Friday, 6 March 2009

Ageing Wisdom

If I am to believe the images I see in magazines and on TV and the various advertising campaigns for cosmetics, then my aim as I grow older is to look as young as I possibly can. Apparently it’s not good to be 40 or 50 and look like you’re actually 40 or 50. It’s not good for people to see that you have aged.

I find it sad that the world does not value age or the benefits that come with age. Instead it is viewed as a weakness, as a limitation or disadvantage. We are led to believe that as our bodies age we become less attractive, less valuable, less important.

But what about the wisdom and experience that comes with life, with age? The memories and moments shared that are far more precious than our outward appearance.

As a young woman surrounded by all the images the world throws my way, I have to distinguish and filter out those things which are false, unhealthy and unwholesome. I have to decide everyday what priorities rule over my life. What messages shape my thoughts and decisions.

If I spend my time constantly trying to maintain my youth, I miss the opportunities to enjoy life to its fullness. I waste my time looking back to the past, thinking about the way things were, the way I was.

But I am not the person I was.

Why is greater value placed on youthful looks over wisdom, on outward appearance over inward experience? Surely the marks and wrinkles that grow and develop over time are visible signs of the life we have lived. Our wrinkles come through laughter and expression, and enjoying moments with friends. Our lumps and bumps come through our life experiences and each one of these helps us to grow, to change, to mature.

So what if my figure is not ‘perfect’…I know at least two people who think it’s pretty amazing! And surely having a healthy body should be more of a priority. I would rather be 40 and look 40 and have a life that I can share and bless others with, than be 40 wishing I looked 20. I would rather put my time, energy and resources into things that will be here long after I’m gone. I’d rather value the things that are worth valuing than seek to be something false, unhealthy and unwholesome.

And I hope that a small part of the way I age, grow and mature will make a difference to those around me. That it won't be the norm to want to turn back time. But that we will each grasp hold of each day, enjoying life and gaining wisdom, whatever wrinkles may come because of it. 

No comments: