Jul 23, 2014

Aging: Are They Afraid They Will Look Like You?

I read a blog called Pearl, Why You Little... The author makes me laugh and I am all about a good laugh. In an article she posted today called Well I Can See I'm Going to Take Back a Lot of What I've Said she talked about making fun of people when she was young. As a young girl she and her friends would lay on a beach towel and whisper about people that were old or fat or suffering from extreme cellulite of the bottom. Now as she is getting older she said this about her body as she tried to remain positive:
Me, I am pleased to report that my ankles continue to be identifiable as separate from my calves and that I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.
No swimming suit here!
She was writing tongue-in-cheek and I liked the article a lot. But I couldn't help thinking that there was dark side to that story. More of us were guilty of being smug when we were young than we would ever care to admit. I have been guilty of being derisive of the outward appearance of aging. Why would I do that? Now that the day has come that I am the older person laying on the beach towel I am aware that a younger person might not be thrilled to think that my body is the one they will have someday.

Then it occurred to me that Pearl had hit on a primal emotion....fear! See, while we don't want to be unattractive we all know that there are things that we just cannot control. We are afraid of what we ridicule. It is as simple as that.

I belonged to a website called Fab Over Fifty for a period of time a couple of years ago. It was all about fashion and makeup and how not to look ones age. The editor would post a picture of some hapless person with their face blocked out and ask subscribers to say what they thought about the style or body shape or whatever of the person. 

The owner of the blog even wrote an article telling how she planned on never getting old because she went to pilates and stayed out of the sun. The article included pictures of ugly (?) old people with warts and wrinkles. I was not only appalled...I was in fact a little offended. I could only wonder if people that were middle aged would be afraid for their future when they ran into me in the mall. I don't participate that website anymore.

There is a lesson to be learned here but I am not sure what it is. Fear is a hard thing to overcome. Of course we don't want to be ugly or scarred...why would we? On the other hand, a little fear and stress are motivators to make us more aware of what we might avoid thinking about. 

Maybe the lesson is that we should be grateful for what we do possess and nonjudgmental of what we see in others. After all, the old saying goes "Judge not. There, but for the grace of God, go I". It does take a great depth of character to see the beauty inside other people and I for one would like to arrive at that place one day soon. 

It is just a thought!



Book by Pearl Vork-Zambory 
owner of blog Pearl, Why You Little....

15 comments:

  1. You're beautiful. Thanks for posting.

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    1. Thank you so much. I can recognize a strong woman when I see her...no fear in your life at all. That is good.

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  2. I wasn't judgmental of people aging because my Sicilian nonna just looked like she should've. It never occurred to me that I might age like that. And I haven't--I don't roll my hose down to my knees! MIss her. xoo

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    1. I know you must miss your wonderful nonna...I miss mine too. Those women in my life were beautiful and unreplaceable. Thank you for your comment.

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  3. Very thought provoking and touching post.

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    1. I appreciate your interest. Thank you.

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  4. I go through the same ups and downs about aging and whether I "look my age." It is such a shock when I'm offered a seat on the Metro! When I mentioned to my daughter that the lines on my face were distressing, she was shocked. She called them wisdom lines. I now content myself with that thought--even as I grow a little too wise.

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    1. I have lots of those wisdom lines and I do value my wisdom. Your daughter must be a treasure worth keeping.

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  5. I must confess here that I never did make fun of those that were older or even heavier...but I did have experience with women and girls that did. Perhaps it was a flaw in their character or maybe it is a poor self image. I always found it unkind and not attractive. I wanted to perfectly clear about that.

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  6. I try to take care of myself, but a chronic illness forces me to use a cane, so people probably assume I'm older than I am. Whenever I hear a song that reminds me of my youth and I am tempted to fall into sadness, I remember my oldest granddaughter belting out Fun's "We Are Young" a year or so ago. If I were forever young, where would be her chance to exult in just that way? Whenever I mourn the way my arms look despite lifting weights and taking care of my skin, I laugh and remember another granddaughter stroking my elbow and then looking up at me with sudden, sincere concern and saying, "Grammie, I'm sorry you're so old." She's deaf and it was always a glory in those days when she said anything at all as she learned language, so I treasured both her concern and her words. Makes me laugh with delight every time, remembering that. I remember my youngest granddaughter, now four, sitting in my lap, stroking my forearm over and over, and how in that instant I was transported back to sitting in my own grandmother's lap, feeling her softening and thinning skin on her arms. My mother died on her 45th birthday, a month before the arrival of her first grandchild. I'm lucky, thinning skin on my forearms, genetically induced sagging triceps and all.

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    1. You are a very lucky woman in so many ways. Your writing is beautiful. Grandchildren are a gift and, if we didn't grow older, we would never get to see or love them. I think we should are be very grateful for that opportunity. Thank you for stopping by Linda.

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  7. Yes Barbara, I am reminded of one of my favorite articles over at Huff Post: "As your body changes and the wrinkles appear, you can choose to accept what is happening or fight it. Either way, you will lose this battle. At present, I hate seeing how much everyone I used to know has changed, perhaps because it is too good of a reminder of how much I have changed." From my Invincible No More essay: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/laura-lee-carter/invincible-no-more_b_3691241.html

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    1. Oh my gosh, I had not thought about my attitude towards people my own are now! This is so true...when we hang out with our peers we are reminded how we really look to others. But on the other hand, I think it is reassuring in a lot of ways. I always feel more comfortable in my skin after I have spent a day with friends.

      Thank you for the comment.

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  8. I am so glad I did not ridicule people when I was younger. Not sure if that means I banked ridicule points now that I am a midlifer!

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    1. I am sure there must be an "I didn't ridicule people" bank! Loved that idea.

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