Friday, November 06, 2015

On aging well

I occasionally succumb to these terrible posts that draw you in to see a slide show of plastic surgery gone bad or 25 celebrities who haven't aged well. It's a terrible thing, but the siren song of such web ploys to get you to look at such scab picking sites and expose you to as many ads as possible is hard to resist.

Don't judge me.

It is sad to me that many of the stars they show are ones who have tried in vain to stave off time with plastic surgery. And they have become tragically unrecognizable. Others show the ravages of drug or alcohol addictions presumably brought on by the pressures of being famous. And still others have gained massive amounts of weight. But realistically, these are pretty common things that happen when anyone ages or has uncontrolled addictions.

I have to say that it is an unfortunate price people pay for celebrity. And I wonder if it is worth it.  A celebrity just has the misfortune to have their before and after photos viewed by millions of people. For the most part, nobody really cares about how the rest of us age.

But, after all, who really ages well? And what does that really mean?

Do we hold the same unrealistic idealistic standard we've placed on young women and men for years on the middle aged? If being thin, flawless and vice less didn't work when you were young, how can they when you are old?

Granted, we have control of some aspects of aging. We can exercise and try and maintain a healthy diet. But genetics dictates much of what happens to our bodies. And there is only so much we can do to control our health. Since everything seems to cause cancer and it randomly attacks people, how can we avoid the ravages of it and other diseases?

We are a youth obsessed culture. And we are a fickle one. When our beautiful celebrities let us down by aging or gaining weight, we ridicule them. It doesn't matter what they have accomplished or what their spiritual state is, we hold them accountable for their facade.

You could say I'm whining because of sour grapes. I'm aging. My hair is gray. My hands are developing spots. I don't move as quickly as I used to. And my body isn't toned or chiseled. I struggled with my weight after I hit 40 and have gained and lost weight in see-saw fashion since.

I do work out regularly. I run the occasional 5K race (something I didn't start doing until after I hit 50). I have an OK diet. I don't smoke. I go to the doctor when I have to.

Am I aging well? I look in the freaking mirror and startle myself every time. But, well, I'm aging. It happens. At least in my mind, I am young.  I just try and avoid mirrors.

But, to the outside world that cannot view my mind, I am marginalized as an aging baby boomer. My gray hair and aging skin brands me as someone who doesn't matter as much as a millennial or generation Z. As I've ranted about countless times, I am invisible. The only thing that would make me more visible, especially to the young, is if I was able to wrap myself in wealth.

That's not happening.

It's not even that I would want to be young again unless I was able to hold onto my experiences (I didn't say hold onto my wisdom because age doesn't guarantee wisdom). Because I definitely like where my old head is at better than my young head was at.

But it would sure be nice not to be invisible.

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