I had said that I would write a blog about being old. This is it. I wondered about how to write this. I could either talk about the ideals of youth and beauty (as it related to age and aging) or I could talk about the process of getting older. I chose both. Why not?
In most western culture, unfortunately, youth and beauty is highly prized and sought after. I am sure it’s also prized in other cultures as well but I am going to talk about that. I want to talk about those ideals as they operate here in this country. They play in important role in how we perceive others. I think perhaps the media is blame for this. Everywhere one looks, magazines glamourize those who are thin, very attractive, and young. When is the last time you saw a cover with an “ordinary” person? You know, one who works with you, goes to school with you, rides on the same train as you. You more than likely have not. This puts a lot of pressure on people, especially young women. They see these images of models and think that is how they are supposed to be. It causes eating disorders and plays havoc on self image. Major magazines, TV shows. musicians, and movies hardly ever put out positive messages of being proud of who you are (I know, Lady Gaga is an exception). I think most of them perpetuate the image of the “Desirable” to be one who is the epitome of striking beauty and everlasting youth. I am quite self conscious about getting older. I am not any of those things and that is fine with me. However it does cause a bit insecurity when I see articles in newspapers an such that talk only about someone being a “hottie, “cutie”, or whatever. The inner person is never dicussed. It’s as if all they are idols to be worshipped by the lesser. Aging happens. It’s a fact of living. In this culture, I see that it is something to be feared and avoided. Stay as young as you can for as long as you can. Getting older resigns you to the grave. When did this happen? Have we grown so dependent on the media to tell us how we should be and not paid attention to how we are? Until we as a culture learn to embrace ourselves for who and what we are (and not worry about the images that tell us different), we will overlook the goodness and beauty that lies within us all.
On getting older. As I said above, I am a bit self conscious about my age. While I am not ancient, I am not a spring chicken, either. Going along with what I said above, I know that people get old. So, I should be OK, right? I am mostly. However, there’s that little bit of me that avoids looking in a mirror because I may be horrified at what I see. Then again, there is a part of me that thinks that age is relative. It’s about how we deal with getting older. I try to keep a “youthful” mind (open thinking, not being afraid of change) as well as a fit physical form (healthy!). In that case, the “mostly” part of me sees me as a young person, I just have a number assigned to me. It’s merely a number and that is all. It doesn’t make me. What I am is what I am on the inside. Of course, there’s no fighting nature in some aspects but I do try to keep myself active. I believe it’s when we resign ourselves to certain categories (an old guy) that we fail to live up to potential that we have. It’s about rising above the inner “drill sargent”, the images in the media, and the fear of change. Only then can we be more than what we think we are.