Will Ageing Become The New Anti Ageing?

8 Apr

Looking in the mirror I see daily that I am not getting any younger. The pores have grown larger, fine lines are becoming a permanent fixture upon my forehead and the odd white (not grey) hair is starting to wink at me when it catches the light.

I am in my 33rd year. Not old by any means but neither am I in the first flush of youth.

I have started to think ahead about how I am planning on ageing. (I even have a pinterest board devoted to it. Odd I know.)

Do I fight it all the way? lie about my age, dye my hair and if I could afford it get regular injections of Botox, my boobs lifted, liposuction and anything else done that I don’t feel is perfect.

Or do I just allow nature to take its course.

I am leaning toward the latter. I couldn’t afford to have work done even if I wanted too and even dyeing my hair will become an expensive business as the greyer I get the more maintenance it will need.

For some people, having work done is less to do with looking younger and more to do with showing wealth or status.

In many cultures past and present those who have a higher status within their community have done extreme things to their bodies. The Mayan’s bound the heads of high-born infants to get a conical shaped skull, the Chinese bound the feet of high-born girls in order for them to marry well. Other cultures Tattoo, pierce, elongate or remove parts of their bodies.

I am no anthropologist but maybe mutilating our bodies has more of an ancient and deeply ingrained resonance that we would care to admit.

The media whip us up into a frenzy of panic at the thought of visibly growing older. Gleefully showing pictures of actresses and pop stars in a less than flattering light, juxtaposing them with the frozen, glassy and weirdly ageless faces of other stars whom we are encouraged to emulate by following their punishing diets, gym training and skin care regimes. This in turn makes us look at ourselves in the mirror with undisclosed loathing. Closely inspecting our wobbly bits, saggy parts and wrinkles.

When we see those who have clearly had work done we immediately try to guess how old they are. often (but not always) they can end up looking older than what they actually are.

I have started to wonder whether, in the future ageing naturally, will paradoxically make us look younger than those who have spent a fortune trying to fight the ravages of time.

I’m not saying that I will never dye my hair again. I may feel differently in 10 years. And I am not about to climb into a twin set and pearls or have a purple rinse (quite fashionable right now). I love clothes, makeup, and big hair. A slick of liquid eyeliner can make all the difference to my day.

As a mother to a daughter I also have to think carefully about how I talk about body image. I am aware that if I am constantly negative she will pick up on this. I don’t want her to grow up feeling that her outward appearance is the be all and end all.

There is no elixir of youth, we will all still grow old and we will still have to face our mortality at some point.

Maybe we should look at our lines, stretch marks and grey hairs and as badges of experience, wisdom and a confidence that can only be gained living life and tackling whatever fate, God or whatever you believe in throws at us.

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