Defying age. When did that even become a thing?
When did it become unacceptable to look your age? When did growing old become something to be ashamed of?
How did we lose that sense of respect for the wisdom of age and the beauty of ageing, the beauty of a life well-lived?
Because now its all about defying ageing, isn’t it? Buying into the myth. Google ‘age defying’ and you’ll find skin cream, moisturiser, foundation, facelift serum, laser treatment, shampoo and conditioner, gel mask, cleanser, beauty bar, facial exfoliator, collagen, diet book, body wash, cleansing tissues, night cream, day cream, eye treatment, hair colour, botox, bras, foods…….the list goes on and on and on.
Trust me, it’s a whole industry. You know it for yourself. Targeting women just like us. Who feel the pressure to look younger. Ever younger. Product after product promising so much. Promising to stem the tide of ageing. To hold back that inevitable tide. And deep down, we all know it’s a myth, don’t we? That there is no new miracle cure. We only have to look at some of the celebrities who have bought into this myth with all the money and time in the world – the results speak for themselves.
I sometimes struggle with the visible signs of ageing. Surely we all do. That’s why the advertising is so effective. I look in the mirror and lift my cheeks to see how much better my face would look without these deep lines that run from my nose to the sides of my mouth. I sometimes wish I hadn’t stop dyeing my hair. I often wish my lips hadn’t lost their plumpness, that the skin on my hands wasn’t so crinkly, that I didn’t have those brown age spots on my legs…
But less because of how I see myself, if I’m honest. I sometimes think I look quite attractive. More because of how other people treat me as older than I am. Definitely older than I feel, anyway. The pressure from the advertising is manageable. The pressure from people around me is harder to take.
If we want people to accept and even embrace how they look, then we have to stop judging them and passing comment. It’s down to us women to change the way we look at each other.
So on principle, I won’t buy or use anything that claims to be age-defying. I’ve always believed that what you put in your body is more important than what you put on it…not to defy age, but to be healthy and happy. So just for your information, these foods are deemed to be age-defying and I would go out of my way to eat some of them – fish rich in Omega-3; peppers; tea; berries; almonds; probiotic yoghurt; water; beans; apples; extra-virgin olive oil (although to be honest, that list does refer to the health benefits rather than changing what you look like on the outside, so if all you’re interested in is looking good, then stick to the botox).
For me, there’s no substitute for proper relaxation, exercise, laughter, fresh air, good food – and water. Always water. An inner health and happiness that causes an outward smile that reaches the eyes can take years off a person, apparently. If that is what is important to you.
Anyway, the only way in which I embrace defying age is in how I think and feel and in what I do. What you can do with your body is far more important than how young it looks. In my humble opinion.
I’m doing far more new and exciting things now that I’ve turned 50 than I have ever done in my life before. That is age defying. My friend Mary, who is 87, has just taken up bell-ringing for the first time and is loving it. That is age defying. And have a look at this piece about the 83 year old yoga instructor Bette Calman if you want to see what age-defying really looks like – the poses she can hold are simply incredible! And her Facebook page is a great inspiration, proving over and over again that age is no excuse.
So by all means, defy age. Act young. Think young. Dress young (appropriately young – that’s a whole blog post in itself!). But maybe let go of the pressure to keep looking young (unreasonably young). Just a thought.
You’re never too old to be young.