I often wonder what it is about getting old that is so scary? Is it the fear of not being able to still do the things that you once could or the fear of running out of time to do the things you haven’t? Is it feeling sad that your memories are now just only that, or remorse that you didn’t create more when you had a chance?
Or is the fear of aging simply down to having to accept that you no longer look as young as you feel inside? Of course we all choose to remember ourselves at our best, when we were flexible enough to reach our toes, when we were taut, toned and wobble free and our arms didn’t have wings to rival a 747. So we look in the mirror, scrutinising and criticising, pulling ourselves apart and becoming pre-occupied with those bits of us that have grown, stretched, bagged and sagged.
Determined not to let our bodies reflect where we really are in our life, we strap ourselves onto treadmills and wrap ourselves in seaweed. We nip and tuck, implant curves and suck out fat, inject paralysing toxins and religiously apply a cream to cover every inch and pore of our skin. Creams for the day and for the night, for the stretch marks and the cellulite, for the eye bags, crows feet and the laughter lines.
As the years progress we choose to become drawn in by the advertising hype, promising us the small pot and shiny box really does equate to the holy grail of eternal good looks. Of course we’re not stupid, we know that the actress whose forehead hasn’t moved since snagging Hugh Grant in ’94 looks that way because of some clever digital enhancing, and not the expensive Dermo-Peptides she promotes. But hey, if she’s worth it, then surely so are we.
For those whose looks are reflected in their pay cheque the pressure must be even worse. Take Madonna, a perfect example of someone fighting the inevitable. ‘Time is waiting…Tick tock tick tock tick tock’ are the words of her latest song, and how true they are. About to turn 50, she’s undoubtedly still fabulous, fit and flexible, and wears a leotard to prove it. Botox-ed, lifted and tightened to a T, she looks better than she did 20 years ago. But at the end of the day, when the stylist has gone home and red carpet is rolled up, she can’t get away from the fact that she’s still nearly 50.
Of course time can’t stand still, but who would want it to. At least with the benefit of age (in theory), we have the chance to learn from and redeem ourselves from those horrendous mistakes made back in a time when we thought we had a clue. That Mickey Mouse fleece, tent sized denim jacket and the clod hopping Doc Martins, the appalling poodle perm and the pearly pink lipstick from the bargain bin at the local chemist. The memory alone is enough to make you want to rewrite your youth and shred your entire photographic history.
So how can you stay ahead in this complicated aging game? One way is to make sure the contents of your wardrobe stay in line with the numbers on your birth certificate. So if you can stop yourself trawling through the back of your closet and digging out clothing that haven’t seen the light of day in a decade, or resist the urge to buy new clothes in a shop that plays music by artists you have never heard of, then there is far less chance you will be hunted down for crimes against fashion, sheared and served up with a helping of mint sauce.
Rule of thumb – if you can remember a fashion from the first time it hit the shops, be it the mini of the 60’s, flares of the 70’s or that hideous puff ball of the 80’s, then quite possibly by the time it makes its revival and appears back on the catwalk, it’s probably not something you should be wearing again.
There’s no point beating ourselves up for looking the very age that we actually are, and wasting valuable time and money trying to look how we once did. That time could be put to much better use, and the money saved could be used to make even more memories..
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