When did AGE become a three-letter curse word? There are all sorts of expressions that cast a bit of a negative light on a rather…well, expected time in everyone’s normal life. Many of these expressions are used as adjectives for some miracle invention, insurance product, or social service. We have age-adjusted, age-appropriate, age-fighting, age-less, age-limit, age-long, age management, age-proof, age-progression, age-related, age-specific, age-weighted, and age worn! There is age before beauty – are you kidding me? And anti-ageing – like there is some dissident movement to overthrow an evil regime! Think of the potential slogans for all of those placards:
- Ageing is a lack of imagination!
- Ageing is a failure of government!
- When you fight ageing with ageing, age wins!
- If they are selling ageing, we are not buying!
- Ageing is terrorism with a bigger budget!
Throw in age spots and it is no wonder bouts of depression can occur as we get older.
Other countries and cultures venerate their elders. The Huffington Post describe Seven Cultures that Celebrate Aging and Respect Their Elders. But here, we look at ageing through scratched and dirty reading lenses; refusing to see the beauty in it.
So let’s examine a few of these dumba#% idioms.
We are inundated with advertisements for age-defying products targeted primarily to women, but increasingly, to that other, rougher gender. There are creams, lotions, serums, makeup, laser resurfacing, Botox, fillers and chemical peels. There are hormones, vitamins (folic acid, B6, B12) and anti-ageing supplements (green tea extract, fish oil, coenzyme Q10, whey protein).
There are age-defying foods! Step right up folks, we’ve got your antioxidants, your omega-3s, your fibre, your detoxifiers, your gluten-free, your complex carbohydrates, your minerals, your vitamins, your beta-carotene, your polyphenols! Lo and behold, there are even age defying exercises of cardio and weight-bearing routines!
Please do not misunderstand. I don’t want skin that sags and is dry and flakey. I have been known to partake in nutritional supplements. I enjoy my kale, sweet potatoes, wild salmon, and almonds. And I understand the benefits of cardiovascular exercise and weight training.
What I do not understand is this quixotism that is DEFYING age. Why not embrace age – embrace healthy ageing? While I may not care for the furrows between my eyebrows (“glabellar lines”) and may consider botox to treat them; I will keep the “marionette lines” (lines that form on either side of the mouth) and the “crow’s feet”. I do not want to look 20 years younger, or even 10 years younger. I want to look my best for my age.
All the rest is just healthy living! Eat right, exercise. Eat right, exercise. Eat right, exercise. (Maybe if I say it enough, I will do it!)
My father is definitely one of the “Age-Fighters”. Dad has long cursed ageing, followed by attempts to jinx any of his children who happened to be in the vicinity. When early signs of joint aches and pains occurred, he would decry “Oh, it is hell getting older!”, followed by “just you wait, Mimi, you will see!” When he would suffer an occasional lapse in memory, we would hear him railing “It is hell to grow old!” then “wait until YOUR mind begins to go!”
He dresses in his battle fatigues of comfortable slacks, polo shirt, windbreaker, and a dapper hat. He arms himself with his walking stick. Then he is off fulfilling his battle plan of a predetermined, perfectly timed walk around his neighborhood. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, he goes clockwise around the path. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, he goes counterclockwise. Or maybe the other way around, I can’t remember – must be my age. I am not quite sure what happens on Sunday, but even God rested.
During our most recent visit with Dad, he invited my husband and me on his walking routine. As he was merrily pointing out the sights, my husband and I were barely making it, struggling to complete the walk. You see, we had both been experiencing some issues with sciatica – that pesky leg and back pain that often occurs with, well, ageing. Sigh!
As we grow older, age appropriateness seems less and less…well…appropriate! Who is to say what is suitable or proper at 50? 61? 74? 106? At age 52, my husband got his first tattoo – a Chinese symbol for joy about the size of a quarter on the inner aspect of his upper arm. When he asked me the next day to remind him (could be the “age” thing, probably more of a sake thing) of why he got that particular symbol, I told him that I always wanted him to have joy in his life. He followed this up with two more Chinese symbols, one meaning family, and the last meaning health. Was this out-of-the-norm activity appropriate? Yes…very.
Business Insider offered beautiful pictures of “20 Incredible Seniors Who Prove that Age is Just a Number”. These people of age don’t appear to be too concerned about what others might see as age-appropriate.I currently am sporting streaks of bright magenta in my hair. Why? Because I can! I like it. I am not trying to make a point; or try to pretend I am younger. I like that at age 61 I can rock streaks of bright red hair. Is it appropriate? For me, yes. This is my version of the tattoos.
I don’t mind this one. While it often relates to adjusting results of research to ensure populations can be compared, I like to think of it as adapting, settling-in, enjoying the ride of ageing. She’s not just well adjusted, she is AGE-adjusted!
Dumb A#%…Half A#%…Hard A#%. While AGE may be a three letter curse word, I prefer the four-letter one – AGED. Like in aged alcohol, aged balsamic vinegar, aged cheese, aged jeans, aged wood, and finally aged wine. Yummmm…
So in the vernacular of Internet chat, I hope you join me in LMAO (Laughing my AGE Off!). I invite you to share some of your age-adjusted stories and thoughts.
Originally published here.
Do you have other A#% stories to share with us? What do you think of Mimi’s thoughts? Tell us below.