what is it about ageing…..

What is it about ageing that scares us?…. and I confine this thread only to the superficial.

I chanced upon this snippet from “Britain’s Got Talent” judge Amanda Holden on using Botox, in “Go ahead and quote me” in the Straits Times Life! section today: “It’s like cleaning teeth – maintenance… I don’t see the point of growing old gracefully.”  I think that pretty much sums up this generation’s preoccupation with looking young in perpetuity.

If you are one of the few with good genes and don’t look your age, then good on ya!  But I think it’s scary trying to unnaturally preserve the look of a 20-something as you climb in years and move further and further away from it.  It’s like desperately clinging to a relationship where one has turned his/her back on the other. 

I back tracked as I channel surfed one day, for a programme with a Priscilla Presley and Lisa Marie Presley interview.  Not for the contents for sure but the freakishness of a 30-something daughter who looks her age sitting next to her 50-something mother who had botoxed her way to 20-something.  Or other actresses desperately clinging to their youth – I don’t know their names – but they all look like zombies.  It’s really scary.  Nothing else moves except the lower lip.  Nary a twitch of any other facial muscle.  Then move your eyes down to the neck, cleavage, wrinkly-veined hands and any other thing they deem to display and the ageing skin belies the die-hard face of “young adult”.  The wattles kill you too.

Having said that, I looked into the mirror this morning and got shocked by my own reflection!  😮 Let’s just say I am closer to Priscilla Presly in age than her daughter and have not done any botox nor do I intend to; but the rashes around the eyes from allergies, sunburnt and dry skin and tacky, hay-coloured peroxide-laden, not sun-kissed hair (another recent mistake) and short fringe (the other mistake) were not helping much today.  I so totally understand the effects of ageing. 

Superficially, it’s no fun.  But that’s not what ageing is about.  Youth is to bright, good looks just as age is to wisdom and hopefully discernment, borne of experience.  I do believe there is a time and place for everything.  Don’t compete for something we are not equipped for.  The beauty industry and media touting be damned.  They are only about enriching somebody’s coffers.  So don’t buy into that.  Feel good in your own skin, at any given time.  Whether it’s tightly wrapped around you or hanging loose. 😀

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not saying abandon yourselves and let loose.  We still need to take care of ourselves to ensure we are presentable and not sloppy and indulgent.  But it is also to ensure that the beauty from within, the beauty of age that comes with quiet wisdom is not abandoned for the lack of good judgement.  It doesn’t look good on Priscilla Presley and the likes of her and it sure won’t look good on any of us.

I dunno… I beg to differ with Amanda Holden.  I think there is everything to be said about “growing old gracefully”.  Just look at Katherine Hepburn, Paul Newman, Mother Theresa………


5 thoughts on “what is it about ageing…..”

  1. Good point about “maintenance” and “letting go”. What is the difference between “maintenance” and “minor renovation”. Maybe it is akin to tatooing…..I am told that the reason some people tatoo their bodies is because it is addictive. I guess the problem is for the obsessive or compulsive, they have a certain view of image of themselves that they are unable to let go. The reality is that life is about coming to terms with ourselves and being able to let go at some point. I am curious to find out what goes on in the head of a 50 year old who botoxes or facelifts his/her way to 20. My gut feel tells me that such people are running away from something….age….and probably death. Or maybe they just want to look good till they are placed in the “box”. A friend of mine had a beautiful tatoo of a dolphin done on the back of her shoulder. She was so pleased with it that she took every appropriate opportunity to wear outfits that showed the dolphin. She once told me that if she dies, she requested to be placed face down in the “box” so that everyone could see the dolphin. I have not seen that dolphin for some time…I wonder if it has been botoxed. Otherwise, the collagen-challenged dolphin could look like an ikan belis !

  2. I have nothing clever to add lah. I just wanted to say that last week, someone from sph was asking me how old I was. I hesitated for a moment but said..46. For sure because then I had counted the ages on my calculator as my dendrites and synapses are not what they were (another minus in age-ing). Then I thought about it and wanted to ask her to do the usual 40- something route. But when I saw her , I thought I am 46 and what of that? Nothing. So I left iy alone and I am glad I did.

    1. wah… dendrites and synapses… clever what!

      ok i’m going way off base now…what the heck were you doing at sph? interview ah? :p no, no not sph…the journalists make grammatical errors! horrors! oh!… are they asking you to teach grammar to the journalists? ;p

      and btw, i’m glad you left it at 46 too. 🙂

  3. The strange thing about ageing is that when you are young (as a child), you want to appear older and when you get older, you want to look younger. Such is the irony of life. Those who don’t have it want it, while those who have it say it is no big deal. I think ageing forces us to deal with a harsh reality of what life dishes to you. I know 2 friends who “do not have much up there” . One seeks endless treatment to encourage hair growth ( I have no heart to tell him each time I see him that it does not appear to be working) while the other decided that since there is not much up there, he decided to shave it all off. Thankfully he is blessed with a nicely shaped head with all the right curves and bumps in the right places…hahaha. He even “polishes” it so that it is nice and shiny.
    I have a relative who is approaching 60 years of age. He recently changed his entire wardrobe and bought brighter coloured shirts and ties. He told his wife that he needed to reinvent his image and outlook. Thankfully his wife did not suspect that he was having an affair…hahaha. When I asked him about this, he told me this was an important symbolic gesture so that he could stay vibrant and energetic. Our self image is an important aspect to how we react and deal with the world around us. If this is what it takes to make us feel good, I think there is nothing wrong with it.

    1. good point. understand the irony of wanting to appear older when younger and vice versa. i guess it’s to what extent. it’s ok to take care of your looks and appearance. but how far do we go.

      i think the male pattern baldness is a thorny issue with men. but i prefer the second route of shaving bald than wearing a toupee or doing the comb over. :p although now there is a surgical method of hair transplant that doctors perform. that somehow seems ok. even if women were to do it.

      applying anti-wrinkle creams and moisturing the hands, body and legs keeping the hair styled, etc… are also non issues, it’s about not letting go.

      just not too sure about botoxing or facelifting your way from 50 to 20. it seems unnatural to have wrinkled-veined hands and creased cleavage and “wattly” elbows and knees and a tight, expressionless face. or behaving like a teenager…. i dunno….

      i agree that how we feel about ourselves will affect how we interact with the world, so we keep ourselves looking smart and presentable. but where keeping up appearances becomes an obssession with youth, that’s scary. it belies an insecurity of who we really are. so they keep doctoring appearances instead and keep taking care of the superficial, further shrivelling the person inside due to neglect.

      i dunno…i think the confidence that comes with wisdom and experience is something money cannot buy….

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