Friday, February 19, 2010

Ageing in the Land of Eternal Youth

I live in Los Angeles, the land of eternal youth and beauty. Women here (and some men) don't age, they just become cartoon-ish caricatures of themselves, who manage to look perpetually surprised and completely blank, simultaneously. It's seriously creepy. The more I see, the less I want to participate. Plus, once you start you can't stop, and I've got enough "Goddess maintenance" appointments every month as it is!

I guess this obsession with looks and ageing makes sense in a way. This is Hollywood after all, "movie capital of the world", and movies are a visual medium. But I think maybe we've gone way too crazy over this, focusing too much on the packaging instead of the product. I think we worry far too much about age, weight and size. These things are just numbers after all, not the true measurements of value. I just want to be healthy. In other cultures age is revered, the older a person is, the more they are valued for their wisdom and life experience. Maybe wrinkles should be thought of as medals of valor, earned through years of courageously surviving this crazy thing called life? Something to be respected, not dreaded. Maybe lines should be seen as signs of someones ability to empathize, to find joy, to offer a smile, to laugh and live life to it's fullest? Maybe lines and wrinkles should be admired, not erased! My analogy is this: If one wears a beautiful linen dress to a party, and you are enjoying yourself, by the end of the night it will be a bit wrinkled and creased, but it's still intrinsically the same beautiful dress!

What exactly are we hoping to find out when we ask someones age? The idea that age is an indicator of one's maturity is laughable. I've met people in their 30's far more wise and mature than many in their 50's (especially in this town!). When someone asks me how old I am, I want to say "Well, that depends...." How old is this body? 52. How old do I feel? 35 most of the time, 12 on a good day. How old is my soul? Both ageless and ancient. I honestly don't FEEL any different than I did in my 30's. My father says the same thing and he's in his 70's! Maybe emotionally people are like cake, you're either done or you're not. You're either a grown up or you're not, and your age isn't necessarily an indication of this fact.

Actually I think that Mother Nature, in her wisdom has provided her own way of dealing with this issue. I discovered in my 40's that just as I began to crease and wrinkle, my close-range vision began to go too. Without the technology interfering and the invention of magnifying mirrors and reading glasses, I would never know I am ageing! As most things in nature, it's a perfect system, as my face continues to age, my eyesight continues to degenerate. To my poor eyes, I still look the same as I did at 25, and that is a beautiful thing. Trust me, I am VERY careful NEVER to look in the mirror with my glasses on. I like the state of denial I'm living in, thanks!

I suppose it's human nature to judge a book by it's cover, but maybe we should learn to "see" with our hearts more, and our eyes less. Stop worrying about how we look and think more about how we feel, and act. Be more gentle with ourselves and each other.

Sending you light and love.

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