In the wild world of the Internet you know how it goes: click on one link, then another, then again, and find yourself in some strange universe twelve steps removed from the start. On one such journey I ended up on a post titled: 100 stars of the 80s you won’t recognize today.
Okay, I was curious. I clicked on the link. Of course, it’s one of those where you have to click to a new page for each picture (personal pet peeve), so I didn’t stay long. But I did see the following: good looking actor in their 20s or 30s, flash forward to… good looking adult in their 50s or 60s. This article used a similar heading to describe the older actors appearance: looking serious.
Which, let’s face it, was a nice way of saying they looked liked crap. My response? No, they don’t look “serious,” they look like a 50 or 60 year old. Still young, still healthy, still vibrant. I know we have a young epidemic in this country, and I’ve had moments where I see an actor I hadn’t seen in a while and am shocked at how they aged. But why do we see wrinkles and automatically remove “good looking” from the description? Why can’t wrinkles be sexy? Why can’t gray or white hair be attractive?
And why, why, why do we judge so harshly? There is nothing wrong with aging. In fact, it’s as sure as the sun rising in the morning. Should we remain in fear of it, sticking needles in our skin, to ward off nature? Or should we embrace the journey?
Now, I admit, I’m young. Anyone can look at my profile picture and see I’m young. Yet I’m in my 30s, and there are times I feel it. I feel myself aging, see the white hairs popping up (thank you motherhood), see the changes in my body (also thank you motherhood). Aging will be hard. But it’s hard because of society.
I am fortunate to have a slightly different outlook on aging, thanks to working with elders for so long. I saw vibrant elders, in their 60s and beyond. Heck, I once had a conversation with a woman who looked to be in her 70s, and had to check my file when she talked about her hundredth birthday. That’s right, she was 100 years old and still full of life.
I’ve seen that we are aging differently these days. Once upon a time a 60 year-old was often frail. Nowadays the frail 60 year-old comes with previous standing health issues. Even with those health issues they are young and vibrant. So one can assume the 60 year-olds who are not frail are still living their lives to the fullest. Certainly those in their 60s I know are.
As a society I wish we could embrace aging, rather than fear it. Find the beauty in older age, the wisdom, the spunk. Remove the fear. Who’s with me?