Not all aging is bad. Not in the slightest.
Check this out: It’s called 11 Yearbook Photos that Musicians Wish We’d Never Seen. It’ll take a few minutes. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Wasn’t that something? Of course, it’s perfectly acceptable—funny, but in a alls-well-that-ends-well kind of way—to have been a major dorkasaurous in high school, as long as you put that phase squarely behind you and emerged, if not Prince or Tina Turner, at least a semi-presentable person who can walk from her car to the Dunkin’ Donuts without getting teased by a pack of snarky middle school kids. These celebrities only got better with age, puberty, money, fame and personal stylists.
So why is it assumed that from the Formerly years that it’s all downhill? Isn’t it possible that like the celebrities in these school pictures, the Formerly years are merely an awkward phase that we will grow out of, and come out of even more content and appealing than before? The idea that what’s on the other side of phase of life is to be feared, dreaded or “defied,” if you use Olay, really sticks in my craw, not that I’m sure what a craw is.
[Meanwhile, I do use all kinds of lotions and potions to defy at least the appearance of aging, even as it pisses me off that I feel I have to do this. Olay makes some good stuff, as do a few others. I’m both irked and grateful, and I hate feeling both of those things at the same time.]
Thinking that way, that what comes next is none too fun, puts at least half the population of the planet in a truly untenable position. Since getting older is inevitable (unless you’re on the die young, stay pretty plan, which always seemed like a raw deal to me), and there’s no compellingly pleasant way to think about the prospect of getting older, or at least not one that is convincingly presenting itself to a wide audience of Formerlies, it’s no wonder some (especially female) Formerlies get a little panicky about what comes next.
Of course, there are plenty of happy older folks out there who have found their balance, so rationally Formerlies know that we’re not just taking a step of a precipice into nothingness. Still, it would just be really nice, if a photo taken today were the “before” picture, we knew that we’d be smiling in the “after” shot.
Photo by: Randy Stewart CC
July 6, 2009 at 10:26 am
Chaim Weitz. LOL. Well, of course, the question is begged: was/is Gene Simmons really more “presentable” than his nebbishy alter-ego? (And wasn’t Clark Kent the real hero, and Superman just an overwrought expression of sublimated libido in tights and a cape?) The point is taken, though. To be happy, we must learn to find that balance at every stage of life — so that, in a perfect world, we’d no longer even be able to think in terms of “formerly” at all. We’d always be just perfectly accepting of ourselves and every moment in front of the mirror would be concluded with a nod of approbation. Wouldn’t that be idyllic? But at the same time, we’re forced to ask over and over again, why does this paradox exist? On the one hand, appealing to our better angels, we preach to ourselves and our friends and our communities that surface beauty is transient and that it is inner beauty that matters. We insist that we must look past the flesh and into the character to appreciate the true value of ourselves and our fellows. BUT, what then is the deal with this society that so fetishizes taut skin and long lashes and lustrous hair, and blasts our brains with images of it 24 hours a day, until the litany of “looks don’t matter” inevitably becomes an incoherent murmur emerging from beneath a manhole cover somewhere on Madison Avenue?
July 8, 2009 at 7:34 am
I agree with the above comments. Inner beauty should be the most valuable commodity one has, and cherished among all other traits, including the face, hair and body that the marketing gurus have told us is what we need to succeed in our relationships, worklife as well as mopping the floors. I just love the commercials where the gorgeous houswife is cleaning up spills from a burst soda bottle in her best clothes, with a smile and perfect makeup. I don’t know about you, but I rarely dress to impress while cleaning the toilet. However, the companies that sell us beauty in a bottle would all like us to think that is the way it is done. Now, I will admit to being a sucker for beauty products since I think caring for your skin at a young age makes a real difference later on, as well as limited sun exposure. But, keeping up with the mainstream airbrushed and photoshopped vixens on tv is just too high maintenance for me.