I had absolutely NO idea how old she was by looking at the photograph. She could be 55. She could be 75.
Then I think about my new acquisition - and wonder if I'm just part of the problem? And another thing - What's really behind the fact that I only list my age as 40-something when I am closer to 50 than I am to 40? (and why did I just shriek a little when I typed that?)
Why is aging so vilified? Wasn't there a time when we respected our elders?
When I was younger, I used to offhandedly say things like: "when I get old, I'm going to cherish my wrinkles". (So why do I moisturize twice a day - not content with cheap-o lotions and potions, but reaching for the slightly pricier items on the shelf?). When I was younger, I used to announce to the world that "I'm working hard for my grey hairs!" (So why do I shell out money to have that grey turned into a much more palatable shade of brown?) When I was younger and made these naive pronouncements, The Mums would heartily roll her eyes. Now, I think I understand why....
So. Have I become part of the problem?
How about this 49 year old woman? According to England's Daily Mail, she's had multiple surgical procedures and has botox injected into her forehead on a regular basis. Then, she gave her 18 year old daughter Botox treatments. But here's the paradox: when I say things like "holy crow - she looks a lot older than 49", I am inserting myself smack dab into the middle of the vicious circle. What does that even mean?
So if I say that I think this 49 year old woman looks awful, I'm really just feeding into the myth of beauty. The Mums and I have been known to ask each other how we're aging.... (and Mums, if you're reading this, please don't think I'm hinting at Botox injections for Christmas). Again, why are we wasting our time?
Furthermore, would any of us deliberately do something that we thought made us look ridiculous in the eyes of others? Generally, no. (Okay, I did have that brief fling with purple harem pants, and pink suede cowboy boots in the late 80's. But they weren't entirely my fault!)
I went to see a documentary last week called "Ferron: Girl on a Road" about singer-songwriter Ferron. And at one point in the film, she talks about aging (though I'm paraphrasing). She said that one day you look into the mirror and say "well..... I guess this is it".
On the other hand, is it wrong for someone to do everything they can to feel their best? And then, on the other-OTHER hand How did we end up in a world where people feel that desperately clinging onto their youth was even necessary.
I find it kind of heartbreaking.
I guess the real question becomes - how do we stop it?
I'll leave you with this: two photos of me and The Mums. I think she's beautiful. And botox free....
So Mums, maybe the best gift we could ever give each other is the permission to look in the mirror and say "well... I guess this is it". And actually be okay with that....